Zuck vs. Musk?

Published August 31, 2023

WORLD Opinions

For the last few months now, social media has been abuzz with rumors of a coming duel—a cage fight between the two titans of tech, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. It would be easy to dismiss this as mere idle boasting to grab headlines were the headlines not taking place against the backdrop of an intensifying war for market share. After years of relatively peaceful co-existence between Facebook and Twitter, Zuckerberg broke the truce by launching a direct Twitter rival, Threads, and Musk retaliated by rebranding his platform as X and promising that it would soon offer a vastly expanded ecosystem of services.

The idea of a good hand-to-hand battle to settle the score between the two online overlords has a quaintly medieval feel, like a good jousting match or perhaps sword duel between two rival barons seeking to defend their honor and vindicate their claims. Even the bluster about when and how and even whether the fight will take place evokes the ritualized boasting, taunts, and negotiations that preceded many medieval showdowns. Now, as often then, the stakes are clearly high but vague. Neither man has promised to hand over a portion of his digital domain to the winner, but if either were to lose face by backing out or losing, it would be a symbolic blow to their leadership in a business that is all about status.

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Brad Littlejohn (Ph.D., University of Edinburgh) is the founder and president of the Davenant Institute. He also works as a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and has taught for several institutions, including Moody Bible Institute–Spokane, Bethlehem College and Seminary, and Patrick Henry College. He is recognized as a leading scholar of the English theologian Richard Hooker and has published and lectured extensively in the fields of Reformation history, Christian ethics, and political theology. He lives in Landrum, S.C., with his wife, Rachel, and four children.

Brad Littlejohn, Ph.D., is a Fellow in EPPC’s Evangelicals in Civic Life Program, where his work focuses on helping public leaders understand the intellectual and historical foundations of our current breakdown of public trust, social cohesion, and sound governance. His research investigates shifting understandings of the nature of freedom and authority, and how a more full-orbed conception of freedom, rooted in the Christian tradition, can inform policy that respects both the dignity of the individual and the urgency of the common good. He also serves as President of the Davenant Institute.

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