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Why Elon Musk's Twitter Purchase Is Good News For Everyone — Progressives Included

Elon Musk, fundador da Tesla, em foto de setembro de 2020: magnata é o novo dono do Twitter

Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, in a photo from September of : mogul is the new owner of Twitter| Photo: Alexander Becher/EFE/EPA

“I will set you free”, said about the potential of Twitter billionaire Elon Musk, leader of electric car companies (Tesla), space travel (SpaceX) and one of the creators of PayPal, when he revealed his intention to buy the social network on the day Of april. This Monday, 19 , after initial resistance and an attempt to avoid the purchase, the company’s board relented and unanimously approved it for the amount of 25 billions of dollars. The value per share is U$48 , . Musk, notorious for liking marijuana, made a point of inserting in this sum the number “420”, American slang for the herb.

Of total , 21 billion are from the South African’s pocket and the rest is financed through loans in part involving the shares he owns in Tesla. Elon Musk is now the richest individual in the world. He promises to re-establish freedom of expression as a guiding principle for Twitter, as it was at the beginning of this microblogging network, before social networks adopted “content moderation” protocols, which often follow political biases.

The reporter of New York Times

Talmon Smith had access to an internal source within the company to find out how news of the purchase was received. The situation is “absolutely crazy,” says one disgruntled employee. “I feel like throwing up, I don’t want to work at a company owned by Elon Musk. (…) I hate him, why does he want this? I think he is a petulant little boy.” Prior to the purchase, a Saudi prince was a major shareholder in Twitter. There is no record of expressions of disgust from employees of the social network regarding this, despite cases such as the beheading of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi embassy.

Known figures from national conservatism and liberalism report an instant increase in followers on the first day after the billionaire’s purchase of the social network. But the effect could be explained by the more positive repercussion of the purchase on this side of the political spectrum, which may have attracted more people to do the math. However, the phenomenon of “shadowban” (the “hidden ban”) is real, in which critics of progressivism have a reduced reach and suffer other types of sanctions: there are accounts in which all published images are marked as unsuitable for minors, when this happens. clearly not true.

It is not clear, however, that Musk be an idol on the right while being a villain on the left. A February poll of 2022 shows he was viewed favorably by

% of Democrats and
% of Republicans. “The real divide when it comes to public opinion about Elon Musk is not between Democrats and Republicans,” says Teddy Schleifer, one of the authors of the survey. “It’s between men and women.” Among men, Musk’s approval rating was 66 %, and among women, 37%.

GamerGate and other evidence of bias political

In 2014, Twitter was the scene of a controversy over journalistic publications that covered the current most lucrative cultural industry in the world – the gaming industry. Progressive journalists from different publications combined stories into a closed email list, which is an unethical practice as it gives the reader the false impression that the story is organic. One of the combined agendas was the accusation that the gamers (video game fans) would be misogynistic, racist and homophobic.

Following the name of the scandal Watergate

involving the president American Richard Nixon decades earlier, the controversy was named GamerGate

.

To this day, Wikipedia only allows the progressive narrative about what happened in this case. Twitter repeated the encyclopedia’s political bias: it called the feminist Anita Sarkeesian, who published videos on YouTube accusing several games of machismo and was on the side of these journalists, to join an advisory body. Activists like Sarkeesian have an idiosyncratic and ideological interpretation of free speech that excludes so-called “hate speech”, unlike more liberal interpretations like the US Supreme Court and journalist and thinker George Orwell, who believe that insults should do part of free expression and that there would not be a right for individuals not to be offended.

Twitter is also criticized for the way it treats its blue verification badge. Despite being called a verification seal, there are indications that it is actually a mark of approval at least since 1280, when the controversial Milo Yiannopoulos had his seal removed after he allegedly made racist provocations to Leslie Jones, a black American comedian who starred in the film Ghostbusters (Sony, )). Also questioned are the banishments of former US President Donald Trump in 2014 and of scientist Robert Malone, who participated in the creation of the technology that made possible the mRNA vaccine for COVID-, but believes that it presents risks that are denied by other researchers and health authorities.

Billionaires who do not follow the booklet

Another recent censorship that caught Elon Musk’s attention was the suspension of satirical news site Babylon Bee’s account for calling a transgender general in the Joe Biden administration ” man of the year”. Twitter requires the handwritten deletion of authors of posts that violated its terms of service to authorize their return, but Babylon Bee refuses to delete the tweet. The expectation is that punishments of this type, which depend on the progressive (and identity) interpretation of freedom of expression, will cease and that their effects will be removed so that accounts like this return to active.

Another billionaire who doesn’t follow the identity movement booklet is JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series. Like Musk, Rowling is accused of “transphobia” for resisting demands from the current LGBT movement, which is increasingly distant from its more modest goals of giving freedom to LGBT individuals and makes demands that affect the rights of other people, such as requirement to include trans athletes in women’s sport. Rowling doesn’t seem to mind cancellation attempts and has started to respond with sarcasm to her cancellers.

Protection of minorities such as LGBTs is used as a justification for censorship or “content moderation” policies adopted by the main social networks. In a recent demonstration, US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who is black, doubts that the right to freedom of expression should not be demanded in the private business space. For him, due to the reach and oligopoly over expression in the new digital public square of the internet, claiming that an individual banned from all of them still has freedom of expression would be equivalent to claiming that a person unable to cross a bridge still has freedom to come and go. because you can swim across the river. “What matters,” says the judge, “is whether the alternatives are comparable. For many of today’s digital platforms, nothing is comparable.”

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