Why the tweet tone of crying over Musk’s Twitter takeover should be music to our ears
Those of you who are of a specific vintage may remember the old TV ads for Remington razors in the early 1980’s. They featured American businessman Victor Kiam praising the merits of the product and proudly proclaiming, “I liked the razor so much that I bought the company.”
This week we saw exactly the opposite. When divisive tech entrepreneur Elon Musk lost $44 billion buying Twitter, I half expected him to launch a series of TV ads saying, “I hated the company so much, that I decided to buy it.”
Its acquisition was always destined to stir up controversy, but I doubt anyone expected so many people to lose their marbles entirely — the last 24 hours have witnessed a level of hysteria unprecedented in Twitter history. For a product that peddles and promotes hysterical nonsense, that’s quite an achievement.
Musk is obviously a pretty weird guy, but you won’t become the richest man in the world by being just a regular, average Joe.
Billionaires tend to be eccentric, and it’s probably fitting that the richest of them all seems to be the most eccentric.
But the reaction to its purchase was off the charts, to the extent that you’d swear the new owner might as well be Vladimir Putin.
Apparently his plans to change the way Twitter works will usher in a new Fourth Reich – so what are these dangerous new developments?
Well, he wants to get rid of automated bots, which invariably come from those notorious Russian troll farms accused of causing so much damage to the American presidential election process and, of course, blamed for the Brexit outcome. Surely the musk haters would be happy to see the back of the bots? No, not a bit of that.
Musk has also stressed that he wants better verification by users, and they need to prove they are actually human. Surely most of us are glad that there will be a better tweeter review? No – that didn’t impress his critics at all.
But these planned initiatives, which most people have been calling for on Twitter for a number of years anyway, are not the main point of contention for the outraged brigade.
Notably, the company’s management had to halt the launch of various new services over concerns that the younger employees, who seem to hate Musk passionately, would sabotage them in protest.
In a way, we should feel sorry for the disgruntled workers — anyone who’s ever worked for a company that’s been taken over by an insanely wealthy businessman who doesn’t actually like the product will know the anxiety that can bring.
The fact that they’ve been told their jobs are secure for the next six months will do little to calm their nerves. But they’re also angry at the possibility of being forced back into the office.
Twitter allows its employees to work from home if they so choose, and the workaholic Musk has been scathing about what we now call WFH. We can sympathize with people who fear losing their jobs, but public support will dwindle if it turns out that the main objection comes from people who just want to stay home in their pyjamas.
But the more general objections from those who are users rather than employees were, frankly, utterly hilarious.
The reason for their volcanic meltdown and angry stomp? Musk has declared he is a “free speech absolutist,” and in these strange times, that most precious commodity in any free society is little more seen as an excuse for hate speech and fascism.
In fairness he has asked his many critics to stay on the side because he likes debate and doesn’t want to ban anyone. Twitter’s current blocking policy tends to only extend to conservative voices – some of whom are undoubtedly insane, while most are simply . . . conservative.
Actress and series attention seeker Jameela Jamil, a woman who’s never seen a train she didn’t want to get on, was quick to say she would never tweet again — the fact that she said it on Twitter is another reminder remember that irony is not their forte period.
Activist Shaun King said Musk’s purchase was “all about white power,” although, as is usual in these cases, he offered no evidence.
You might have expected Kathy Griffin to be more receptive. Eventually, as she posed with a severed head of Donald Trump and watched her career aflame, she claimed she was simply exercising her right to free speech. But she obviously doesn’t want others to have the same rights, because Musk is, as she claims, “a media-hungry, vengeful white supremacist.”
The list of celebrities and ordinary people lining up to signal their virtue and shape freedom of expression as the first step toward Nazism is staggering and historically illiterate.
Finally, the modern free speech movement was a left-wing American campus campaign in the 1960s aimed at preventing governments and institutions from banning dissenting voices. Now we see that the poachers have become the game wardens.
The best way to challenge bad ideas is to beat them with better ones, so anyone – even the weirdos – should be allowed onto the platform as long as they don’t incite violence or dox their opponents.
One last question for the screaming mob – they used to scoff at anyone who complained about the lockdown, claiming that Twitter was a private company that could do whatever it wanted.
Well the new owner is now doing just that and they are having a meltdown. It’s a pleasure to watch.
He could make the side better or worse if that’s possible. But one thing is for sure – he will certainly make it more interesting.
Meanwhile, on the same day that Musk completed his takeover, Russia’s foreign minister said they now see themselves at war with NATO, warning that nuclear conflict is closer now than even during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Apparently, the mob doesn’t care as much as a rich man taking over a social media site. funny that.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/why-the-tweet-sound-of-crying-over-musks-twitter-buyout-should-be-music-to-our-ears-41590993.html Why the tweet tone of crying over Musk’s Twitter takeover should be music to our ears