To believe Elon Musk cares about free speech would be like believing Donald Trump cares about anyone other than himself. It would be like believing Republicans are patriots, fiscal, pro-life, freedom-lovers, or care about family values.
After Twitter banned Donald Trump for inciting a white nationalist terrorist attack to overturn a democratic election and to install himself as an unelected Cheeto potentate, Elon tweeted to his 80 million followers that U.S. tech companies shouldn’t be acting “as the de facto arbiter of free speech.” He believes he should be the de facto arbiter of free speech.
It’s very dangerous that the richest man in the world doesn’t understand free speech. Sure, we had a president (sic) who didn’t under that either, in addition to not understanding most things, but Elon’s in a position to do more damage than Donald Trump. If nothing else, Elon can enable Donald Trump’s attempts to destroy our democracy. Elon understands free speech about as well as your average Trump rally attendee does.
The reason it’s dangerous the richest man in the world doesn’t understand what defines freedom of speech is that he has the resources to turn the world’s largest social media platform into a 4chan on crack. While Donald Trump is stingy and cheap with his own money (he prefers to spend what he grifts from others), Elon will throw out a few billion to make you look at him. Do you think he was serious when he endorsed Kanye for president? Was he serious with his tweets hating on pronouns? Was he serious when he named one of his kids “X”?
Twitter isn’t just for cat pictures or for sharing with the world what you had for lunch today. It has become the defacto source for everything. Politicians release official statements through Twitter. News outlets quote tweets. Celebrities are are using Instragram more and more for their press releases, but the serious people are using Twitter. Of course, there are lunatics on Twitter, but Twitter is serious about kicking people off for threats and misiniformation. If Elon controlled Twitter, it would be a free for all for goons and maniacs.
Elon doesn’t care about freedom of speech. He cares about power.
A couple weeks ago, Elon bought $2.6 billion of Twitter stock making him the largest shareholder of the company with a 9.2 percent ownership. Twitter announced they were putting him on their board of directors. While that would have brought the flamethrower inside the house, it would have prevented him from buying more than 14.9 percent of Twitter stock and attempting a hostile takeover. At first, Elon was enthusiastic about being on the board and said he planned “to make significant improvements” to the platform. He even changed his investment designation to clarify he’s not simply a “passive” investor (only for the richest man in the world would $2.6 billion be “passive”), but one who intends to impact the way the company is run. And then, Elon turned down the invite which told everyone he was going to attempt a hostile takeover.
Elon then offered to purchase Twitter for $43 billion. To fend of a potential hostile takeover, Twitter enacted a “poison pill” by diluting Elon’s stake. How does this work? It’s a new structure set for a limited time that allows shareholders to purchase additional shares at a discount if another shareholder acquires ownership of 15 percent. This plan expires in a year. The hope of the company is that this “poison pill” will discourage Elon from buying more than 15 percent of stock. It’s a risky strategy that could devalue the company.
Elon may have violated a Securities and Exchanges law by reporting his investment late. The SEC requires investors to disclose when their holdings in a company surpass five percent. Elon waited three weeks to disclose he owned over nine percent. After he finally disclosed his purchase, the stock jumped up 30 percent and it’s believed that Elon made over $156 million from his rulebreaking. I guess laws regarding purchasing large amounts of stock are as confusing to Elon as free speech.
The one detail that may save Twitter from Elon purchasing it and making it a private company is that he may not actually have the money to do so, even with cheating while playing the stock market. People tend to be worth more than the actual cash they have on hand. If you own a home, business, or both, you know this. You can be worth $300,000 and not have any cash on hand. For Elon to purchase Twitter, he’ll have to divest a lot of his holdings, which would include Tesla.
A lot of people wonder why Elon even wants Twitter? Couldn’t he just create his own platform like Donald Trump did? Surely, Elon would do a much better job with it than Trump has with TruthSocial, which is such a horrible platform that even Trump won’t use it. I mean, Elon has Tesla. He’s sending astronauts into space. So, why doesn’t he create his own?
Elon doesn’t want to build a new platform that doesn’t have any users. Twitter has nearly 400 million users. While there was a market and need for a new private aerospace manufacturer in 2002, there’s not a need for another Twitter in 2022. And Elon doesn’t create everything he owns. He bought Tesla and then named himself as a founder.
The greatest danger of Elon owning Twitter and taking it private is that he won’t just ruin Twitter, but he may take the country down with him. Twitter made the correct call when it removed Donald Trump. It was long overdue as he had a history of tweeting lies and hate before he sent his “it’s gonna be wild” shout-out to white nationalists. It’s dangerous because Elon doesn’t understand that organizing terrorist attacks is not free speech. It’s also not free speech to accuse people of being pedophiles just because you don’t like them. If Elon owns Twitter, it will be a Nazi paradise. Who do you think is most excited about the prospect of Elon Musk owning Twitter? Elon may destroy Twitter and the nation with it.
Elon is not about free speech because he doesn’t even know what he is. He’s blocked people on Twitter who’s called out his bullshit. Elon claims he’s a free speech “absolutist,” but he’s just an absolute troll.
Music note: I listened to the Toadies while drawing today.
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