An Elon Musk-owned Twitter is a scary prospect for the establishment — RT EN

24 Apr 2022 5:26 pm

A commentary by Ian Miles Cheong

While much of the tech industry is content to settle for the continuity the establishment offers after making its billions, Musk – currently the world’s richest man – is a one-man earthquake, and Twitter is for ground zero for its recent quake.

Musk’s philosophy of going beyond the norm and doing things his own way is a positive net for humanity, as evidenced by his involvement in electric vehicle development, renewable energy and space travel – and his attempt to protecting freedom of speech from being destroyed by acquiring Twitter is not aside.

“Given that Twitter serves as a de facto public forum, failure to uphold the principles of free speech fundamentally undermines democracy,” Musk said weeks before buying Twitter stock. And recently, Musk announced his intention to acquire the company entirely.

“I invested in Twitter because I believe in its potential to be a platform for free speech for the whole world, and I believe that free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy,” Musk wrote in a letter to the board of directors of the company. “However, since making my investment, it has become clear to me that the company will not thrive in its current form, nor will it serve this societal imperative. Twitter needs to be transformed into a private company.”

Musk’s advocacy of free speech even extends to his own internet platform, Starlink. After securing internet access for war-torn Ukraine, Musk refused knownto censor Russian news sources on his satellite, although “some governments have urged him to do so”.

Like it or not, Twitter has become the only viable place for political, social, and cultural discourse—a platform where anyone with some degree of influence can have a say, either directly or through a proxy. Against this backdrop, progressives and US Democrats alike rushed the company to use its algorithms as weapons to further their own narratives while silencing conservative voices and other dissidents.

For the past few weeks, Amazon, Google and Meta-owned social media platforms such as Twitch, YouTube and Facebook have made it all but impossible to present differing viewpoints on the conflict in Ukraine, and criticism and even factual rebuttals of blatant propaganda have been branded as ” Russian disinformation”. And in many cases, users have been banned simply for the crime of being born in the wrong country.

Instead of allowing debate, users were banned from these platforms for “promoting hate speech”. In fact, if one cannot shut up on this issue, one is undesirable to be present on these platforms, which at the same time whitewash the atrocities in Donbass and on the glorification by war criminals like the Azov battalion.

To its credit, Twitter’s approach has been a little less harsh on free speech than its rivals, although Twitter saw fit to add content warnings to tweets from Russian media. Bans on Russian accounts, like that of the popular podcast “Russians With Attitude“, were largely triggered — and in some cases reversed — by mass user complaints, rather than direct action by Twitter itself.

But make no mistake, Twitter is not a role model for free speech. While the platform is less strict on censoring issues surrounding Ukraine, it continues to crack down on women’s rights activists who speak out against transgender ideology. Even satire, like jokes about transgender US Admiral Rachel Levine, is an offensewhich leads to banishment.

Musk’s attempt to take over Twitter can’t come at a more crucial time. With free speech under constant attack and the US midterm elections just months away, whoever controls Twitter could very well determine the outcome of the US sociopolitical landscape for years to come.

The Tesla founder’s latest move has sent the establishment into turmoil. Axios, a publication that bills itself as a clinical and analytical source, broke its own Rulesby providing Musk with a Marvel Super Villains compared, who “seems to have unlimited resources to finance his mischief”.

Establishment academic Robert Reich informed readers of the Guardiansthat Elon Musk’s vision of the internet is “dangerous nonsense” and warned that Musk’s desire for a freer internet would absolve him and other users of responsibility for the things they say. He even went so far as to compare Musk to both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

“In reality, such a world would be dominated by the world’s richest and most powerful people, who are accountable to no one, whether it be fact, truth, science or the common good,” Reich wrote. “It’s Musk’s dream. And Trump’s and Vladimir Putin’s. It’s the dream of every dictator, strongman, demagogue and modern-day robber baron on this planet. For the rest of us, it would be a brave new nightmare.”

Washington Post writer Max Boot seconded Reich and expressed concern that Elon Musk’s control of Twitter would have negative social and political implications. He openly expressed concern that the platform could lose its ability to influence public opinion.

“He seems to think that anything goes on social media,” Boot wrote, “but for democracy to survive we need more content moderation, not less.”

Unable to support its own flimsy, origami-like arguments, the establishment seeks to silence any dissent by restricting the freedom to express, debate, and share views outside the norm. The talkers who promote authoritarianism in the name of “democracy” would rather censor any opposition than understand and accept the failure of their own policies.

For all their concerns that an “oligarch” like Musk might be running the show on Twitter in the future, the same people who are raising their voices in fear of a future of free speech are content that billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Laurene Powell Jobs and Rupert Murdoch are media executives, knowing that these people will always stick with the establishment.

Translated from the English.

Ian Miles Cheong is a political and cultural commentator. His work has been published in The Rebel, Penthouse, Human Events and The Post Millennial. You can follow Ian on Twitter at @stillgray and on Telegram @CultureWarRoom follow.

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