Is Elon Musk the new Donald Trump of Twitter?

Mixing provocation and hard-hitting, the social media boss is reminiscent of the former American president’s social media style and method. These latest publications reinforce this strange filiation a little more.

Tweet about everything, but especially tweet. This mantra guided Donald Trump’s Twitter posts. Before being kicked out of the social network, the former president of the United States could not help expressing his opinion, creating scandals or simply beating his view on society.

Now it seems that Elon Musk has taken over at the top of the platform. A self-proclaimed fan of free speech, the boss of Tesla, SpaceX and now Twitter wants to bring “power back to the people” and empower anonymous voices. Above all, he clearly likes controversial and catchy tweets, Donald Trump style.

The latest? “He’s fired,” said one employee under a critical message. Obviously, this sentence – since deleted – echoes the reality TV version of the former American president, who “fired” candidates from his show with all his might. Pupil.

This strange filiation does not end there. In form, first of all: often laconic tweets, supported by a strong community of “fans”. Rarely in self-criticism, the billionaire likes to praise publications and is never stingy with harsh criticism of his opponent.

“So. Unpredictable. Ruthless. Autocratic. Vengeful. Does this remind you of anyone?” written in watchman Robert Reich, Bill Clinton’s former US Secretary of Labor.

Basically, Elon Musk also has some acquaintances with Donald Trump. Among the first decisions of the new leader of Twitter: the creation of a paid certificate to pass everyone as a reliable source of information. While pointing the whole finger at “journalists who consider themselves to be the only legitimate source of information”.

Distrust of journalists was one of Donald Trump’s signatures. And obviously, that turns out to be Elon Musk. In the eyes of the richest man in the world New York Times would be a disinformation site. At least that’s what it implies in a post. That day, he appropriated a British newspaper Guardian hour “The Long Leftist Propaganda Machine”.

It is surrounded by devotees rather than experts

All against the background of false claims. On October 31, Elon Musk shared a link to a site that has published conspiracy theories in the past. The article was about an attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband and contained unverified information. Faced with criticism and comments, the leader deleted his publication.

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

His first steps at the head of Twitter are also reminiscent of the first days of Donald Trump’s leadership of the United States. As Axios explained, the former president preferred to rely on a circle of followers rather than being surrounded by experts in his field. The wave of layoffs that followed his arrival was not insignificant.

Even under his leadership, Elon Musk takes on Trump’s modus operandi. Suggestions and ideas shared on Twitter are mostly not discussed internally. The American website The Verge reports that some employees for the social network do not know what to do. Some go so far as to scrutinize their boss’s publications to determine their duties.

Calling for a Republican vote

Among the first investors at the launch of Twitter, Chris Sacca tried to decipher the behavior of the businessman. According to him, Elon Musk is “right now completely alone and improvising.” In a long series of tweetshe assures that Twitter will not be able to stay healthy with so many engineers and operators laid off.

Finally, the new boss of the platform took a new step. On November 7, Elon Musk called to vote for the Republican Party in the midterm elections. Although he already shared the election trend in May, the importance and influence of the billionaire has now increased dramatically.

In his time, Donald Trump has also used Twitter to denigrate the policies of Democrats and to 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. Then his removal from the social network. But who will be able to control Elon Musk’s behavior on his platform?


But the comparison is not always correct. “They are different generations with different skills and different roles in the strange universe of modern America.” watchman Robert Reich. The latter particularly commonly sees “the emergence of a certain American personality in the first decades of the 21st century: the highly disruptive narcissist.”

Arnaud Mercier, professor of Information and Communication at the French Press Institute with Tech&Co, adds: “It is not imitation, but the same view of the world, of the relationship with others.” “He develops a desire to pass for a disruptive, brutal form to appear iconoclastic.”

For the communications major, this “peak excitement” of Twitter exposure could even give Musk ideas. “All this gives the impression that he has political agendas. If Trump follows the example and demonetizes himself, there is room in the political space.” However, the new head of Twitter will face a glass ceiling: because he was not born in the United States, he will not be able to run for the same high office as Donald Trump.

Thomas Leroy and Pierre Monnier

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