In less than a week into Elon Musk’s ownership of Twitter, he’s (maybe) hinted at allowing Trump back to the platform, pushed his own Tesla products, and tweeted out an anti-LGBTQIA+ conspiracy theory.
This past Friday, Nancy Pelosi’s husband of over sixty years, Paul Pelosi, was brutally attacked inside their San Francisco home. The alleged assailant, David DePape, was reportedly inside the Speaker of the House’s domicile for thirty-some minutes, asking where she was; during that time, DePape allegedly struck Paul Pelosi with a hammer, causing blunt trauma to his head and fracturing his skull.
Thankfully, Paul Pelosi was able to convince DePape he needed to use the restroom… where Pelosi called for help in a calm, collective manner. The veteran 911 dispatcher who answered Pelosi’s call for help was lauded for their quick thinking and level-headedness.
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me if Trump is coming back on this platform, Twitter would be minting money!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 31, 2022
But, of course, Elon Musk being Elon Musk used the social media company he recently acquired to spin an anti-LGBTQIA+ conspiracy published by the Santa Monica Observer — a fringe website infamous for publishing right-wing counterplots.
“There is a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye,” tweeted Musk in response to a tweet by Hillary Clinton about the attack, posting an attached link to a fictitious, anti-LGBTQ article published in the Santa Monica Observer.
Before Musk’s tweet was deleted, it was retweeted more than 18,000 times and liked more than 85,000 times; the article suggested that Paul Pelosi had been attacked by a male sex worker whom he had willingly let into the house; this was a complete and absolute falsehood.
The since-deleted post came after posts from the “Twitter Complaint Hotline Operator,” which reads as a jab to the company’s moderation and community guidelines Musk seems eager to drastically change, he’s promoted a litany of Tesla products. He, too, used his soaring platform of 113 million followers — three million more than what he had this time last week — to highlight the fact that multiple people pretended to dress up as terminated Twitter employees outside the company’s SF headquarters.
Musk professed his love for bread. He’s mentioned the “bird has been freed.” The multi-hyphenate billionaire seemingly suggested the idea of purging all inactive accounts on the website.
Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bullshit.
Power to the people! Blue for $8/month.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 1, 2022
The biggest user-related announcement to date on Musk’s Twitterverse occurred on Tuesday, November 1st after he proclaimed that the present “lords & peasants system” that relies on internal review for verified accounts is “bullshit.” It now appears the profile feature will be available to anyone willing to pay $8 a month — under the guise that no such verification process will be mandated.
My rule #1 on the internet that’s never been successfully broken is to charge for something that was previously free https://t.co/9uUBE7Bu6p
— Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD) November 1, 2022
Marques Brownless, the OG tech product reviewer on YouTube, quote tweeted Musk’s announcement on blue checkmarks, saying that his “rule #1 on the internet that’s never been successfully broken is to charge for something that was previously free.” (We tend to strongly agree; monetizing a previously cost-free feature not only devalues it but erodes trust in a company’s integrity, especially how it relates to user empowerment.)
Elon Musk responded in a backhanded way to denounce this prediction.
Oh, and he also went to Hedi Klum’s 21st Halloween Party dressed like a dark overlord of a revived planet ruled by an ultra-wealthy autocrat. An eerie foreshadowing of what’s to come to the Twittersever? Maybe, perhaps. It seems like it.
The notion of one individual having so much unbridled power on a social media company with 436 million MAUs (Monthly Active Users) is frightening. While Mark Zuckerberg’s roster of Meta products reaches far more MAUs, Musk’s relationship with Twitter is much different than the other contentious billionaire’s association with, say, Facebook.
Musk has waived his ownership of his personal Twitter account to megaphone his own companies and opinions, and as a direct tool to build his brand as an individualist. Let’s not get it wrong here: Zuckerberg is also destroying the world and democracy as we know it. He’s just doing it under the umbrella of an enterprise. Musk is far less obscure in his division between himself and his ventures — because there is none.
It feels like we’re all now living inside the closed petri dish of a social experiment. No other time in our history has someone with such influence purchased a utility of communication that reaches so many people. And while he’s adamantly said his purchase of Twitter was spurred by his want to “help humanity,” it’s clear his larger-than-life, dangerously inflated ego also played a part.
Welcome to Elon Musk’s Multiverse of egomaniacal madness, y’all. We’re not all too excited about it (as are advertisers, as well).