President Higgins calls Elon Musk's purchase of Twitter 'dangerous narcissism

President Higgins calls Elon Musk's purchase of Twitter 'dangerous narcissism

PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins has described the purchase of Twitter by Elon Musk as "dangerous narcissism".

Musk's purchase of the social media platform last week for $44 billion brought with it various opinions on the future of the online discourse.

Speaking at the establishment of the DCU Centre for Climate and Society in Dublin on Thursday, the President said “social discourse” must move away from a laissez-faire economic narrative to meet today’s urgent global challenges.

While he did not identify Musk by name, the President voiced concern about the ownership of media platforms.

"Is it a great success that a multi-billionaire would be now deciding what is appropriate for people to exchange in discourse? I think it can hardly be described as anything other than a manifestation of an incredibly dangerous narcissism," the President said in unscripted remarks.

The Tesla and SpaceX boss, who is the world’s richest person, is keen on making some big changes on the platform, including new features, enhanced monetisation, defeating spam bots, authenticating all humans and, perhaps most controversially, potentially relaxing content moderation.

The President also said climate and the environment had to become “the unspoken, understood, taken-for-granted context for social discourse in the way that jobs and the economy are now”.

In the released script, Mr Higgins said: “The Irish State must lead by example if it is to have any credibility, any realistic hope of bringing its citizens with it on the challenging journey to a net-zero carbon future.”

He also called for for a forging of new connections between ecology, economics and ethics for the sake of the planet and its global citizens, and for an "eco-social" model to be applied to wellbeing that goes beyond GDP and recognises the limits of the world’s natural resources.

"Let us acknowledge, too, that those who have made the least contribution to our ecological crises are paying the highest price. The most powerful in economic terms cannot, with any credibility, continue to be the slowest to change," he said.