Elon Musk Will Not Save Twitter
the bloom is already off the "free speech" rose
You know the media has done a number on your brain when you find yourself cheering the acquisition of one of the largest social media platforms on the internet by a guy who has more money than God as some sort of victory for the pro-human resistance to the rapidly-coagulating New World Order. Yet that’s just what everyone has been doing for the last week or so as Elon Musk has plucked the overripe fruit of Twitter from the bullshit tree on which it has been permitted to ripen with the careful ministrations of the US national security state.
But surely he has all the right enemies! Twitter’s snowflake employees are beside themselves with whatever passes for rage in their passive-aggressively stunted emotional spectra! He is truly Owning The Libs™! Surely a social media golden age is at hand!
No sooner had Twitter agreed to the deal than Musk’s victory manifesto - which mentions "authenticating all humans" as one of his primary goals with the social network he now owns - had already confirmed some of my worst suspicions. It may not sound immediately ominous, especially placed next to his promise to get the spam-bots off the platform, but remember that this is the guy who wants to put a neural 'lattice' in your brain (in a manner that has gruesomely killed over a dozen monkeys as recently as last year) in order to ensure humanity remains competitive with AI (which he knows is evil, yet is for some reason helping to develop, because he thinks maybe it will eat him last if he's really, really nice to it).
But Musk was still talking the talk, despite his troubling history, on Monday, the day Twitter agreed to the $44 billion deal. Musk was a “free speech absolutist,” he said. Twitter would return to its glory days as the “free speech wing of the free speech party.” One could be forgiven for getting a little excited, even in the throes of serious cognitive dissonance, given the last two years of unadulterated boot-to-face action in the name of exiling Covid-19 “misinformation” from the platform.
But then, on his first full day as Twitter’s new CEO, Musk began backpedaling furiously.
After gloating that “the extreme antibody reaction from those who fear free speech says it all” - a tweet which was immediately buried in ‘likes’ from the Tesla tycoon’s legions of adoring fans - he explained that what he meant by “free speech” was not the usual American-First-Amendment-type definition, revealing that “By ‘free speech’, [he] simply mean that which matches the law.”
“If people want less free speech, they will ask government to pass laws to that effect,” Musk continued, oligarchsplaining his latest stance. “Therefore, going beyond the law is contrary to the will of the people.” He didn’t say whose laws, correctly assuming his readers would fill in the blanks with whatever they needed to continue feeling good or bad about his acquisition of their social media platform. Indeed, the most charitable reading implies that Musk, an oligarch if ever there was one, believes in the power of the Average Person to change the world.
But Musk didn’t make hundreds of billions of dollars by being stupid or naive. He knows as well as anyone reading this that Americans - and other English-speaking Twitter users, for that matter - don’t have much of a say in the speech-limiting laws passed by their governments. Indeed, in the West’s largest “democracy,” they have no say at all, merely given the choice between Flavor “A” and Flavor “B” of a bureaucratic police-state nightmare every few years in a contest that means no more than the Super Bowl except it costs even more and features shittier commercials.
What triggered this abrupt retreat from what was already an awfully fungible beachhead? If you guessed the European Union’s increasingly absurd internet control laws - something I’ve written about extensively - you’re correct. EU commissioner for the internal market Thierry Breton issued a sharp reminder to the newly-minted owner of Twitter that, should he follow through on his stated aims of making Twitter a refuge for free speech, he would find himself on the wrong end of some very expensive fines and even a potential Europe-wide ban, courtesy of the newly-passed Digital Services Act. This sadistic piece of legislation requires social media platforms to share their proprietary algorithms with European regulators, whom they must beg for approval regarding the steps they are taking to crush “hate speech” and “disinformation” - not to mention the dreaded (and equally open-ended) “harassment” - on their networks. There’s nothing wrong with making algorithms public knowledge - indeed, this would be a major improvement on current social media regulation, in which we are kept in the dark about how precisely we are manipulated and milked of our time and money - but the Digital Services Act doesn’t extend that privilege to the average user, just creates yet another layer on the already-prodigious continental bureaucracy.
Twitter, under Musk, “will have to make sure that if it operates in Europe it will have to fulfill the obligations, including moderation, open algorithms, freedom of speech, transparency in rules, obligations to comply with our own rules for hate speech, revenge porn [and] harassment,” Breton declared with all the smugness of the unelected Eurocrat. Musk could afford the fines, of course - though at 6% of revenues, he would have to put off buying Mars for a few years - and Europe would never block access to Twitter for its citizens, not when so much time and money has been spent diligently cleansing the platform of any and all unauthorized opinions. To throw away such a lovingly crafted propaganda tool because of some offhand comments by a guy who - for all his posturing - is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the BlackRock-Vanguard dyad would be suicidal.
Unfortunately, while Musk may be aesthetically less offensive than a Zuckerberg or a Bezos (and this does count for something in our visually-oriented world), he’s no more a champion of the people than they are. Twitter is a shiny object, an impulse buy the way you or I might splurge on a pair of nice shoes we see in a shop window. He didn't get to his perch atop hundreds of billions of dollars by being nice, or fair, or sticking his neck out for the little guy. He did, however, get most of it from government subsidies, which makes the idea that he would dream of stepping over the carefully-drawn lines that restrict free speech in the western world quite absurd. Tesla in particular would not be profitable without Uncle Shlomo shelling out the big dollars to subsidize the lie that electric cars powered by ultra-flammable, extremely environmentally destructive lithium batteries are somehow climate-friendly. That same government has actually admitted they’re controlling what is seen and heard on social media, for your own good, of course. And now that Europe is mighty eager to wean itself from Russian gas, it’s no doubt willing to start shelling out even fatter subsidies for Teslas, solar panels, and anything else Musk can convince them will help get them to the mythical nirvana of Net Zero carbon emissions (or at least out of the embarrassing position of trying to look tough on Russia while begging it for energy handouts).
If you know nothing about Musk other than what he writes on his Twitter account, it's easy to see him as a resistance type, someone going against the very ugly downhill stampede of the human race. But knowing even the slightest bit about his companies, it's impossible to separate him from that stampede. His projects, while appealing on the surface, tend to collapse into transparent horrors when examined for longer than five minutes (we’ve already discussed how "sustainable" mining the lithium that goes into Tesla's ultra-flammable batteries really is, while the threat Starlink poses to the night sky is so serious astronomers have actually banded together to stop it; even SpaceX, for all the romance of colonizing Mars, is at its heart a military contractor for the bloodthirstiest military on the planet). Neuralink in particular is a total fucking nightmare of ridiculous proportions (this joke of a puff piece is the best they can do to defend it, pretending the primary goal is treating traumatic brain injuries, when in fact Musk only began taking this narrative line when people started to get creeped out by the idea of a billionaire setting them up to be kept as pets by AI supercomputers).
As I mentioned yesterday on Musk's brand new platform, "authenticating all humans" on social media is something European governments are already in the process of doing, and it’s not going to end well for those of us with unauthorized opinions. While a proposed idea to require ID documents to open a social media account (the better to keep hate-speech "convicts" off our precious platforms!) does not appear to have progressed past the planning stage in France, Emmanuel Macron - fresh off cheating his way into a second term with the help of Lie-Down Le Pen (unconvincingly playing the opposition politician in a carbon-copy rerun of 2017’s “spoilt ballots” saga) - is still determined to punish those who tell the truth about his government and his powerful pals. Musk is totally onboard with the European program - he's already popped a few Starlinks into orbit for the Ukronazis, so von der Leyen's bunch are positively civil company by comparison. European law is where free speech goes to die - recall these are the countries that think banning the letters Z and V is an appropriate response to a proxy war they (or rather their puppeteers at NATO) started. That Musk should be so quick to dance to Breton’s tune on his first day as CEO is not encouraging in the least.
Rejoice for the future of Twitter and its self-appointed billionaire savior if you wish - just understand the platform has merely passed from one set of BlackRock/Vanguard-controlled hands into another. Don't be surprised if the platform’s future looks a whole lot like the present - or worse.
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"oligarchsplaining" - LOLOL Right on target once more. Thanks, Helen!