Musk, Twitter, and the Restraint of Free Speech
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Musk, Twitter, and the Restraint of Free Speech

Story Highlights

Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover is complete, but the wild chase to define and control the misuse of free speech vis-à-vis monetizing the platform seems to be a daunting task for the billionaire. Nonetheless, celebs have complete faith in Musk’s ability and vow that nobody else could transform Twitter for the better.

Billionaire Elon Musk has taken over Twitter, and as expected, it is being followed and commented on by big players from various industries. At the forefront is Musk’s immediate elimination of top executives “for cause” and the job cuts that are yet to happen.

As reported by some news outlets and denied by Musk, Twitter employees fear that they might be let go before November 1, the vesting date of Twitter’s employee grant payments. Musk is also alleged to have not paid the top executives the expected $100 million in severance packages.

On the other hand, Musk was welcomed by an autogenerated email from Twitter allowing him 30 days to finish a mandatory course on how to be a good manager at Twitter!

Twitterati Thrilled with Twitter Takeover

Notably, Michael Burry of Scion Asset Management and famed “Big Short” investor, has a profound belief in Musk’s Twitter turnaround strategy. He literally tweeted asking if others could do the same for big tech firms like Meta (NASDAQ:META) and Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG). “Do we have another couple Elon Musk’s who can do to Meta and Google what Elon Musk is about to do to Twitter?”

Also, Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives believes that buying Twitter was the simpler part for Musk, while the challenging part will be fixing and monetizing it. “It’s going to be one of the most overpaid, expensive M&A transactions in tech,” he quoted.

Meanwhile, Sriram Krishnan, a venture capitalist from Andreessen Horowitz, tweeted that he and a few other “great people” were temporarily helping Musk with Twitter. “I (and a16z) believe this is a hugely important company and can have great impact on the world and Elon is the person to make it happen,” he added.

Twitter’s Content Moderation Efforts in Focus

Interestingly, while some believe that Musk will be able to reign in content moderation with the right approach, others believe Musk’s takeover will spark unregulated abuse of “free speech” on the platform.

The billionaire has exacted flak for not removing Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of safety and integrity. In his defense, Musk stated that he sees a lot of integrity in Roth and hence supports him.  

Furthermore, Musk tweeted that a content moderation team is being set up with “widely diverse viewpoints.” Until then, “No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen.”

Lebron James, The National Basketball Association star, has tweeted his concern about the nearly 500% surge in the use of the N-word as quoted by The Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI). James stated, “I don’t know Elon Musk and, tbh, I could care less who owns Twitter. But I will say that if this is true, I hope he and his people take this very seriously because this is scary AF. So many damn unfit people saying hate speech is free speech.”

Commenting on the situation, Roth stated that most of these accounts are inauthentic. “More than 50,000 Tweets repeatedly using a particular slur came from just 300 accounts,” he added.

Meanwhile, Musk has expressively stated that no changes have been made to Twitter’s content moderation features yet. He further added that they are working to remove the hateful content from the microblogging site.

To conclude, I would say that there is still a lot of uncertainty about how Musk will turn around Twitter, but given the celebrities’ faith in Musk, we can only wait and see how the story unfolds. 



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