Twitter

Elon Musk's Takeover Will Not Destroy Twitter or Democracy

"I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means," said Musk.

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Twitter has a new sheriff in town, and his name is Elon Musk. The world's wealthiest man offered to buy the social media site for $44 billion, and the company's board accepted the offer yesterday.

Musk has many reasons for buying the company, but his main drive appears to be to preserve—or even strengthen—the site's commitment to the principles of free speech.

"Twitter is the digital town square, where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated," tweeted Musk.

Admittedly, the town square analogy is imperfect, as my colleague Liz Wolfe highlighted in her excellent post on the subject. For one thing, Twitter is a private company, rather than a genuinely public space, which means that it is not bound by the First Amendment. Unlike the actual town square, Twitter retains the right to punish users for perfectly legal speech. It's also the case that while Twitter is incredibly important for the political class, journalists, business leaders, and other social influencers, it's not nearly as big or as frequently visited as Facebook, YouTube, or TikTok. As Techdirt's Mike Masnick put it, the entire internet is really the town square; Twitter is one small space that's part of it.

Twitter's social importance is inflated by media and political figures because the site is their preferred virtual meeting ground. This is true of Musk himself; he clearly enjoys the platform, and uses it to great effect, and thus may be overstating its importance to society. But there are many others ways to communicate political messages, and if Twitter ceased to exist tomorrow, it's doubtful that anyone's ability to speak would be irreparably harmed.

Admittedly, the people really overstating Twitter's importance are actually Musk's critics in progressive and mainstream media. And boy are they overstating it: Current Affairs Editor in Chief Nathan Robinson fretted that "the only comforting reason to think [former President] Donald Trump might not win in 2024 is that his prior success was so dependent on his Twitter account. If Musk takes over it's very likely that Trump will be back and therefore unstoppable."

 

Robinson apparently thinks that Trump's ability to win reelection hinges on whether he's on Twitter. Not the shape of the U.S. economy, the direction of the pandemic, or whether President Joe Biden's ill-considered policies have created an opening for the former president…but Twitter.

Frustratingly, many liberals and progressives—especially in the media—have convinced themselves that the only way to effectively counter bad speech is to label it misinformation or harassment and prevent it from being uttered. This runs counter to Musk's stated views on the subject, which reflect classically liberal ideas about speech.

It's strange to see this idea—that silencing opponents is not only self-defeating but also wrong on principle—transformed into an explicitly right-wing talking point. This is a demoralizing result of the new political reality, in which the journalists and bureaucrats who comprise Team Blue fear and distrust speech they cannot control, while Team Red purports to love free speech even as its political figures wage war on speech they do not like. And it's one that does not work to Democrats' advantage; as Nate Silver points out, free speech in the abstract is extremely popular among the voting public.

The best way to de-politicize the social media free speech debate—and the optimal thing that Musk could do with control of Twitter—would be to devolve content curation to individual users, as I explained in The Los Angeles Times:

"Elon Musk's best bet would be to devolve content curation to individual users. Many on the right are frustrated with Twitter's inconsistently applied rules, regardless of whether they are enforced by algorithms or by human employees of the company; many progressives, on the other hand, are afraid that lax moderation means more misinformation or harassment. The least polarizing way forward is to give users more means of controlling their own feeds. If you have a low tolerance for unpleasantness, you should be able to turn on a setting that shields you from the worst of what can appear on the platform. If you prefer the Wild West, there should be a setting for you, too."

In any case, I hope that fixing Twitter doesn't distract Musk from his far more important goal of colonizing Mars (something NPR criticized as imperialist, because of course they did). We're already a multi-platform species, but not yet a multi-planet species.

NEXT: No, Elon Musk Didn’t Pay a 3.27 Percent Tax Rate

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  1. I thought only 20% or so of Americans used the Twit app - - - - -

    1. And maybe only 20% of the ones who use it, use it for politics.

      1. No, only 20% of the users are people, not bots. 92.124% (SWAG) use it for politics.

  2. "If Musk takes over it's very likely that Trump will be back and therefore unstoppable."

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

    Reason's leading economics expert says we're in the best economy ever. A strong economy benefits the incumbent. Biden is a lock for reelection.

    #LibertariansForBiden

    1. Again, only the most poorly informed voters are unaware of the cozy relationship between the Democratic Party and the billionaire class. When you see progressives claim they're scared of Musk, it's just an act.

      #BezosOwnsWaPoAndWeKnowHowThatTurnedOut

    2. The rig count / spittin tobaccy index says it’s true!

      1. Don't forget the Warren Buffett Net Worth Index, which Mr. Buttplug found more reliable from 2009 to 2016 when building his case Obama's economy was the best ever.

        The WBNWI is plus $13.5 billion for 2022.

        #BillionairesForBiden

        1. You need to update your hashtag:

          #TrillionairesForBidenflation

          1. I look forward to the introduction of Quatro Comas tequila.

  3. I hope he doxxes every employee that tweeted about quitting if he bought the company, and then fires them for spreading disinformation if they don't actually quit..

    1. Speaking of idle curiosity, exactly what is the difference between mis-information and dis-information?
      They both are made up words meaning "true facts I don't like".

      1. I assume misinformation is when someone is wrong but doesn't know better, and disinformation is when someone spreads lies on purpose.

        Of course, that's from the perspective of the "fact checkers", whose batting average is far below 1.000.

      2. When used in the particular both disinformation and misinformation are appropriate terms to describe what you refute in detail. Absent such detailed refutation the terms are merely unsupported supposition.

        When used in a general sense both terms are merely euphemisms for the desire to deny others the ability to speak or to hear alternate information.

    2. You have a tenuous grip on reality.

  4. "It's strange to see this idea—that silencing opponents is not only self-defeating but also wrong on principle—transformed into an explicitly right-wing talking point. This is a demoralizing result of the new political reality, in which the journalists and bureaucrats who comprise Team Blue fear and distrust speech they cannot control, while Team Red purports to love free speech even as its political figures wage war on speech they do not like."

    Yes this is why I see DeSantis's retaliation against Disney as an own goal. He has been standing up for the rights of Floridians (on Covid) and Parents (on Schooling). He got over his ski tips when he threatened government retaliation over their political hissy fit. Whether or not Disney's "special relationship" is good or bad (I find it neutral-good) or whether their specific protest is good or bad (I find it chaotic-evil), the Right has been fighting our asses off to preserve Freedom of Speech specifically and Freedom of Expression in the abstract. DeSantis needs to keep within those guardrails.

    1. This is the last time I will point out that the law that was passed affected 6 special districts, not just Reedy Creek Improvement District.
      The text of the law, and the related staff analysis are out there if anyone actually cares.

      1. But we all know this law doesn't exist without Disney, even if it technically affects other areas.

        1. The bigger problem is that it mostly a flag waiving gesture, or, at best, a shot across the bow.

          From what I understand, the legislature doesn’t actually have the power to do what they voted for in the bill. From what I’ve read, the majority of landowners in the district would have to agree, and the ONLY landowner is Disney. Also, it will shift a tax burden that is being completely paid by Disney, and moving it to Floridians.

          All roads, transportation, emergency services, water, etc are paid for by the RCID, which is funded wholly by Disney. If this goes through for some reason, it’s bad for taxpaying Floridians who will now have to foot those bills.

          Although how Disney wants to think about the world is at odds with libertarianism in general, the RCID as an entity in itself is about as libertarian as it gets. Full local control, without state interference, with all services paid for by those who use them. That is libertarianism in action, even if the company that runs it is douchebaggy and not libertarian in other ways at all.

          How many of us would move to a town that wasn’t at all controlled by the state, and everyone paid their own way? That’s what we advocate for in broader terms.

          Destroying that is not libertarian.

      2. "This is the last time I will point out that the law that was passed affected 6 special districts, not just Reedy Creek Improvement District."

        This is the last time it needs to be pointed out that your point is merely the legal loophole they used to pass this law. If they singled out Disney, they would have no justification other than "retaliation for political speech" when Disney took them to court. By setting a date like "post ratification of the constitution" or whatever, they have a thin veneer of other reasons.

        The implication is that when the other 5 districts go to get renewed status, they will be fine, whereas Disney will have a hard time. And even if they were ultimately going to get the approval again, they are on notice that if they make life difficult for politicians, the politicians will make life difficult for Disney with red tape.

        1. So youre going with animus as you protect a special corporate privilege?

          1. No I am going with "DeSantis has the power to make many or specific businesses suffer, and he is being an asshole".

            You can do it too, Jesse. You don't have to follow every red move like a dog on a leash.

    2. Yeah, as amusing as it is to watch, a principled commitment to free speech would be a much better look for DeSantis.

      1. Why should Disney enjoy special status? Either grant the same thing to the other theme parks, or leave it where it is now. Plus, I’ve been reading that Disney has gotten all kinds of of carve outs from Florida, so fuck them.

        1. He could have just said that they're ending special privileges like that for all corporations (which I believe is what happened) instead of making it about what dumb things the Disney CEO said.
          Maybe it is a good strategy for him, I don't know. DeSantis's covid policies are enough for me to like him quite a bit. But he could tone it down a little. Just my 2 cents.

          1. "He could have just said that they're ending special privileges like that for all corporations (which I believe is what happened)"

            This is not what happened. They abolished all special districts formed prior to 1968's ratification of the FL Constitution. Of the 100+ special districts, 6 fall within this purview. They then promised to legislate new special districts for "any additional" districts at a later date.

            The clear message is "Get the fuck in line, or we don't renew your district."

        2. "Why should Disney enjoy special status? Either grant the same thing to the other theme parks, or leave it where it is now."

          There are over 100 of these special arrangements, and Disney represents only one. And it isn't a special carveout. It is an agreement that Disney will shoulder the costs of certain infrastructure services (fire, water, roads, police) in return for not being taxed by the state for those same services. Townships and private concerns around the country enter into similar arrangements with governments.

          But even if this were a "Special Arrangement", it should be canceled in general, not when someone says something politically tendencious. This is a horrible precedent to set. People should pay their taxes accurately and on time- does that mean it's good for the IRS to open an audit on you if you embarrass a public official? Should your business have its contract with the government canceled because you donated to the wrong person?

          I have no love of Disney. But I do have love of Principles. And I also see DeSantis as a good potential leader. He can do better here than try to play strongman bully.

      2. What free speech issue?

        Is disney not allowed to say anything anymore?

        I'm against all favored nation clauses in government and business. Disney should never have had that privilege. Taking it away isn't an attack in my opinion.

        1. I don't think that the actual change in laws is an attack. It's more how it was presented. Maybe just my personal taste and it will be a winning strategy for him. We'll see. I'd like to see him do well in national politics. We need voices who are strongly against the public health tyrannical bullshit.

          1. And the animus or motivation excuse to attack an action is terrible. It is used by one side to win on emotion instead of on merits.

            It was used profusely against Trump as an example to stop valid means of increasing border security.

        2. "Taking it away isn't an attack in my opinion."

          It is when it is clearly implied that you are doing it as retaliation for unpopular speech from a rival. DeSantis didn't need to do this. He is better than this.

          The IRS is fully within its rights to audit your tax returns. But if you embarrass the president, and he warns that an Audit is coming your way, it is a very bad thing. (And in fact, if memory serves, Obama merely joked about this back in the day, and many rightly called him on it). The same thing for threatening contracts, or just having the FBI come have a chat. Or having cops follow you around in your car until you make a mistake and get pulled over. Government retaliation has no place in political discourse.

          Jesse, you and I know that the Government is far more involved in our lives than it ought to be. Thus there are far more opportunities for them to make our lives miserable and normalizing this type of retaliation is a step in the wrong direction, no matter how bad the speaker is.

          1. Are they saying they'd get the privilege back if they stopped wading into politics? I missed that part. They didn't condition any future benefit from falling in line nonmatter how badly you interpret their motivations.

            1. Jesse- you and DeSantis are better than this. You know for a fact that this would not have been passed if Disney hadn't made a political stink. And the whole construction of this law- "we are revoking your license, but you have one more chance to petition us for continuance"- is constructed precisely to give Disney to get on the same political page.

              It is morally wrong, and you know it. Don't let principals trump principles. This is the exact dance card that the Libertarians and Left used against Trump- "Who cares if he is following the right principles? He is icky so we need to protest him no matter what".

              If you are going to support Team Red, no matter what, just do it. Don't pretend all of a sudden you care about "Special Districts" and not all districts but these few. Just say "I fucking hate Disney and believe any remedy is acceptable to silence them".

              I want you to do this, because I believe that in the end, DeSantis actually does have the principled instincts I want in a leader. I would rather folks like you make clear to him that his support of authoritarian actions is not productive.

    3. Over 2/3rds of floridians support him, including over half of Democrats.

      Not sure how you describe that as an own goal. Maybe against your beliefs, but it is seemingly popular there.

      Not everyone likes keeping specialized corporate handouts just because they always existed.

      1. It's an own goal because we are now all talking about some stupid muzzling of Disney instead of the fact that god damn teachers are trying to push gender-bending, marxist nonsense in the classroom.

        If your only concern is the crushing of your enemies, you are doing fine. Keep it up!

        OTOH, if you care about the principles of liberty, making this about Disney instead of about those teachers preaching Queer Life and Marxism is absolutely an own goal.

        The entire country is outraged about Marxist CRT and Queer Dogma. Not so much about Mickey Mouse. Choose wisely.

    4. That there are consequences for Disney's overt and willful lies is hardly an own goal. They demagogued the shit out of a law that is clear, reasonable, and enjoys strong majority support among the entire population of the State.

      To equate suppressing speech with holding someone accountable for their speech is a categorical error.

      1. Or a lie.

      2. So now you’re okay with “holding someone accountable for their speech”?

        Who gets to make that choice? Because you’ve just justified the destroying of a pizza shop in Indiana for their owner’s speech.

        This is cancel culture writ large.

        I agree with the Florida law. I disagree that Disney “needs” or “should” “take a position” on the law. They should have just carried on with business with nary a word despite the petulant cries of its employees.

        But Florida seeking to end the RCID is revenge for saying the “wrong thing.” It’s no better than cancelling that pizza shop because it’s owner said the “wrong thing”, and perhaps quite a bit worse because this is actually using the force of government, and not just a bunch of douchebags on Twitter.

        1. Argue the merit of Disney keeping the protections. Youre simply moving the needle away from merit.

          It is akin to allowing tax free 501c3 groups that lose status when they wade into politics. Nobody gets outraged at that loss when they violate terms.

          1. "Argue the merit of Disney keeping the protections. Youre simply moving the needle away from merit."

            The merit is that Disney is relieving the state of certain expenses and bearing them themselves. Describing that as a "protection" is odd. Is a privately incorporated township that agrees to provide its own police, fire and other civil services "protected"? What about the 100+ other entities in special districts around the state of Florida and thousands of other similar entities around the country?

            Were you always against the "merit" of these arrangements even though they are actually good ideas (from a libertarian point of view)? What makes Disney less deserving "on the merits" than the hundreds or thousands of other entities in special districts? You and I know that it is solely their political stance, which is un-American and anti libertarian.

            1. I state clearly above im always against favored nations type clauses. What is unclear?

              1. This is a favored nations clause, and your attempt to describe it as such leads me to really wonder if you actually care about your arguments, or about some strange Team Red bullshit.

          2. Argue the merit that DeSantis took action because its a bad law/policy that needed reform and not as a retaliation to Disney.

            Its not akin to your analogy at all. Disney didn't violate any terms. There was no carveout that said they couldn't participate in political speech. Disney doesn't even get unfair "protections" like you claim. They just don't have to pay taxes to the fire dept because they provide their own. If you want to argue that ordinary citizens should have the same options as Disney, go for it. Right now you're arguing that governors should sick the tax man on corporations who say things they don't like, not v libertarian at all.

            1. If it hurts the left, it benefits libertarians in the long run.

              1. RRWP, you are cray cray. Punishing free speech helps no one but totalitarians and authoritarians.

                For fucks sake, every arrow the right slings at these guys is taken up by the left and used against all of us. You cannot be this foolish. I know you are smarter than this. I do not deny that you are fucking over Disney, who had it coming. But you are normalizing a behavior that the Left is *far* better at using than you.

                THe left can memory hole ANY thing they want. Because they own the media. They can say that Biden has always stood on the side of free speech even as he crushes DeSantis beneath RICO laws. If you think excusing DeSantis acting like a RICO subject is going to help, you are a fool.

            2. "Disney doesn't even get unfair "protections"

              If Disney did not get anything out of the ordinary then losing it can hardly be construed as any sort of punishment.

              Saying that them being treated like every other amusement park operator in the state is to "sick the tax man" on them is beyond
              a mischaracterization. (It's also a malapropism because the word you are looking for is sic.) These sorts of arguments are not remotely intellectually honest.

        2. "Because you’ve just justified the destroying of a pizza shop in Indiana for their owner’s speech."

          No, I have not. The issue there was compelled speech - the cake shop being told to participate or else.

          Disney freely chose to wade into an obvious political fight with the legislature - calling directly for their actions to be undone.

          That you think the two remotely the same really says you are not fit for this conversation.

    5. Ah, the "graceful loser" strategy!

      1. So you are saying that DeSantis was losing in Florida until he decided to persecute the political speech of his rivals? That is what you are going with?

        1. He didnt lose anything in Florida. The vast majority of the state including democrats support him with the law passed by the legislature regarding what is taught in schools.

        2. Removing a special exemption is now "persecution."

          Heaven's to Betsy, Disney has been reduced to being treated just like everyone else!

          Oh my, where is my fainting couch...

          LOL

        3. No, I'm saying you prefer to be the graceful loser jerking off to your own self righteous conceit.
          You do you, but some of us have the balls to face reality as it is.

    6. "He got over his ski tips..."
      This entry has nothing to do with this article, just skiing, so please forgive me. Being an avid skier for decades, the most common mistake made by all levels of skier: beginner, intermediate, and even advanced skiers (the latter mostly when they are tired and should've known to stop for the day), and, of course, me, is "getting over their ski tails", not "getting over their ski tips", which rarely happens. The most helpful tip is to constantly think your body is too far forward, and then it is probably just right. OK, back the normally scheduled programming, LOL!

      1. You unfortunately are wrong.

        I get what you are saying, because it is a problem I had for the first 20 years of my life.

        However, the metaphor is apt. In skiers with a lot of hours, "gettign over your ski tips" is a real thing. The first step is figuring out that sitting back is actually making it harder to ski. So you lean forward. That leads to over confidence.

        I have been here with many students. As soon as they overcome the fear of going downhill, they think the appropriate response is to lean forward. This ultimately leads them to a situation where they are on an impossible fall line, and they have only the front 1/3 of their skiis to correct their course as they topple forward.

        I totally agree that the first step in skiing is figuring out that an aggressive stance actually gives more control. But that is the point of the "Over the ski tips" metaphor- thinking that it means you ought to just dive forward, damn the consequences. This is what puts you at the base of a bowl, figuring out how you will hike up to find your skiis.

    7. Explain how retracting the Reedy Creek Special District privileges affects anybody's right to free speech, please.

    8. Sure, just ignore the attempts to remove it for years prior, whatever you need to justify the special government carve-outs for favored companies.

  5. This is fun to watch. I guess the left has given up any pretense of valuing free speech.

    1. Not so.
      You are free to speak any opinion approved by your fascist masters.
      In fact, you MUST speak certain opinions.

      1. That which is not prohibited is mandatory

    2. I guess the left has given up any pretense of valuing free speech.

      My general impression is that free speech tends to be viewed in much more utilitarian terms on the left side. That free speech is justified, when it serves some constructive purpose, or at least doesn't actively lead to harm. Free speech that is "dangerous" in some way, however, ought to be limited, if not by the state, then by private actors.

      And while there is SOME element of truth to this - for example, if a person posted instructions on the Internet for doing something dangerous, without also mentioning the risks and safety precautions that ought to be taken, and then a person follows those instructions and is hurt, I think most people would argue that the original poster would bear at least *some* moral culpability for the harm that was caused. Also, what about cases where someone actively lies to spread harm? For example, if a person says "drink bleach to cure COVID!", and you drink bleach because you don't know better and are harmed, then I think the purveyor of fraud would in that case not only suffer moral culpability but also possibly some legal ramifications.

      But while there are some potentially difficult edge cases, the attitude around here ought to be more speech is better. The government shouldn't be banning speech except in very very rare and specific cases ("true threats"), and private companies are free to do what they like but we ought to encourage them to follow "more is better" as a general rule.

      1. If we get rid of the democrats keeping speech free won’t be a problem.

      2. It is amazing watching the rationalization of an authoritarian who denies he is one.

        And while there is SOME element of truth to this - for example, if a person posted instructions on the Internet for doing something dangerous, without also mentioning the risks and safety precautions that ought to be taken, and then a person follows those instructions and is hurt, I think most people would argue that the original poster would bear at least *some* moral culpability for the harm that was caused.

        The anarchist cookbook has been out for nearly a century at this point.

        1. "I think most people would argue that the original poster would bear at least *some* moral culpability for the harm that was caused."

          Also notice that Chemjeff steals a base here. He says that the free speech is dangerous BECAUSE IT DIDN'T INCLUDE A LIST OF RISKS. So it was...not speaking...that was the liability.

      3. There are already laws against fraud and threats. I'm going to say it's your own damn problem if you do something dangerous because you read something online and didn't do any further research.

      4. Free speech that is "dangerous" in some way, however, ought to be limited….

        Your argument is dangerous and yet here you are, unimpeded, expressing it.,

        Someone, somewhere, thinks your free speech is dangerous in some way. By your analysis that means your speech should be limited. See how that works?

        Either everyone enjoys it or no one enjoys it. People can decide for themselves without outside intervention. Otherwise, a Theocracy seems to work just dandy, though one suspects you would be against that type of limiting entity

  6. As Techdirt's Mike Masnick put it, the entire internet is really the town square; Twitter is one small space that's part of it.

    The town square is mostly adult video arcades?

    1. Depends on the city.

  7. Maybe Twitter is more like the local bar than the town square. Private, but open to the public and generally not too concerned with the conversations people have while drinking.
    Town square isn't too bad an analogy, though. The town square isn't where thoughtful debate and discussion really happens. That's mostly in more private settings. It's where the old hippies go and hold up their BLM signs or whatever and where crazy people can go and rant about whatever's on their mind.

    1. Definitely town bar...because as near as I can tell, it's 2am on twitter and they its drunk fucks all the way down.

  8. Musk is a proven liar, an autistic jerk, a lousy employer, an immature and thin-skinned jerk, an ardent and selfish censor, a reckless businessman (reckless with others' safety, in particular), an unreliable pitchman . . . no wonder disaffected right-wing misfits adore him.

    1. I feel your pain, loser.

    2. usually more imaginative than to call someone a jerk twice

    3. Jerky jerky jerky. Beef, chicken and beef.

    4. autistic jerk

      So it's OK to use insults based on disabilities now? (Or maybe Artie would claim he isn't accusing Musk of actually being disabled, so Musk has no grounds for complaint on that score. He's just insulting Musk for acting *as if* he had a disability. It's really no more offensive than calling Musk a "retard.")

      1. You're thinking waaaaaay beyond its programming

    5. Funny, you leftist faggots loved him until this Twitter thing. You disaffected, bitter, illiterate progs should open wider for what comes next. In your case, it’s probably Tony’s cock.

      Eat shit you commie clinger. Things are getting real fucking bad for you.

      1. He has an opening for Tony right after the horse is done.

    6. Like the 2020 Democratic Iowa caucus turning in to a clusterfuck, Arthur L. Hicklib once again demonstrates his rejection-obsessed mindset.

      Cope, seethe, and dilate, you slack-jawed, slope-foreheaded hicklib.

  9. If China or Russia banned a major opposition party political candidate from a major social media site, it would (correctly) be viewed as an attack on democracy.

    Only in America is not banning someone seen as an attack on democracy.

    1. What if Germany banned Hitler? Would that be an outrageous attack on Democracy?

      NOT comparing your major opposition candidate to Hitler, but let's just take your notion and see how far it can stretch.

      Also, Twitter is a... wait for it... private company. The United States did NOT bad whatshisface from Twitter. Please don't conflate social media platforms with nations.

      1. The thing about democracy is that if people want Hitler, they get Hitler.
        Which opens up the question of whether a democratic decision to stop using a democratic system is a valid democratic outcome.
        Which is why I think democracy can be a useful tool to maintain freedom, but isn't something to be valued for its own sake.

        1. I was against gay marriage before I was for it.

          1. Had my husband and I known that we would have picked you to throw the garter jock strap at our wedding!

            1. I've supported gay marriage for years.

              By which I mean that several years ago I took a photo at a lesbian wedding with the brides sitting one on each of my shoulders. 😉

        2. That's the thing about majoritarian voting, not democracy. In a democracy, Jews are allowed to be alive even if "the people" want Hitler.

          1. I'm considering democracy (unmodified) to mean majority rule/majoritarian voting. You need more than democracy to value and protect individual rights.

          2. I think you meant a republic, not a democracy. There’s a difference.

      2. It's not an outrageous attack on democracy to ban *anyone*, if that's in fact what the demos wants to do.

        It might be an outrageous attack on liberty, but that's another question. There are such things as illiberal democracies. Athens, for example, put Socrates to death for things he said, and it was the democratic Athens, not the Athens of the Thirty Tyrants, that did so.

        1. Sounds like the Athens of Blue Checkmarks.

      3. The ACLU actually defended many people, including people who you mention here.

        They have changed their views like most leftists. This includes you.

      4. Not comparing one’s opposition to Hitler is literally being Hitler.

    2. It's fucking insane (or fundamentally dishonest). We can only have democracy if the information people are exposed to is carefully controlled? They really think this is a reasonable position to take?

    3. If someone in Russia or China was accused of encouraging an insurrection they'd be facing a lot more than just being banned from a private social media site.

      1. Just ignore the 700 cases of protestors in DC Jails right now right?

      2. Do you know any domestic politician that encouraged insurrection?

        1. George Washington, father of our country.

    4. If China or Russia banned a major opposition party political candidate from a major social media site, it would (correctly) be viewed as an attack on democracy.

      Nobody even talks about democracy in the same sentence with "China," unless there's some form of the word "not" as well. China doesn't have to ban any "major opposition party political candidate from a major social media site," because there *aren't* any major opposition parties.

      But while we're defending democracy, what do we think about the Ukrainian government's ban of one of *its* major opposition party, Opposition Platform--For Life?

  10. Twitter blocking its own employees from routine site updates, for fears they will try to sabotage their own company because Musk is taking over:

    https://nypost.com/2022/04/26/twitter-blocks-changes-over-fears-workers-may-go-rogue-report/

    Twitter is reportedly taking drastic steps to maintain smooth operations this week amid fears that disgruntled employees could try to disrupt the service following Elon Musk’s takeover of the company. The social media platform has blocked routine changes such as product updates through Friday of this week – with alterations only possible if they’re identified as “business critical” and approved by an executive with a vice president title or higher.

    1. 1. The Twit employees doing that are closet Quanons on the weekend. They LARP the Trump whouse.

      2. Maybe Anonymous will do the right thing: nothing.

    2. Was watching Tucker and he showed a video of sad Twitter employee reactions to the sale, got me thinking about a meeting with party officials during the time of Stalin in the USSR and after a speech praising Stalin everyone jumped up and started clapping and clapping and it did not stop because no one wanted to be the first to stop. One guy finally did and he was arrested and sent to the east with his family…I am wondering how many of those who work at Twitter are really glad but cannot publicly show any emotion for fear that they will be banished from the rest of the group?

    3. Of course they’re blocking them. Their employees are Marxists. So they can’t be trusted. Musk should really clean house. Scrape off all known leftist employees and start moving their operations to a red state.

  11. Twitter is the equivalent of bumper stickers. If your ideas can't be expressed in a short pithy sentence, then they can't get expressed on your car bumper or on Twitter.

    This actually goes a long way towards explaining the utter shallowness of the twitterati.

    1. This buy has been a fab source of twit humour, the main and almost only reason I go to twitland.

      A sharp witticism has to be brief and concise.

      1. Brandy does not know what a witticism is

  12. Having never used twitter I would not care much except, like the New York Times that I also have never purchased and rarely read, there is so much of collateral media that is based either peripherally or completely on what is written on it. How many news articles do you open and it is a few lines of text and the rest is just screen shots of tweets. If one side can control that they control more than just half the story, they also control a good portion of what the others are responding too.

    1. Most "journalism" done these days is just re-tweeting a source from Twitter and passing it off as original reporting.

  13. Musk may want to consider the conventional paper newspaper format - there is primarily a straight news section and an opinion/editorial section.

    The best counter to free speech is more free speech. Fact check and counter the bad speech! Don’t censor speech, expand the debate.

    Musk may want to hire Ira Glasser from the recent documentary “Mighty Ira”. Glasser is one of America’s free speech champions (respected by Democrats and Republicans) and would be very valuable on this new endeavor.

  14. "I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means," said Musk.

    Easy for a misogynistic transphobe to say.

    1. but...if...uh...

      I'm not sure "misogynistic transphobe" is as easy to parse as it should be.

  15. I'm still wondering what the hell is this twitter thing everyone is so infatuated with? I also heard something about a book that many are wearing on their face or something of that nature. Can someone please explain what all this crap is?

    1. Without a narrowly defined and curated twitter, how will Journalism, the gatekeepers of the first amendment do their jobs? Are those blue checkmarks now completely meaningless?

      1. "now"? completely meaningless? Lol!

        I remember my kids doing monkey imitations at the zoo that infuriated the little (caged) primates to the point of poo-flinging, representing 10/10 success for my sons.

        I think of that every time someone writes "twitter responded" or "twitter outrage was swift", etc. in a purported news story.

  16. Just so you know, in case you're not keeping score, Elon Musk is the first African American to be a billionaire tech company owner.

    1. I was going to say "what about Teresa Heinz?", but I guess not a tech company.

      1. Someday, it will be.

  17. "Elon Musk's Takeover Will Not Destroy Twitter or Democracy"

    Already done by the protesters 1/6/21; see all the convictions for "treason".

  18. "

    I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means

    — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 25, 2022"

    What about his urging of Tesla owners not to report problems with the cars to the press because "people are trying to tear us down"? Or how about when he wanted China to censor criticism of Tesla?

    His word is worth nothing. The asshole will probably ban the kid tracking his jet first.

    Just another douche.

    1. I feel your pain, loser.

      1. I'm really appreciating the bouquet of the raspberry scented tears, though.

        1. I'm seriously considering buying one of Ben Shapiros "Leftist Tears" cups.

          I actually have an idea for a t-shirt design, but won't produce that anyways:
          Black t-shirt, white capital letters saying "PRIVATE. COMPANY." But the T in private is the blue twitter bird distorted into a T-shape. It is because I anticipate that leftists will shift 180 degrees on twitters right to make their own policy and they will start to have a real problem with the private company thing again.

          So if you know someone who makes t-shirts, lemme know where to buy one if they make em.

    2. I’ll take my chances with him over all the Marxists they’ve got now. That he brings you such pain is a joyous thing to behold Shitlunches. He is hurting you, and I wish to see him go on hurting you.

  19. preserve—or even strengthen—the site's commitment to the principles of free speech.

    Oh, will you get serious? Under current lefturd management, Twitter has never had anything of the kind. Musk's stand on free speech is entirely new to them, and that's why they're all squealing like Tony.

    -jcr

  20. First, if you are quoting hacks like Masnick, your article loses a lot of credibility.

    Second, the author's suggestion that users curate their own feeds is not based in reality. The liberals aren't upset at seeing "misinformation", they don't want YOU to see it. They wish to control the viewing of others far more than they care about their own.

    1. Ah, but that's not what they *SAY*, is it.

      Also, good point about Masnick. Haven't visited TechDirt in years.

    2. No so. Slashdot is user moderated and has been for years. Works perfectly.

  21. Misinformation and lies does hurt democracy

    The foundation of democracy is that the voters choose the candidates that they believe best represent their values and interests. If the voter is inundated with false information, then they are likely to unintentionally vote against their values and interested. That is a direct threat to democracy and the concept that the people choose their own government.

    1. And that sounds nice, but it's hard to agree on what constitutes lies and misinformation. If you put some small group of people in charge of deciding what is misinformation, you are guaranteed nothing but propaganda and censorship of disfavored ideas.
      No one has such a great grip on the truth that they should be trusted to decide what information is valid or not.

      1. "No one has such a great grip on the truth as the left does".

        A suggestion. Just a suggestion. I'm saying it's just a suggestion, okay?!

    2. Working Hypothesis on Molly Godawful:

      The person behind this handle is very adept at crafting parodies. Molly Godawful is a parody designed to leave us in doubt about the parodistic nature. They do say stuff (like the above) that is pretty much a blatant description of the left, but then, when someone questions them, they become serious and soft-defend their point of view enough to make us doubt our assessment that they are really a parody. Actually, this could be me, now that I'm thinking about it.

      1. Some here say that it’s Shreek/Buttplug. I’m not sure.

    3. Sure, fraud is a bad thing. So, are you prepared to throw Hillary, Nancy, Chuckie, all the Hamassholes, tankies and other lying degenerates into internet limbo so that we never have to hear from them again?

      -jcr

    4. If the voter is inundated with false information, then they are likely to unintentionally vote against their values and interested.

      Sort of like, "People who claim they are women when they are men are actually women."

  22. I wonder if all the purple haired proggies who work at Disney realize that the man the company was named after was an overt racist? DUMBASSES!

    1. I would gladly have Walt Disney’s anti semitic ass back from the dead than put up with the legion of purple headed freakshow Marxists that have infested that company. Fuck them.

      1. The racist charges against Walt Disney aren't even sound accusations. It's a really easy choice.

  23. "Twitter is the digital town square, where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,"

    Could we call Norman Rockwell and have him do another version of his "Freedom of Speech," only this time, instead of a man standing up in a town meeting to speak his mind without fear, show a guy crouched over his computer creating memes and short comments.

  24. Elon Musk's Takeover Will Not Destroy Twitter or Democracy... no it won't destroy democracy, but it is fun to watch Democrats heads explode over the thought there might actually be free speech and their lies will be exposed.

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