Elon Musk has struck a deal to buy Twitter for $61.4 billion. I guess late-stage capitalism won.
Musk said he wanted to buy Twitter because he reckons it needs to be a private company in order to really support “free speech”, despite the fact I’m pretty sure “private company” and “free” are not compatible.
Giving control of a platform populated by a vast array of politics to the richest man in the world seems like a bad idea but I guess we’re in the end times now.
“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said in a statement after he nabbed the Twitter deal.
“I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans.”
🚀💫♥️ Yesss!!! ♥️💫🚀 pic.twitter.com/0T9HzUHuh6
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 25, 2022
Ah yes, the man who regularly blocks and harasses anyone that writes even the most lukewarm criticism of him is our new champion of free speech. Yay. So reassuring.
elon musk spending $43 billion to stop getting bullied on twitter when he could’ve simply been less annoying is insane
— first-mate prance (@bocxtop) April 25, 2022
Let’s also not forget that Elon Musk is a self-titled “free-speech absolutist” who also illegally tried to censor his workers attempts at unionising on Twitter.
Meaning to him, the right to all speech (except apparently pro-union speech) is protected — so what about hate speech? What will his takeover mean for trolls, Nazis and Trump-like Twitter users who were previously kicked off the site?
The reactions to Elon Musk taking over Twitter have been mixed. Obviously right-wing American nut jobs are frothing over “free speech” and the newfound ability to throw bigotry at whoever they want with minimal consequences. Others are warning Twitter workers to unionise ASAP.
Since this is probably the last day I can tweet this, can I just remind folks that Elon Musk is a union-busting billionaire who inherited money from his dad’s apartheid-era emerald mines?
Tax the rich + unionize Twitter now!
— Rana Abdelhamid رانا عبدالحميد (@RanaForNY) April 25, 2022
Everyone who works for Twitter needs to join a union immediately https://t.co/RpeST2nhX5
— Kieran Maxwell (@kieranpmaxwell) April 25, 2022
Some are either considering leaving Twitter — or have already left because they’re worried about being targeted by hate speech.
Others are just joking about it because if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry amiright?
Deleting my Twitter account and going back to screaming nonsense from atop a milk crate on a street corner, as god intended.
— Rex Huppke (@RexHuppke) April 25, 2022
Others pointed out that most of the things we enjoy are owned my problematic tycoons so they don’t find it a big deal. And some argued that people should stay on Twitter to keep the space balanced.
Thoughts on Elon Musk:
1. He is not a good person.
2. I like all of you and enjoy this interaction.
3. I am not deleting my account. I still drive my car even though I hate Oil Execs and CEOs.
— RealLifeSquidward 🇺🇸🌎🌊 (@EverydayAilment) April 25, 2022
And so while the sale to Musk may happen, I’m certainly not deleting or deactivating my account :today:
One of the things I try to do on @twitter is provide reliable & actionable information you can use to help you and your people survive this pandemic hellscape. 🧵
— Matthew Cortland (they) @mattbc.bsky.social (@mattbc) April 25, 2022
I get 80% of my work through Twitter and I’ve made the best connections with artists on this site. Everyone is talking about deleting their account and I simply can’t afford to. I just hope this dude doesn’t fuck it too bad. 😩 https://t.co/HrvncYF4QG
— Jeff Delgado (@Jeff_Delgado) April 25, 2022
Why do I have a feeling this new-found focus on free speech will just see vile trolling go unchecked? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.