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tv   BBC World News Outside Source  PBS  April 25, 2022 5:00pm-5:30pm PDT

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♪ ♪ narrator: funding for this presentation of this program is provided by... woman: architect. bee keeper. mentor. a raymond james financial advisor tailors advice to help you live your life. life well planned. woman: the rules of business are being reinvented with a more flexible workforce. by embracing innovation, by lookiot only at current opportunities, but ahead to future ones. man: people who know, know bdo.
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narrator: funding was also provided by, the freeman foundation. by judy and peter blum kovler foundation; pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. and by contributions to this pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. announcer: and now, "bbc world news". ross: the war s entering its third month. we will updateou on that. shares were suspended in the trading of twitter, and we will bring you further coverage of elon musk.
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russian missiles in the center and west of ukraine. senior officials in kyiv to show their support. and defending against russian aggression may not be enough. emmanuel macron will be president of france for another five years. we will look through what his policy objectives are. ♪ ross: we have a developing story from the u.s., twitter has confirmed that elon musk, the world's richest men, has bought the whole thing. twitter has gone private. he has bought all of the company
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for 44 billion dollars. trading of the shares was halted just a few moments before the news. this is a huge moment, not just for the tech world but for the millions of people who use twitter around the world. it is not as big a platform as facebook. now elon musk owns it all. wh is interesting is that he has been talking extensively about the issue of freedom of speech. he says twitter is the townhall of the world, that he feels that freedom of speech is not being manifested on twitter in a way that he feels it ought to be. bear in mind, elon musk is just over the age of 50. he really emerged as the internet emerged into all of our lives in the 1990's and 2000's. he has a libertarian view of freedom of speech. he wants people to be able to
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say as much as they possibly can. he tweeted a couple of hours ago saying that even his fiercest critics should be able to say what they want on twitter, but of course freedom of speech is not simply an idea, it is a challenge, as people all over social media platforms will tell you. we have no details at all on whether or how he will take on these practical challenges of freedom of speech. there are some things that are sufficiently abusive or false and have been labeled as something there are concerns about, or in some cases they just take down accounts or particular tweets, donald trump being an obvious example. james, it is on. james: it isbsolutely on. a tweet -- a statement saying
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they agreed to sell the company to elon musk, and the company will be privately held by elon musk. he will absolutely have complete control over twitter and it will be wholly owned, is the statement by elon musk. this is huge news, elon musk will own twitter. it doesn't mean that he just controls twitter a little bit. he is the indisputable king of twitter. he can do whatever he wants with it. he could even decide he will run twitter if he wants to. so this is absolutely huge news. huge ramifications now about how twitter is moderated. is donald trump going to be allowed back on twitter, for example? i suspect he will because all the news from elon musk says he is pro-free speech and does not
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want people to be banned from twitter. so huge ramifications for twitter and for politics as well. ross: he talks about making the algorithm behind twitter open source, so that we can all look at how twitter decides what we see. james: he has said that a few times before. most of the social media platforms, we don't know about the algorithms, what kind of behaviors are they encouraging and what are they suppressing? he wants people to know why certain tweets do very well and certain tweets do not. there are conspiracy theories, from the right, that twitter deliberately targets people from the right and that the algorithm is biased against people from the right. so a lot of conservatives are ve happy that he's going to
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make that algorithm open source. i think that is one the key things, not that elon musk's owns this, we are going to know an awful lot more about some of those decisions that twitter has made, very controversial decisions, particularly the crucial one of donald trump being banned for life. what actually happens inside twitter, elon musk may well get his hands on that. so huge consequences for so many different areas, and the ramifications for social media platforms everywhere. now that twitter is going to become a huge free-speech platform, that will put pressure on facebook, tiktok, instagram and others. ross: elon mu is framing this in terms of making twitter a better service to the world in the world tiananmen square --
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town square. but does he have a plan to make money off this, because he is also very good about business. james: he said it is not about the economics. but elon musk is so wealthy that perhaps he doesn't want to make money from this. one of the interesting tngs is the financing behind twitter. he owns twitter wholesale. he owns it lock stock and barrel. so i think it is pretty likely that elon musk just does what he wants, and the financials and go second-place to what he clearly sees as twitter that has lost its way, certainly in terms of protecting free speech. ross: i can help but thinking, how is he going to have time to devote himself to this, given he has tesla and spacex on his plate as well. james: he also has other
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companies. this is his fifth company now. it's amazing that he is able to run those companies, but how much time you give to twitter will be very interesting. it will be interesting now to see the tesla stock, will the tesla share price -- they all worry that he's going to spend a lot of time now on twitter and not so much time on tesla. so just thinking about the implications on this for other companies, i would suspect you will see tesla share prices falling a little because of fears that elon musk simply doesn't have the bandwidth to run so many companies. ross: a quick question on the practicalities, there will be plenty of people watching us around the world who use twitter , given this announcement does happen in the last hour, how
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quickly does elon musk actually get his hands on the company in a meaningful way? james: that is difficult to say at this point, they've just agreed on the deal and principle, so it could be weeks or months. it is difficult to say at the moment. i don't think we will see twitter change particularly in the short term. but very much so we're going to ce on must looking to bring in -- there is speculation about an edit button. i think we are going to see that pretty soon. i think we are also going to see light touch moderation in a way that has pretty much never happen on twitter. twitter has always been quite good at labeling content and taking it down quickly, particularly when it comes to hate speech and disinformation. there were dozens of tweets were donald trump was talking about the election and saying it was
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stolen from him with no evidence of that and eventually he was banned. now i don't think twitter would do anything because he is such a believer, an absolutist and fundamentalist when it comes to free speech, in his own words. so i think in that context, again, anyone could just say anything. when people say they are pro-free speech, they don't necessarily consider the ramificatis of what that exactly means, what happens with libel, revenge: -- revenge pouring, -- revenge porn, etc.. it's a really consequential moment in u.s. politics. ross: thanks for taking us
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through it, james, our tech correspondent in san francisco. hugely consequential for the technology that many of us use, elon musk is going to be in complete control of twitt. a little while ago, before this was announced, elon musk tweeted, i hope that even my worst critics remain on twitter, because at his watch -- that is what free-speech means. a quick reminder of how we got to this point in the story, it was revealed that elon musk held -- was the biggest shareholder with a 93% share. he was offered a seat on the board but on conditions. some believe it was a maneuver to keep his influence capped. d stheeaskis a twitter if
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they adhered to the principle of free speech. he offered to buy the remainder of shares the following week and he sent a letter to the twitter chairmen iwhich he wrote, i invested in twitter because i believed it to be a platform of free speech. i believe free-speech as a society is imperative. twitter needs to be transformed as a private company, and of course, that is now exactly what elon musk now has t option to do as he now wants the company outright. we heard from james clayton a little earlier, but here he is a few minutes ago explaining that what is happening now and what it may have to do with the future. what has changed is that until friday, twitter did not know how much elon musk was going to pay for it. all of fits -- to free up $50
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billion to pay for a company is difficult. on friday and out to how was going to do that was to borrow against his tesla shares. at that point, twitter's board started to take elon musk much more seriously. for elon musk to take twitter private is very much in the cards. ross: he tweeted that he wants his critics to be online. all the platforms no never restrict freedom of speech it's not always due to this information or misbehavior. the seats plane how he's going to approach this differently? james: we don't know how he is going to moderate the platform at all. if you look at the platforms that are completely free speech, for chan, telegram, there's a reason financially why twitter
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does moderate. it doesn't want to become a poisonous, hateful place. there are reasons to do this and it' really not clear how elon musk is going to moderate twitter. what we do know is that he very much claims to be a free-speech fundamentalist. i would be shocked if donald trump does not go back onto twitter. many others who have been banned on twitter will make an entrance too. many in america are incredibly excited about this move. i just spoke to at twitter employee who said he is quitting twitter. this is going to be huge political football for the next coming months. ross: thanks to james for that. let's bring in stephanie, technology analyst. what do you make of this? stephanie: it's obviously very exciting for people on twitter.
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it just depends. ross: the majorof people are not on twitter. so all those people watching who don't use twitter, why does this story matter? stephanie: twitter is very interesting in that it is by no means the most popular of the social media platforms, but it is quite significant. it is used by lots of journalists and buy some any governments around the world. until twitter -- twitter was the first to punt donald trump office platform. he ruled that site with 87 million followers and any time would start tweeting, it just took over the timeline. so this question free-speech that the new owner elon musk has been raising is going to be interesting, because a lot of
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people are wondering, is he signaling that we could potentially see the return of donald trump to twitter? ross: are you surprised that he, with all of his millions, has chosen twitter to be the place where he makes a move, given that there are other platforms which are bigger? stephanie: i'm not surprised by it, because i think he's not somebody who is always doing something for a reason that would seem logical to someone outside of his range. he likes using twitter, it is fun. he likes to mess around with it. he's got his fingers wrapped by his boards and the securities and exchange commission because he has been naughty on twitter and that has affected share prices and involve regulatory investigations. i think he respects the fact that this is a company that has famously failed to capitalize on its value and he thinks there is a business case to turn it around and extract more value and he loves a challenge.
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so it makes perfect sense that it would be bought by someone like him. ross: in terms of practicalities, how do you extract more value from twitter? evidently is not generating the kind of income some people think it should. stephanie: great question. it's as much is about wanting to authenticate humans -- it's going to be a question of whether or not he -- she's interested in cryptocurrencies and shares an interest with the twittefounder, jack dorsey and who was ceo uil quite recently. he's going to be looking for ways to monetize this company and expand and extract value, whether he's going to be going into the metaverse, we just don't know yet. i don't think he has given it much more thought than the past couple of months. he was invited to be on the board and decided he wasn't going to be on the board, then
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he announced he was going to be making this bid, whether a hostile takeover or friendly bid. ross: it sounds like the bigst impulse buy in history. stephanie, thank you very much indeed. elon musk says twitter has huge potential and he wants to unleash that. watch out for detls in the coming hours and days. stay with me here in the bbc news room, in a few minutes we will update you on the situation in ukraine. russia has been targeting train stations. we will hear from one of our correspondence on the reasons why. there have been long queues at supermarkets in beijing as fears rise it will be the next china
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city to interlock down. >> it has spooked residents in the city over the last 24 hours. they've been piling into supermarkets and buying provisions because they were that may have to go into a lockdown as others have. people in shanghai have been unable to leave their homes for the last five weeks. with only 19 extra cases today, is not surprising that residents may feel that way. the governor said there may be many more -- they are worried over the last week or so that many more people have been infected and that's why this mass testing is being carried out.
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ross: let's bring you up-to-date on the war in ukraine. russia's continued air attacks on a number of cies and more civilians have been killed. five railway staons were attacked in the east and center of the country. this is the aftermath of one of those attacks. the bbc's dan johnson has been to the scene and here he is explaining why these railways are being targeted. dan: this is one of the main roads between lviv k andyiv and the rest of the country. these have become the bottle arteries, maintaing the flow of weapons into you carrying, over to the east -- into ukraine. ross: the diplomatic side of the conflict and another high-level visit to kyiv, this time the americans came to town. anti-lincoln and lloyd austin met with president zelenskyy.
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the u.s. now says it will give a further $700 billion worth of aid to ukraine and to some nato member states as well. that means three point $7 billion worth of u.s. military aid has been given to ukraine. >> what we are seeing right now gain not only military aid but a shift in the kind of aid being given to ukraine, specifically to confront this current offensive in the don boss effectively. it's going to be a different kind of warfare than we've seen previously. it's more of an infusion of heavy artillery,anks, howitzers, armed vehicles and dronesnd air defense systems. much stronger military support than we have seen in the past. ross: russia has called the supply of u.s. weapons unacceptable.
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>> in terms of russia's war aims, russia has already failed in ukraine has already succeeded because the principal aim that putin brought to this in his own words was to take a wet sovereignty and independence, and that has not happened, and clearly will not happen. ross: saying russia is failing in its war aims. u.s. defense secretary lloyd austin said this. >> we want to see russia weakened to the degree that it cannot do the kinds of this it has done in ukraine. it has already lost a lot of military capability and a lot of its troops, quite frankly. we want to see them not have the capability to quickly reproduce that capability. ross: i've been speaking to joe inwood who is in kyiv, and
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discussing whether president zelenskyy got what he was looking for. >> the amount of money we're talking about here, another $700 million, that is a vast amount. $300 million of that will be going directly to ukrainians to see -- to spend whatever weapons they see it and another 400 million will go to provide ukrainians with their soviet era equipment that ukrainians can you straight away. it's not just about the military support, it is about diplomatic support as well. some of the words used by antony blinken and by lloyd austin suggests there going to be long-term american buy into the ukrainian because, they are putting their money where their mouth is and investing in weapons. they say they will support ukraine for as long as the fight takes. ross: his president zelenskyy still asking for a no-fly zone, or as he accepted he's not going to get that from the americans? >> obviously theyould still
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like that, but i think maybe he has decided he should pick his battles and has asked for heavy equipment and the ability to defend their skies. i think that is where his focus has been, asking for antiaircraft defenses. the british have provided those that have come from former soviet bloc countries. ross: we know the russians are very upset with america and other supplying arms into ukraine. is there focus o railways in part connected to that, they want to disrupt the ability of the west to get this weaponry into ukraine? >> absolutely. there's an old phrase, amateurs talk about strategy, professionals talk about logistics, when it comes to warfare. the problem the russians had in the first stage of the conflict is about the just experience
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ukrainians are fighting all the way over in the donbas. the way they get their hardware to the front lines is on the railway lines. it's going to have a material impact on ukrainians ability to get the hardware and heavy weaponry we are hairy -- hearing about where it is needed. ross: a developing story in the last half hour or so, it s been confirmed that the twitter board has accepted elon musk's offer, he's paying over $40 billion to take twitter private. he will have complete control. all the ideas he's been floating in the past couple of months on how he can change twitter, now he is goingo get the chance. he is buying the company. one question a lot of people are asking is with the emphasis on free speech, will president trump be allowed back onto twitter?
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twitter removed him in the last few days of his presidency. donald trump has said he does not want to go back on twitter, even if elon musk were to allow it. that is one of many questions facing twitter. thanks for watching, goodbye. narrator: funding for this presentation of this program is provided by... narrator: financial services firm, raymond james. man: bdo. accountants and advisors. narrator: funding was also provided by, the freeman foundation. by judy and peter blum kovler foundation; pursuing solutions for america's neglected needs. and by contributions to this pbs station from viewers like you thank you. ♪ ♪
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narrator: you're watching pbs.
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♪ ♪ narrator: funding for this presentation of this program is provided by... woman: architect. bee keeper. mentor. a raymond james financial advisor tailors advice to help you live your life. life well planned. wo the rules of business are being reinvented with a more flexible workforce. by embracing innovation, by looking not only at current opportunities, but ahead to future ones. man: people who know, know bdo.


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