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The message is unmistakable: We’re all doomed!
I imply, this may very well be the finish of civilization as we all know it.
Elon Musk, in reaching a deal to purchase Twitter, has discovered himself being slapped more durable than Chris Rock as he tries to finish his $44 billion takeover of the firm. Additionally punched, kicked and in comparison with a Bond film villain – that final one from the Washington Put up sports activities pages.
“Twitter Under Elon Will Be a Scary Place,” says a New York Occasions opinion columnist.
But right here’s the drawback: It’s already a scary place. For all its nice strengths in spreading information, constructing neighborhood and internet hosting nationwide conversations, it’s additionally a darkish neighborhood the place individuals get attacked, mocked and threatened, and the place misinformation thrives.
That’s all with out Musk, who received’t take over for months. That’s on present administration – and it’s hanging that co-founder Jack Dorsey says he views Musk as the “singular solution.”
Let’s face it, so much of the response is tribal in nature. The meltdown amongst liberal media sorts, who as soon as liked Musk as a result of he aided the setting with electrical vehicles, now see him as the embodiment of evil. And media conservatives, who have been as soon as cautious of the world’s richest man, now embrace him as a savior.
He might wind up disappointing either side, since content material moderation is a hornet’s nest that has stung Fb, Instagram, TikTok and different tech giants. But one factor we all know now is that the journalistic naysayers who stated he was simply feigning curiosity for ego or publicity turned out to be flat mistaken.
As for the pearl-clutchers who say it’s mistaken for a billionaire to wield that much media energy, I’m having a tough time recalling any uproar over Jeff Bezos, a Musk competitor in area, shopping for the Washington Put up.
Now, Musk is no Boy Scout. He will be petty and impulsive. Simply the different day, he made a tasteless joke about Invoice Gates, full with a pregnant man emoji.
Musk is famously powerful on his employees. He has imposed non-disclosure agreements on staffers at Tesla, and he and the firm have informed journalists they need to submit their tales for advance evaluation (fats likelihood). Some workers have alleged racial and sexual discrimination and unsafe working situations. The SEC as soon as fined him for improperly tweeting about taking Tesla non-public.
A New York portfolio supervisor who repeatedly criticized Tesla on-line informed Mediaite that Musk left a message threatening to sue him and drag his boss into the litigation.
But his personal excesses apart, Musk’s greatest problem is to draw the line between permitting voices to flourish and making it even simpler to slime individuals on the app. Some journalists are bracing for the worst. But Twitter misplaced a complete lot of credibility on the proper by banning Donald Trump (who says he doesn’t wish to resume his account) and censoring the Hunter Biden laptop computer story (which was confirmed by “reputable” information retailers effectively over a 12 months after it was shamefully squelched). Different Silicon Valley giants have struggled with these questions.
Maybe Musk’s rallying cry, after the Twitter board accepted his bid, was this:
“I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means.”
But yesterday he couldn’t assist but take observe of the media freakout:
“The extreme antibody reaction from those who fear free speech says it all.”
And: “By ‘free speech,’ I simply mean that which matches the law. I am against censorship that goes far beyond the law.”
Which will likely be a serious tectonic shift for Twitter.