Elon Musk continues to reinforce his political leanings, with the Twitter chief set to host a Twitter Spaces chat with Republican Governor Ron DeSantis this week, in which DeSantis will officially launch his 2024 US Presidential Campaign.
Musk has already pledged his support for DeSantis, saying back in November that he views DeSantis as a ‘sensible and centrist’ candidate. Musk has also increasingly leaned towards Republican viewpoints in his own tweets, and his actions in managing Twitter, sharing various news reports and perspectives with his 140+ million followers.
Musk’s endorsement will be a key launch pad for DeSantis, with the influential billionaire holding major sway with many voters. Musk also now controls one of the key platforms for news dissemination, and it’s likely that DeSantis will make Twitter a central focus of his campaign as a result, similar to how former President Donald Trump leaned on Twitter for his announcements and updates.
Despite having significantly fewer users than other platforms (Twitter currently has 253 million daily users, versus 2 billion on Facebook), the real-time focus of the app means that it’s still a key source for news dissemination, with many journalists and other influential voices staying up to speed on Twitter, then re-sharing that content out to other platforms and publications. In this sense, Twitter’s influence is often underrated. But more recent changes to the app may also have reduced this, as more users look to other options, and user feeds get clogged with blue tick comments.
The majority of the 660,000 Twitter Blue subscribers in the app are more ideologically aligned with Elon Musk’s viewpoint, and with Twitter re-jigging its algorithm to prioritize replies from paying users, Twitter is slowly becoming more dominated by voices from one side of the political aisle. And while Musk himself claims to be a centrist voter, his stances too have increasingly leaned right, which has also guided the platform further in this direction.
Though Republican voters would say that this was a necessary correction, as Twitter, under its previous management, had leaned too far to the left, and had angled its rules around left-leaning stances. Now, ideally, Twitter is more open to broader political debate – though with the chief of the platform hosting a Republican campaign launch, it seems like a pretty clear indicator that a level of bias remains, just weighting to the other side instead.
Regardless, the DeSantis chat will bring more focus to Twitter, which is Musk’s main aim, while it’ll also help to keep the app at the center of the upcoming Presidential campaign.
Political leanings aside, getting the platform more involved in the race can only be good for Twitter usage, and ensuring that it remains an important platform for debate.
Yet at the same time, having the man in charge so overtly support one candidate over the other also seems like a risky proposition, in terms of platform bias and control.
Maybe Musk will balance this out with a similar chat with a left-leaning candidate, maybe new Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino will take a different perspective in her management at the app. Either way, right now, Elon’s using his $44 billion purchase as an amplifier for his political leanings.