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Don’t let the “broligarch” buy Twitter

According to the subscription-only tech journal The Information, “Twitter’s board of directors views Elon Musk’s takeover offer as unwelcome, said a person familiar with the situation, suggesting it will fight the bid.”

I certainly hope they do. His move threatens to turn Twitter into early 2010s-era Reddit, when it was a cesspool of bigotry, disinformation, and that MAGA/QAnon test run called Gamergate.

Some thoughts:

  1. His “free speech absolutist” stance is wrong. TechDirt’s recent article, Why Moderating Content Actually Does More To Support The Principles Of Free Speech, outlines why moderation actually enhances a community’s ability to have conversation, right from the first paragraph, which includes “Some of that involves legal requirements, some of it involves trying to keep a community focused, some of it involves dealing with spam, and some of it involves just crazy difficult decisions about what kind of community you want.”
  2. What he truly cares about is his own free speech. Yours doesn’t matter. For example:
  3. What does Musk use his freedom of speech for? Well, there’s the whole “pedo guy” thing, which didn’t add anything useful to a situation where people were racing against the clock in a search-and-rescue operation.
  4. The only time he’s ever faced governmental consequences for things he’s posted on Twitter was when he was he was manipulating the market for his own gain. That tweet from August 2018 — “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.” was him simultaneously playing to the retail investor crowd and the still-living-in-mom’s-basement crowd (and possibly the crowd where those two Venn circles overlap). As Quartz put it in their article, Elon Musk’s Twitter bid isn’t about free speech, “if Musk has gripes about free speech, they’re with the SEC and not the company he’s trying to acquire.”
  5. The loudest people celebrating Musk’s potential disruption of Twitter are human trash fires, incredible dumbasses, and often an unholy combination of the two: Jack Posobiec. Lauren Boebert. Jim Jordan. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Monica Crowley. Vladimir Putin’s newest bestest buddy, Tucker Carlson.

I’ll end with an observation from my friend, LinkedIn Learning’s Morten Rand-Hendriksen, whom I know from my Microsoft days:

“Elon Musk taking #Twitter private could mean an end to content moderation and a return of the platform as fertile ground for extremism, white supremacy, harrassment, and disinformation. Or it could mean nothing. Either way, if this deal goes through, it’ll change the social media landscape in a very big way.”

A very big way, certainly. But a good one? I doubt it.

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