Elon Musk has managed to piss off just about everyone on Twitter, and after announcing he would be instituting what appears to be a shadow ban policy on the platform, even the right wing who hailed him as the savior of “free speech” is in turmoil.
Twitter is currently being held down by digital duct tape and a reduced team of employees after Musk prompted a mass resignation among the platform’s already severely reduced staff. Despite internal emails revealing that Musk asked the remaining employees to come to San Francisco and help him “understand Twitter’s tech stack,” the billionaire continues to make political proclamations on his favorite subject: moderation. of content.
“Twitter’s new policy is freedom of expression, not freedom of access,” Musk tweeted. “Negative/hateful tweets will be deboosted and demonetized to the max, so no ads or other revenue for Twitter. You won’t find the tweet unless you specifically search for it, which is no different from the rest of ‘Internet.
Shadowbanning is, broadly speaking, the artificial removal of a user’s profile or content by a platform outside of established content regulation mechanisms and without the knowledge of the user. Twitter has previously stated that they do not engage in the shadow ban, but conservatives ranging from internet trolls at federal lawmakers have repeatedly accused the platform of suppressing their opinions. Studies have refuted this notion, indicating that the opposite is true and that conservative content performs better on major social media platforms.
Musk’s new policy appears to effectively codify the practice into Twitter’s functionality.
Conservative commentators have been flocking to mentions of Musk since he announced plans to buy Twitter in the spring in hopes of swaying the platform’s new direction. Musk has tried to appease them, but there have been plenty of hints that he isn’t as committed to “free speech” as he wants them to believe. He quickly rolled out a plan to algorithmically prioritize paying subscribers, said it would take some time to bring back banned users, and began firing employees who criticized him.
The right has been angered by some of this, but his announcement on Friday sparked a fresh outcry that he is reneging on his promises.
“How is this different from the previous policy? » replied conservative commentator Allie Beth Stuckey. “People’s tweets getting deleted because some biased Twitter rando thinks a tweet is mean or crazy?”
Other experts, including right-wing YouTuber Lauren Chen and host of Fox News Cain, demanded to know what exactly Musk would define as “negative/hateful tweets.” Daily Wire host Matt Wash, still obsessed with his crusade against transgender people, asked whether “is still considered ‘negative/hateful’ to refer to a biological male as a male? »
“It’s your business,” replied former Republican-turned-Libertarian Rep. Justin Amash, “but free speech includes speech that challenges and sometimes offends others. … Making ‘negative’ tweets harder to find overnight to this process, and it is impossible for this policy to be applied consistently.”
Along with the new content model, Musk announced that he has reinstated the accounts of Jordan Peterson, Kathy Griffin and The Babylon Bee, but has not yet made a decision on whether to unban Donald. Trump. A user asked if Musk would reinstate the account of InfoWars founder and truthful Sandy Hooker Alex Jones, to which he replied “no.” Multiple accounts have picked it up as proof that Musk’s commitment to true “free speech” had been a fraud.
“Elon’s free speech claim quickly turned out to be bullshit lol,” tweeted conservative streamer Tim Pool. Chen wrote that Musk had “kicked the hornet’s nest already” and his desire to choose who was reinstated “prolonged the rift with militant former employees and regime entities who were after him.” YouTuber Viva Frei added that if Musk was committed to his refusal to reinstate Jones, it would make him not better than former Twitter CEOs Jack Dorsey and Parag Agrawal.
The disbelieving reaction from an online community that pushed Musk to buy Twitter and hailed him as a liberator of imaginary shackles is laughable when juxtaposed with the apparent reality that Musk has absolutely no idea what ‘he does. His takeover of Twitter was a disaster that now threatens to spill over to his other companies, Tesla and SpaceX. What is clear is that Twitter is fundamentally and rapidly transforming, and conservatives are seeing their dreams of a libertarian, rule-free utopia crushed, one Musk tweet at a time.
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