Why does Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter worry more than a third of French people?

They fear that the social network is used by the businessman to help his other companies, to influence national policies, but also that it limits moderation.

Elon Musk’s plan to buy Twitter worries more than one. While the billionaire caused a wave of panic on the markets by announcing temporarily suspending the takeover of the social network last week, the French are concerned about his desire to acquire it. According to a poll conducted by Odoxa*, 37% are worried about it. This figure even increases to 42% for people using social networks as a commercial or professional tool.

More specifically, the French fear that Elon Musk uses Twitter to help his other businesses (57%). The businessman is indeed at the head of several companies such as Tesla and SpaceX and has already made the share price of these firms rise or fall with tweets. Suspecting that he has political ambitions, 53% of respondents also fear that he influences national policies and 56% believe that he could oppose the laws in force in the country. Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market, has also recently indicated that Elon Musk will have to comply with the rules of the European Union, such as the Digital Services Act (DSA).

Concerns about the supervision of social networks

More than half of French people also fear that the billionaire will limit moderation rules on Twitter and set up unlimited freedom of expression. They are not the only ones: in early May, NGOs called on brands to boycott the social network if Elon Musk applies changes to moderation, as he announced.

On the other hand, the majority of respondents (82%) believe that the law is not strict enough to combat certain comments made on social networks. Platforms are indeed spaces where fake news or hate speech proliferate. The recently adopted DSA should precisely make the digital space safer, in particular by imposing rules on social networks.

If the French expect these platforms to be better supervised, it is because they are both a means of obtaining information (31%) and of expressing themselves (33%) for them. In detail, it is young people in particular who see social networks above all as a means of information, with 43% of 25-34 year olds. The French also consider that they allow them to express themselves: 52% of 18-24 year olds and 43% of 35-49 year olds consider that they are above all a means of expression.

*Survey carried out from May 11 to 12 among 1,005 people

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