The elite’s ambition to influence the flow of information among the masses is an age-old one. Recently Elon Musk acquired Twitter for a whopping $44 billion. In the past years, we have seen billionaires investing in news media companies. The Boston Globe is owned by sports billionaire John Henry. Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest individual, controls the Network18 Group. Scion of Business the TV Today Network is owned by Kumar Mangalam Birla, The South China Morning Post is owned by Alibaba, the Asian billionaire Jack Ma’s company. The list goes on and on. Understanding the billionaire’s motivations and why they invest in owning and controlling news outlets and social media organizations is more significant.
Social media is very similar to these media houses when it comes to dealing with the flow of information. Majority of the modern-day society relies on social media platforms to stay UpToDate and to gather information. The influence of social media is a huge factor.
Motivations behind owning social media platforms
Managing and controlling the public and policy arenas Discourse is something that becomes required as one’s status in society rises. The need to influence the overall direction of thought grows as wealth and assets increase. If they can buy these platforms they can easily control and restrict the flow of information. They can select what they want people to use and see on these platforms. Setting the algorithm for their liking and displaying only the thing they wanted the society to see on the feeds will slowly influence the user’s thought process as well. This will allow them to control the mindset of society.
On the other side, social media is the future of business as well. Owning a social media company will increase the brand image of these billionaires. They can easily promote their businesses through these platforms. In the long run, investing in social media platforms will benefit them in multiple ways. The future of the economy, money, and trade is digital. Platforms of social convergence are digital/social media platforms. They can also be turned into new marketplaces for products and services that are fuelled by and brought about by cutting-edge technology, Metaverse is a huge example of this.
If the free flow of information and freedom of speech gets restricted when these platforms are owned by a few rich people then society will find ways to break out from that cage. Modern tech is cheap and advanced so new platforms will arise. Billionaires may control certain things but eventually, new trends will happen in the digital world. If a social media platform fails to follow these trends, then it will affect the existence of that platform.
Buying a media outlet by someone with a lot of money is nothing new. A look back over the decades reveals that wealthy people frequently enable free speech. Unlike press media, social media is fuelled by its users and not by the owners. People only like to see and share what they want and that’s the nature and basic algorithm of these social media platforms, if they start to see things that are not of interest on their live feeds then they will jump to another platform that suits their liking. So the future of social media is going to be similar to what it is now and the true nature of these platforms cant be altered because the life of these platforms is its users.