Concentration of ownership of social networks is a ‘form of dictatorship’, says the president

The concentration of ownership of social media platforms has been compared to an “absurd form of dictatorship” by President Michael D. Higgins.

Appearing on the Late Late Show on Friday night, host Ryan Tubridy asked the president about comments he had made earlier this month when he suggested billionaires’ attempts to control public discourse were “dangerous narcissism.” .

While he did not identify Elon Musk by name when making those comments, they were understood to be criticism of the billionaire’s attempted takeover of Twitter for around $44 billion.

Asked late Friday if he was referring to Musk, the president said, “It doesn’t matter who I’m talking about,” before elaborating on his vision for the future of social media and public discourse and the dangers of concentrate. property in the hands of a small number of wealthy people.

He said that in the old days, when it came to the newspaper industry, “you had kind of a code and understanding of what was legitimate commentary and so on.”

He said that if that widely accepted code was breached, there were mechanisms in place to deal with breaches, but “then there is the development of social media.”

He asked, “Why would anyone say that those who can hold the most ownership should be the people who decide how people should treat each other in communication?”

He suggested that such a concentration of ownership was “such an absurd form of dictatorship in a way, so if you are going to have responsible communication, why would you decide that you would go after the richest person or group and give them the authority? It seems absurd to me. You don’t have to be a left-wing nut to believe that, it’s just about democracy.”

Looking at the broader economic picture closer to home, Higgins also questioned how society was developing, saying that “essentials, such as in relation to food, shelter, housing, etc., should never have been considered as something that can be classified”. for the market”.

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