Love it or hate it, Twitter is here to stay. It’s become a staple in the worlds of politics, journalism, and beyond. The future of the company has never before looked so unsure. Following Elon Musk’s massive $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, he’s already fired some of its top executives and has hinted at major structural change coming soon. Years of animosity between Musk and Twitter ends with and Elon living out his fantasy of exacting revenge on everyone there who wronged him.
Now, Musk is undeniably a smart businessman, engineer, and visionary. That’s clear. He’s also, however, a loose fucking canon. Media blunders (this one’s my favorite) and reportedly strange workplace behavior aside, Elon has become known his blatant disregard of SEC regulations and often takes to platforms like Twitter to not only violate the rules, but publicly broadcast he’s doing so. He’s shown himself to be petty and immature, compared Trudeau to Hitler, to be unremorseful about racist or misognist statements he’s made, to make hyperbolic accusations about foreign leaders, committing blatant securities fraud, to threaten and bully his own employees, to maintain hellish working conditions, personally and openly attacks whistleblowers at his company, to medel in politics where he’s out of his depth (recently suggesting Ukraine just succeed Crimea to Russia, which ended up being used as propaganda on Russian State TV), to question the Coronvirus’s legitimacy, and to buck the law when it comes to Coronavirus regulations themselves. Oh yeah… that factory he reopened in spite of State COVID-19 laws? 450 outbreaks subsquently recorded there.
In fact, to evade pressure from regulators to enforce COVID-19 safety guidelines, he explored moving his company to Texas. Sure, there’s less corporate pressure there. No matter that they had just effectively outlawed abortion, and are one of the Coronavirus hot spots. If it means Elon’s stock price or ego will jump, he’s got horse blinders on.
“I would reverse Trump’s permanent ban“— Elon Musk, May 2022
Ask yourself whether this is the man you want steering the ship of public discourse on one of the world’s largest social platforms, and making decisions that have substantial, real-world consequences, and which serves as a keystone communication hub of politics and journalism. especially pertaining to politics and journalism. After all, Elon is more concerned about a A.I. becoming conscious and taking over the world than he is about the damage Donald Trump would do if allowed back on Twitter’s platform. Yes, that’s right. He thinks Trump should given his bullhorn back. Is that the kind of world you want to live in again? Waking up to all the fresh throat garbage which spewed forth overnight from Trump’s fat, leathery mouth? A world of fake news and “alternative facts”?
None of this embarrasses Elon, of course, but it definitely embarasses his employees and shareholders. Take an anonymous letter from SpaceX employees in June: “As our CEO and most prominent spokesperson, Elon is seen as the face of SpaceX — every tweet that Elon sends is a de facto public statement by the company… Elon’s behavior in the public sphere is a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us.“
Did you happen to know Elon counts himself as a proud Libertarian? Despite what you might read online about standing for personal freedom and fighting government encroachment, in my personal experience Libertarians are just Assholes who like using a fancy title. Think of it as a more modern/politically correct way of saying “I don’t care about anyone else: it’s all about numero uno, baby!” Sometimes it also means, “I don’t know about or follow politics but I like pretending I’m part of something cool.” They espouse the virtues of personal freedom, but it’s only their own they’re interested in protecting.
Twitter has never been something I felt passionately about, but this acquisition is alarming for me. Is that who should be running one of the world’s biggest hubs of communication, making decisions that can have immense real-world consequences? Twitter has never been something I felt passionately about, but this acquisition is alarming for me. In May 2022, for example, Musk told reporters “I would reverse the permanent ban [on Trump]” and allow him back on the platform. Is that really the kind of world you want to live in again? Waking up to all the fresh throat garbage which spewed forth overnight from Trump’s fat, leathery mouth? Do you want to go back to a world of fake news and “alternative facts”? Twitter has never been something I felt passionately about, but this acquisition is alarming for me.
At first, Musk tried to back out of the deal but he was embarassingly forced to follow through by Twitter’s board of directors. You can imagine he’s a little salty about it. Musk has hinted his plans are to liquidate most of the company, firing as much as 75% of its staff and reducing the entire company to less than 2,000 people. Twitter employees have been reportedly very fearful about the leadership change and how their futures may be impacted. Four of its top executives were fired the day after Musk took the helm, having at least one of them “escorted / perp walked” out of the building. Wow. But don’t worry, Elon’s a genius, right? I mean, he’s already told the press he plans to transform Twitter into an “everything app” called “X” — whatever in the fuck any of that means. This guy literally doesn’t have a clue.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see Twitter innovate and create cooler experiences in the future, and Mr. Musk might be the kind of guy who can make that happen. But when Elon says he wants to promote free speech and public discourse, he’s almost certainly talking about his free speech and his public discourse. Don’t be surprised if some of his critics’ tweets start getting less and less visibility. He will happily use Twitter as his own, personal bludgeoning instrument. I wouldn’t put that past him at. all.