A publicly held company is, through regulatory constraints, subject to a degree of oversight, which does not apply to a privately held company. In the case of Twitter, it is clear that there is essentially no oversight for the company’s functioning beyond what the new CEO, Elon Musk, thinks should be done. This creates a very visible media platform that is running its operations solely according to the priorities of one person, with no accountability. That may well be acceptable if that person shows themselves to be judicious and thoughtful in both their communication and actions, but that has not been the case with Mr. Musk.
Second, while Elon Musk’s comments on Twitter have long been provocative, he has increasingly been veering into the use of language and tone that is unacceptable by standards and principles that we have previously discussed as a community. I am aware that, in suspending our engagements on Twitter, it may be construed that we are somehow opposed to “free” speech. This is, however, not the case. As an academic community, we are committed to a vision of inclusive debate and free and open inquiry. However, we do not in our community tolerate speech that is demeaning and non-rebuttable, dangerous, or factually false. By way of one example, Musk’s tweet on Sunday is at least two of these, both demeaning and potentially dangerous. In the tweet, Musk mocks the importance of pronouns in respecting someone’s identity and humanity. He also incites opprobrium against a public health professional, Dr. Fauci, who has served the country well for decades through challenging times. Given the potential for actual violence to emerge from social media instigation, this tweet seems to me to be tantamount to endangering others.
The hole Musk is digging for Twitter just seems to be getting deeper. Either he doesn’t know it or his plan all along was to trash Twitter and the purchase price was the cost of his fun.
I lean towards thinking he has no idea what he’s doing.
You should read the whole post as it’s quite thoughtful about why people may choose to remain on Twitter.
I do realize the irony that some people may read this because my blog automatically posts to Twitter. While I’m not engaging there, does my automatic sharing support the service?