Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter is one of the most important events of our time and has the power to transform the political landscape. For years now, communications and the flow of information have been increasingly monopolized by big tech corporations, backed by powerful leftist elites. Musk, a self-avowed free speech absolutist, has upset this order by purchasing Twitter with the intention of bringing reform and transparency to the platform.
How it began
Open forums for debate and discussion are essential to the health of democracies, as good ideas are given the chance to thrive while bad ones wither under scrutiny. You might think this goes without saying, yet it seems that obvious truths needs to be re-stated nowadays. Social media has eclipsed all other means of communication in that function, and now exerts a monopoly over the flow of information and public discourse. It seems Musk understood this truth himself and recognized that our modern public forum had become dangerously biased.
The takeover bid appears to have begun when the Christian satire news site, The Babylon Bee, was suspended from Twitter for awarding the transgender Biden Administration official, Rachel Levine, the title ‘man of the year’. The satirical award was in response to USA Today naming Levine ‘woman of the year’. Adding to the irony, the Biden Administration had already announced Levine as “the first-ever female four-star Admiral”, despite having lived as a man for 40 years.
Having previously done a lengthy interview with the staff, Elon reached out to the Bee following their suspension. CEO Seth Dillon said Musk mused during the call that he might have to buy Twitter. Musk conducted a poll after that call in which he said, “Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy,” and asked users, “do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?”. It was followed up with another tweet, “The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully.” Over 2 million users voted and the result was overwhelmingly ‘no’.
Asked in a subsequent interview with TED’s Chris Anderson why he made the offer to buy Twitter, he replied, “it is important for there to be an inclusive arena for free speech … Twitter has become the de facto town square … it’s important people have both the reality and the perception that they’re able to speak freely within the bounds of the law.”
He went on to say that he was initially averse to taking on Twitter, but changed his mind because he saw it as important to the functioning of democracy, the United States as a free country, and for the promotion of freedom in the rest of the world.
Anderson also asked him about the risk of Twitter becoming a monopoly under his ownership. Musk responded by emphasizing that his goal was to bring along as many shareholders as possible and stated, “I don’t care about the economics at all.” He also confirmed that the laws of a country should be followed, but that the algorithms and processes used to make judgements should be made public.
The state of free speech
Musk’s sentiments about Twitter and its influence as the ‘town square’ ring true, as reports of countless instances of censorship on the platform pile up. The Media Research Centre published a report in 2018 revealing serious bias and deliberate censorship against conservatives by all the major tech companies – Twitter, Facebook, Google, and YouTube.
Twitter was found to be the worst for censorship, with Project Veritas having filmed staffers admitting they used ‘shadow banning’ to target conservatives by stealth, without their knowledge. The many revelations compiled in the report create a picture that is both stunning and gravely concerning.
The censorship has only increased in frequency and severity since then, especially over the last two years under the guise of preventing the spread of “misinformation” and “hate speech”. For example, the account Libs of Tik Tok was struck down recently for “hate speech” under Twitter’s ill-defined policy. The author’s sin: simply re-posting crazy and cringe-worthy content created by leftists themselves. Even worse, big tech has shown huge favouritism for the Biden Administration, censoring criticism of the Democrat government and even shutting down discussion of the Hunter Biden laptop scandal that is still unravelling.
Then there is the unbridled outrage to the takeover by a collection of liberal political pundits, media outlets, and activists. In Musk’s own words, the “extreme antibody reaction says it all.”