Many a Titter about Twitter as Musk Bungles his Big Purchase

Dust off your shovels! Elon Musk has bought himself into a $44bn hole, and you’re expected to dig him out of it….

Musk TwitterSince Elon Musk’s official takeover of Twitter on October 28, the social media platform has been suspended in a chaotic free-for-all.

None of which is his fault, of course. A 500 percent rise in the use of hate-speech?  It has nothing to do with Musk’s history of using alt-right dog whistles to build a rabid fanbase. It’s just trolls. Advertisers running for the hills, leading to a massive loss in revenue? Only a naive person would think it has anything to do with Musk laying off thousands of employees (in a potentially illegal move), firing a few executives, repeatedly insulting his new customer base, and offering no transition plan. Woke activists are to blame for that. It could be worse, though; it could be aliens trying to sabotage his latest venture.

Really, we should feel lucky we get to witness such incredible business acumen in real time: for example, pricing your new product at $20 and then immediately lowering it to $8 because Stephen King said something mean. Or promising to end the current “lords and peasants” verification system but ensuring users can only access key safety features if they can afford to. After all, it’s a move that has worked incredibly well for Tesla, where car users can access child-culling — sorry, self-driving! — mode for an extra $15k.

Musk tweeted “you get what you pay for” in the meantime, but that’s coming from the man who just paid $44bn for a company that brought in $5bn of revenue last year, and zero dollars in profit.

The spirit of the whole debacle is best summarised by Twitter itself. Nothing captures it better than this exchange between two anonymous users:

“Hahahahahahaha, imagine thinking you’re supposed to be notified before being laid off! Hahahaha.”

“You actually do in California 😂”

“That’s fucking crazy, had no idea”

Not everyone is so light-hearted about it all. Some commentators have declared Musk the King of Twitter, a title he would probably covet. “There is nothing stopping him from accessing your direct messages or handing them over to a government,” they warn. Which is true.

Governments should also be advised that there are quite a few laws against it. Like the Stored Communications Act in the US, and General Data Protection Regulation is a regulation in the EU. Those fearing what the new takeover means for their data security should find some comfort in the knowledge that it was already at risk a long time before Musk moved to purchase the platform. All across the world.

The difference, Musk assures us, is that we can finally benefit from free speech. Trump ally Marjorie Taylor Greene excitedly proclaimed: “FREEDOM OF SPEECH!!!!” on the day of the takeover.

There’s clearly an appetite for a platform that protects it, and Elon Musk is the first person who has committed to doing it. Aside from, you know, Kanye West (who bought flailing free-speech platform Parler), Donald Trump (former President and businessman behind the equally failed Truth Social experiment), and many others.

The problem with buying a restaurant because the server refused to seat you is… well, now you own a restaurant. And at the end of the day, someone has to wash the dishes.

By Kitty Wenham


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