Elon Musk bought Twitter, and for some, the world is ending. Previously, he said he would respect more freedom of speech on the platform, particularly for the share of the users of the service who were not left-wing. Even before the takeover, many on the left already did not like him: Musk is their model villain, a capitalist billionaire, and the co-founder of PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX.
Twitter’s past actions, including its infamous ban on Donald Trump, who already announced on Fox News that he will not return to Twitter, show the social media giant’s ideological oversight was highly restrictive. Posts were deleted, accounts suspended, content was removed, and mainly conservative reach was limited.
“Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy,” wrote Musk in March. He spoke of building a global platform of free speech that would serve democracy. Now, the ability to writing longer tweets and edit them will appear, along with an effort to remove bots. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of his proposed changes is the announcement he will make Twitter algorithm’s code open source.
Of course, there is political backlash. Leftist commentators and thousands of internet activists have slammed the purchase, reaching a near state of hysteria, claiming that Musk’s dream of absolute freedom to express “any extreme views” will lead to the creation of “right-wing troll farms.” Of course, left-wing troll farms are perfectly acceptable, no matter how extreme the views are that they post or share, especially if ideological extremes such as “wokeism” and “cancel culture” are involved. Then, everything is presumably okay.
The left has already begun to produce a narrative against Musk to have users either fight back against the purchase or stage a mass withdrawal from Twitter. The entire action is similar to the announcements of the Polish celebrities that were to leave the country if Law and Justice (PiS) party won the elections the next time around.
In short, a change in ownership at Twitter could mean a catastrophe for many progressive and ultra-liberal politicians. They cannot survive in a world where the free exchange of ideas take place. Musk’s declared dedication to freedom of speech poses the most serious threat to the left, and their backers in big capital, in a long time.