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Twitter CEO Elon Musk, who got rid of so many of the Twitter workforce, fired its biggest name – himself. Musk tweeted Tuesday that he will be stepping down. “I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job! After that, I will just run the software & servers teams,” he posted on the social media site.
Musk’s departure still reflects one of the most incredible periods in Twitter’s history. His repeated releases of information about government influence and censorship have revealed a coordinated Deep State effort to manipulate the news on Twitter and even pay millions of dollars for the privilege.
His announcement comes after a battle with the press escalated with politician and media attacks on both sides of the Atlantic. Afterward, he posted a poll Sunday night asking, “Should I step down as head of Twitter? I will abide by the results of this poll.”
He lost by 15% – 57.5% to 42.5% with a final tally of more than 17 million votes cast (and 550,000 likes) when the poll ended early Monday morning. Posting, “Those who want power are the ones who least deserve it” soon after he launched the poll. Now, he is poised to keep his word.
Musk’s imminent departure either reflects Musk bowing to investor pressure or that he used the conflict with leftist journalists as a smokescreen to exit a situation that was a massive headache.
Perhaps a bit of both.
Just because Musk might leave doesn’t mean the new CEO will hold any different views on content moderation. Especially after eight official rounds of Twitter Files releases (and a Sunday “Supplemental”) revealed massive government interference in free speech and Twitter’s willing cooperation. Sacrificing himself might also encourage those on the left who want back in control.
The account Wall Street Silver raised the possibility that bots, or automated accounts, ganged up on Musk in a coordinated attack to force him out – what is known as brigading. The account posted images of two polls Musk ran – the one about reinstating Trump and the one to vote him out as CEO. Wall Street Silver wrote, “Very interesting when you compared the number of votes versus the number of likes on the tweets.” The number of likes for the Trump poll was 836,000 with 15 million votes. The Musk poll had just 312,000 likes with, at the time, nearly the same number of votes.
The account asked, “Did bots brigade the Elon poll yesterday.” To which Musk replied, “Interesting.” He told another poster that, in the future, only blue check or paying accounts will be able to vote.
He also posted two laughing emojis in response to a Babylon Bee satirical poll piece that asked, “Bruce Wayne Polls Arkham Inmates Asking If He Should Step Down As Batman.” Arkham was where many of the villains Batman captured were sent. Twitter’s censorship of the Babylon Bee may well have precipitated Musk’s involvement in Twitter in the first place.
Musk also commented on the disturbing revelations in the 7th edition of the Twitter Files. Michael Shellenberger posted how “The FBI’s influence campaign may have been helped by the fact that it was paying Twitter millions of dollars for its staff time. ‘I am happy to report we have collected $3,415,323 since October 2019!’ reports an associate of Jim Baker in early 2021.” Musk called that, “Extremely problematic.”
Musk’s apparent departure happened after a battle with the press escalated with politician and media attacks on both sides of the Atlantic. Afterwards, he posted a poll Sunday night asking, “Should I step down as head of Twitter? I will abide by the results of this poll.”
He lost by 15 percentage points – 57.5 percent to 42.5 percent with a final tally of more than 17 million votes cast (and 550,000 likes) when the poll ended early Monday morning. Posting, “Those who want power are the ones who least deserve it” soon after he launched the poll.
If Musk doesn’t change his mind or void the vote based on bots, then he will be exiting the popular social media site at some point. The move either reflects Musk bowing to investor pressure or that he used the conflict with leftist journalists as a smokescreen to exit a situation that was a massive headache.
Perhaps a bit of both.
Just because Musk might leave doesn’t mean the new CEO will hold any different views on content moderation. Especially after seven official rounds of Twitter Files releases (and a Sunday “Supplemental”) revealed massive government interference in free speech and Twitter’s willing cooperation. Sacrificing himself might also encourage those on the left who want back in control.
Musk’s battle with journalists over free speech reflected a complete turnaround in his relationship with the press. Musk, also Tesla’s CEO, went from magazine cover star to Press Enemy No. 1 in a short space of time. Almost a year ago to the day, Musk was named Time “Person of the Year.”
He tweeted openly about “free speech” on Twitter by April, offending journalists. Only two weeks later he announced a hostile takeover of the social media site and the press turned on Musk with a vengeance.
MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch compared Musk to “Dr. Evil” of Bond fame. “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough said the purchase “seems to be like a vanity play.” New York Times editorial board member Greg Bensinger warned, “Twitter Under Elon Musk Will Be a Scary Place.”
CNN media analyst David Zurawik summed up the take from the left about Musk and Facebook/Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “You cannot let these guys control discourse in this country or we are headed to hell.” Totally rational.
That was the beginning of a war between Musk and the liberal press and, especially, the far left that dominates tech media. It escalated significantly last week when Musk suspended a few journalists for doxxing, or revealing private information.
The confrontation followed an incident involving one of his children. Musk wrote how his son, “was followed by crazy stalker (thinking it was me), who later blocked car from moving & climbed onto hood.”
Musk suspended at least nine journalists who he said put himself or his family at risk, tweeting, “Criticizing me all day long is totally fine, but doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family is not.” He continued, “They posted my exact real-time location, basically assassination coordinates, in (obvious) direct violation of Twitter terms of service.”
Mediaite used the word “massacre” in its headline, “Twitter Suspends Several Reporters Who Cover Elon Musk in Thursday Night Massacre.” Wikipedia repeated the massacre and then reconsidered how silly it was, changing the page from “Thursday Night Massacre (Twitter)” to “December 15, 2022 Twitter suspensions.”
That page is “being considered for deletion,” probably for violating the unofficial “Don’t Embarrass Wiki Policy.” Perhaps this is due to Wikipedia operating an entire page of a “List of events named massacres.” They feature incidents where dozens of people or even hundreds of thousands were killed – everything from the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre to the Rape of Nanking.
Media outlets suddenly cared about free speech after years of supporting censorship of conservatives and even the sitting president of the United States. Several organizations reported the suspensions like they were big news – The Washington Post, New York Times, NPR and more.
Axios tweeted, “Twitter’s suspension of several journalists last night was unprecedented.” To quote Inigo Montoya from “The Princess Bride,” “I do not think it means what you think it means,” given how Twitter silenced the New York Post over its Hunter Biden stories and then censored everyone who tried to post them.
The “massacre” further encouraged journalists to jump ship to other platforms. Their current favorite is Mastodon, but while it will enable them to work in concert, it lacks Twitter’s mass market influence. Still, as Newton would say, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So Musk banned links to promote other platforms.
That’s where things stand for now, wth the two sides entrenched like combatants at war.
Will free speech survive this battle? Stay tuned for the next tweet.