Musk’s Twitter takeover sends the wrong message


Tech tyrant and notorious billionaire Elon Musk finally made his Twitter purchase official this past week to the dismay of many users. 

Musk is now the company’s owner, CEO, and the sole member of its Board of Directors, effectively making Twitter’s executive an authoritarian regime. Without an independent governing board, there can’t be proper company oversight.

Users can now pay $8 per month for a verification checkmark—once reserved for public figures, organizations, or businesses. The symbol used to have an important purpose, but now verification and its benefits can be bought.

The introduction of a subscription fee to a social media platform is sure to change the industry; other platforms will no doubt follow suit if Twitter is successful. 

Setting a precedent of charging users, even just for verification, could lead to the decline of social media. Nobody wants to pay for something that used to be free. 

Buying Twitter is more showmanship than investment for Musk, and his ego seems to rank higher on the priority list than making sound business moves. If the first few days under “Chief Twit” are any indication, the platform is now more a racist free-for-all than ever before. 

Twitter was never a safe place for everyone, but it’s even less so now as Musk has made it clear he will tolerate overt hatred. To state the obvious, if you’re Black, queer, Jewish, a woman, Indigenous or otherwise marginalized, Musk values the ‘right’ to tweet hate over your safety online. 

Hate speech has always been a problem online, but rarely do the CEOs of these platform actively facilitate it. It isn’t a stretch to say the average person consumes most of their media via platforms like Twitter these days; which content they allow matters. 

Though they may want to leave the platform, people who make frequent use of Twitter for their jobs or entertainment don’t have a viable alternative. 

Fortunately, Musk isn’t immune to the influence of public opinion. He’s talked extensively about making Twitter a free speech haven, yet announced he’d implement a content moderation council shortly after assuming ownership. 

Maybe he’ll realize tolerating hate speech is unpopular and make changes to improve Twitter’s user experience. On the other hand, backtracking will be difficult after all his preaching. 

For someone as exorbitantly wealthy as Musk, there are no real consequences if he runs Twitter into the ground. However, the company’s employees—those that survive the new CEO’s impending firing spree—have more skin in the game. 

A lot of people are at Musk’s mercy now—a power trip he appears to be enjoying.

We should remember not everyone needs a platform or even deserves one, especially those who use it to promote misinformation and hate for personal gain. 

While practically everyone has been critical of social media for a long time, Musk’s Twitter takeover marks a turning point. His nonchalant attitude empowers people to abuse a system that already disadvantages marginalized folks.

As much as he wants us to believe otherwise, what’s in Elon Musk’s best interest can’t align with what’s best for regular people—let that sink in.

—Journal Editorial Board

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