With his latest announcement that he is still interested in purchasing Twitter, Elon Musk made a U-turn.
He previously backed out of a $44 billion acquisition of Twitter by claiming that Twitter had withheld information regarding false accounts.
He then stated his intention to morph Twitter into an “everything app” with several features including online shopping, messaging, payment, etc.
He had long envisioned making a “super app” like WeChat in China, Meta, Google, and Youtube who have all made some attempts like this in the past.
The issue is whether it can be made and what the current repercussions are.
Although customers may find the idea of an all-inclusive app intriguing, the regulatory ramifications have recently come to a debate.
At the time, internet companies like WeChat, Alibaba and Tencent could expand because of the more lenient regulatory climate in China. The Government encouraged these apps as they were helpful in tracking personal information. However, the fact that a billionaire is conducting the same tracking raises some red flags because neither Western governments nor citizens would want to grant Elon Musk this much control over their lives.
Another issue is with competition laws in countries like the US and UK. Facebook’s parent company, Meta, has worked hard to make its flagship platform a hub for all things.
However, they encountered many obstacles, such as lawsuits alleging privacy violations of users and antitrust claims that resulted in hefty fines.
A super app might bring convenience to users as they hardly need to leave the platform, but it can stifle competition and rule out user choices. It seems very hard that Western regulators will allow the development of any super app in the same way that the Chinese did.
By Hatice Çobanoğlu, BeComAware Student Ambassador.
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