Elon Musk Takes Twitter
Everyone loses their minds
Seizing the memes of production. Monday, an open letter signed by an unknown number of Twitter employees “leaked” to TIME. With Elon’s Friday legal deadline for the Twitter deal fast approaching, his maybe-future employees had a list of demands: 1) you shall respect us, 2) you shall fire no one, and 3) you shall let us work from home. Cartoonishly divorced from reality in the familiar, entertaining, almost comforting manner America has come to expect from the most privileged employees in human history, the letter was also an interesting tell. Why were these employees nervous? The months-long clusterfuck Twitter deal couldn’t possibly be happening. Could it?
The rumors started swirling Tuesday night, and on Wednesday a freshly-swole Elon entered Twitter HQ carrying, for some reason, a giant sink. Thursday morning, he shared his thoughts on Twitter’s importance, along with his desires for the platform, in a statement addressed to the company’s advertisers. And by Thursday evening, Vijaya Gadde — the legal head and chief censor credited with the deplatforming of President Trump — was fired. It was further reported CEO Parag Agrawal had left the building, and would not be returning. It was finally settled. Elon Musk, the billionaire shitposting god of tech, had taken Twitter private.
The reaction has been colorful.
Leading up to the final hour, the Information declared Elon’s management style a “threat to global democracy,” and the sentiment was echoed throughout the pro-censorship press. Elsewhere, we were told Twitter would now become a breeding ground for fascism (the New Republic), and Elon, a “geopolitical chaos agent” (the New York Times) was a threat to national security (the Washington Post).
Media histrionics center almost entirely on the concept of “free speech,” the sacred American value Elon likes, and large swaths of the American political left now equate with Adolf Hitler. Arguments against “free speech absolutism,” our new term for what is literally just free speech, couch themselves inside a feigned concern over “misinformation,” a term defined by censors to exclude all opinions and questions unpopular with the authoritarian left, and “hate speech,” a term with no coherent definition at all. But the thing the pro-censorship press is really mad about — the only thing this has ever been about — is Elon’s promise to end political censorship, with especially his promise to release the company’s political prisoners from digital jail.
And there, in the black bowels of internet purgatory, there is no figure more terrifying to the panicked imaginings of Brooklyn-based vegans than Donald Trump.
The belief, I think, is really this: Americans, if left to freely read the former president’s tweets, will like them, vote the man back into office because of them, and usher in a period of actual national fascism. Given stakes this high, the concentrated information war of the last several months should come as no surprise. But it has been an information war, and in an information war you can’t trust anything beyond desired outcomes. In this case, the pro-censorship press doesn’t want Elon to liberate the platform. Therefore, almost everything these people have predicted about Twitter has been apocalyptic — for the company, for the country, for the world. It is all, of course, complete bullshit.
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