Elon Musk, the richest man in the world, bought Twitter yesterday for about $44 billion. "Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy," Musk said in a press release announcing the deal. "Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated." Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, recently described himself as a "
What would you do with $44 billion? Me? 1. $20bn, Shut down Big Oil and remove CO2. 2. End poverty and ignorance in America (better schools, critical thinking). 3. Shut down the GOP.
Judd, your last paragraph is the most chilling and it is something that I have been saying to others for years now (although you say it much better than I do):
“ One thing we do know, however, is that the world's power and influence have become even more concentrated. By taking the company private, Musk will have tremendous power to make decisions about the future of the platform and few obligations to make those decisions public.”
I believe Oligarchs inhibit development of democracies and ultimately they squelch creativity and free thinking. Based on the rise of Autocracies, I would say the world is in the grip of too few people, many of whom are obsessive sickos. Just look at Putin, the Oligarch in Russia, and the Oligarchs who shore up his power. For example, the guy known as Putin’s Chef,Yevgeny Prigozhin has ties to the Wagner Group a mercenary group that I believe has been declared a terrorist group. The Wagner Group has been implicated in coups in Africa and is being used by the Russians to fight in Ukraine.
I can hope that Musk will develop a heart and soul but I doubt it. The hallmarks are all there that he will abuse his power: witness his childish and obsessive ego. Such a shame he got his Oligarchical paws on Twitter because I have found it useful to link to people I admire.
I left Twitter at the time when Trump was at his worst there, and never regretted it. Now, with Musk and his "free speech for everybody who doesn't criticize Tesla" I am even more glad I left.
Musk will do what best serves his personal interests...always has and always will as historically that is what has worked for him. By controlling the narrative he will continue to strengthen his control over the "narrative", gain invaluable information about those that use Twitter and those connected to those that use Twitter, on an international scale. Like Putin, Stalin, Trump and the others who truly believe they are smarter than most others within this Universe, he will attempt to secure his position so as to be able to do what ever he wants without having to be accountable to anyone, world governments included. He has rightfully recognized the reality that governments are not in control of anything unless they can be supported by a major majority of self sacrificing societal members of which their are none at this time in most any countries around the world due to divisive activities by astute grifters and corrupt leadership. Most of our leadership has been rendered impotent and possibly up to 35% of our country's population so poorly educated that they are unaware of the dangerous behavior they are supporting or even why when asked simple common sense questions. Wannabe and actual oligarch's are more than adept at knowing how to gain, maintain, and expand their control through monetary manipulation and intimidation. It's a simple case of history repeating itself. The human species doesn't evolve intellectually...just technologically in order to find more effective ways of competing against itself, nature and other humans. Mindless to the reality that if they worked cooperatively this species could have been exploring the Universe 500 or so years ago. Musk is just being Musk, a wealthy individual who knows how best to work the system and understands human weaknesses and the times in which we live without concern for humanity despite all his claims of bringing us into the future.
Great article. Elon Musk buying Twitter is terrifying. I hated Twitter a lot already, and now hate it even more. I can't stand Elon Musk. Just a complete asshole and as you show, a hypocrite to boot (as most assholes are).
I'm still on Twitter, though I mainly use it to follow hockey news. Not ready to delete my account....................YET. But, if right wing misinformation starts running rampant, I'm done.
Yes, I too will be leaving Twitter. I have found it useful for following experts during the pandemic and during the Trump years I actually found it to be moral booster and so enjoyed the humor. Musk has the maturity of 14 year old adolescent male (plus being a racist) and Twitter will only go down hill with him privatizing the platform. Also, you don't mention it but I'm certain he will be monetizing our data so another good reason for deleting your account and data. Sigh, Twitter was one of the few platforms that was transparent to researchers with data and that too will disappear.
Judd maybe I have watched too much TV but could you try and get a copy of the contract between Space X and NASA. What does Musk get out of it long term and what if any possible role buying Twitter have in his global ambitions. Thanks. And congratulations on bringing Koch to knees temporarily.
I follow Robert Reich and he reported in a post that Mr. Elon Muskovite has blocked him on Twitter. As a frequent critic of Musk, Mr. Reich suggested that his claim about free speech is a bunch of bull****! As for me, every time I see a photo of Elon, my first impulse is to VOMIT!
Is the rumor true that Jim Jordan and other House Republicans threatened to investigate Twitter and make life difficult for its board if they did not sell to Musk?
Mr. Free Speech, the guy who canceled someone's Tesla order because he didn't like their comments.
I strongly suspect that Trump's return to Twitter will last until he starts attacking electric vehicles and alternative energy. The same will prove true for most Republican leaders. It's likely there will then be a monumental urination match between Musk and the Trumpites leading to law suits which eventually end up at the Supreme Court where in a complete negation of the constitution, Musk will be told that he's not allowed to prevent Republican leaders from saying whatever they want on Twitter (though with this SCOTUS it will probably be just fine to shut down Democrats), thereby, in effect, forcing Twitter to become an uncompensated publicity arm of the Republican Party. Where we go from there is anybody's guess, but I suspect Musk would rather see Twitter be "nuked" in some way and completely destroyed/disabled rather than put up with being told he can't run it however he pleases (which, by the Constitution and current law/precedent, like it or not, he has every right to do).
Bravo, Judd! and now...he will come after you. You and your 3-person newsletter have already proven to be the proverbial Davids standing against the Goliaths of this world. In whatever battle may ensue against this deluded megalomaniac, know that you have an army of supporters standing behind you.
Never saw a reason for jumping into the cesspool known as Twitter and sure don't have a reason now. I've had about enough of entitled billionaires trying to "save us".
I’m so glad I left Twitter years ago. Wonder what would happen if most people just left Twitter?
Judd, I'm working on launching a project (Charette Space) that connects with the mission of Popular Information. Charette Space designs creative, in-person learning & community-building experiences to catalyze ideas for addressing some of our most entrenched problems. Our topic for a pilot event recently was directly tied to your work (I included popular info and some articles as pre-reads). Would love to connect with you about it.