Is Elon Musk the New Donald Trump on Twitter?

The boss of the social network mixes provocation and strong opinion, recalling the style and method of the former American president in the social network. These latest publications further reinforce this unique filiation.

Tweet about everything, but especially tweet. This mantra seems to guide Donald Trump’s posts on Twitter. Before he was expelled from the social network, the former president of the United States could not avoid giving his opinion, creating scandals or just hammering his views on society.

Now at the head of the platform, Elon Musk seems to have taken over. An avowed worshiper of freedom of expression, the boss of Tesla, SpaceX and now Twitter wants to return “power to the people” and amplify the voice of the anonymous. Most of all, he obviously loves controversy and catchy tweets, Donald Trump style.

The latest? “He’s fired” he tweeted under a critical message from a collaborator. Obviously, this sentence – since deleted – echoes the former president of America, reality TV version, when he “kicked out” the candidates with all his might from his show. The Apprentice.

This strange filiation does not stop there. In form, first of all: cascading tweets, often short, supported by a strong community of “fans”. Rarely self-critical, the billionaire likes to deliver publications to his glory and is never stingy with a harsh criticism against an opponent.

“Brash. Unpredictable. Ruthless. Autocratic. Vindictive. Does that remind you of anything?” written on Guardian Robert Reich, former US Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton.

Basically, Elon Musk also has some acquaintances with Donald Trump. Among the first decisions of the new head of Twitter: the establishment of a paid certification to pass everyone as a reliable source of information. All while pointing the finger at “journalists who they think are the only legitimate sources of information”.

Distrust of journalists is one of Donald Trump’s signatures. And obviously, it also becomes Elon Musk. In the eyes of the richest man in the world, the New York Times will be a disinformation site. At least that’s what he was implying in a post. Later that same day, he assimilated the British newspaper The watchman in “a far left propaganda machine”.

Surrounded by devotees rather than experts

All against the backdrop of false allegations. On October 31, Elon Musk shared a link to a site that has published conspiracy theories in the past. The article is about an attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband and contains unverified information. In the face of criticism and comments, the leader deleted his publication.

The bankruptcy of crypto giant FTX is also an opportunity for him to fuel conspiracy theories. According to him, Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of FTX, was never seen by the American authorities – unlike him – because he was a “main donor to the Democrats”.

His first steps at the head of Twitter are also reminiscent of Donald Trump’s early days at the head of the United States. As Axios explained, the former president preferred to rely on a circle of followers rather than surround himself with experts in their field. The wave of layoffs triggered by his arrival was unimportant.

Even in his administration, Elon Musk took over Trump’s modus operandi. Proposals and ideas floated on Twitter were hardly discussed internally. For the social network, some of the employees do not know what to do, reports the American site The Verge. Some research their employer’s publications to determine their tasks.

A call for the Republican vote

Among the first investors in the launch of Twitter, Chris Sacca tried to understand the behavior of the entrepreneur. According to him, Elon Musk “is completely alone at the moment and improvises”. In a long series of tweetshe ensures that Twitter will not remain healthy with so many engineers and operators being laid off.

Finally, the platform’s new boss made a new move. On November 7, Elon Musk called for voting for the Republican Party in the midterm elections. Although he already shared his electoral tendencies in May, the billionaire’s importance and influence have increased dramatically.

In his time, Donald Trump has also used Twitter to disparage democratic politics and praise his actions. With behavior becoming radicalized over time, the former president’s influence on the platform led to an attack on the US Capitol. Followed by his exclusion from the social network. But who will be able to moderate Elon Musk’s behavior on his own platform?

Narcissism

But the comparison is not always correct. “They are different generations, with different skills and different roles in the strange sky of modern America” ​​continues to Guardian Robert Reich. The latter is especially evident in the common “emergence of a particular American personality in the first decades of the 21st century: the deeply disturbing narcissist.”

“It’s not imitation but the same view of the world, of the relationship with others” added Arnaud Mercier, professor of Information-Communication at the French Press Institute, with Tech&Co. “He cultivates the same desire to pass for a disturbing, a form of brutality to appear iconoclastic.”

For the communication specialist, this “summit exhilaration” obtained thanks to the exposure of Twitter can give Musk ideas. “All this gives the impression that he has political agendas. Trump has led by example and if he is demonetizing himself, there is a place to be played in the political space.” The new Twitter boss will however face a glass ceiling: not being born in the United States, he cannot run for the same top job as Donald Trump.

Thomas Leroy and Pierre Monnier

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