Jeff Bezos, the executive chairman of Amazon, implied Monday that fellow multibillionaire Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter could give China leverage over the platform.
Bezos shared a tweet saying that China makes up the second-biggest market for Tesla, arguing it raises an “interesting question.”
“Did the Chinese government just gain a bit of leverage over the town square?” Bezos wrote.
China has a record of media censorship and “is one of the world’s most restrictive media environments,” according to the Council of Foreign Relations. Case in point: Twitter has been banned in the country since 2009.
Musk has previously referred to the social media platform as the “as the de facto public town square.”
Bezos eventually answered his own question with “probably not,” saying Musk’s purchase would prove more challenging for Tesla than the social media company.
“But we’ll see,” he said. “Musk is extremely good at navigating this kind of complexity.”
Amazon is no stranger to navigating complexities in order to take advantage of the Chinese market. According to Reuters, Amazon removed the ratings and comment sections from its Chinese website after a book including speeches by Chinese President Xi Jinping received a negative review. Amazon also had to work together “with an arm of China’s propaganda apparatus” to launch a China Books section on the American website, including a book praising life in Xinjiang, where China is accused of forcibly detaining 1 million of its own citizens, according to the Reuters report.
Musk and Bezos have a longstanding feud that includes a rivalry between their two space exploration companies, Musk’s SpaceX and Bezos’ Blue Origin.
“Jeff who?” Musk answered, when asked about the rivalry between the two companies in September, according to The New York Times.
In April 2021, SpaceX won a $2.9 billion NASA contract to develop a rocket to take astronauts to the moon, beating Bezos’s Blue Origin, according to The Washington Post.
Twitter’s board of directors announced Monday it agreed to sell the company to Musk for around $44 billion.