It’s the end of the world as liberals know it, and I feel fiiiiine.
As John discussed yesterday, reactions from the staff at Twitter to their new boss, Elon Musk, have been slightly mixed, but mostly negative. This probably won’t come as a shock to anyone who knew that more than 98% of political donations from Twitter employees went to Democrats. In the early stages of the company, there may have been more of an ideological mix, with people focusing on the tech engines driving the beast. But once the “community” at Twitter gelled and the narrative was established, insufficiently woke workers were likely driven from the fold, either intentionally or just through the realization that they didn’t fit in.
But there may be one exception to that rule showing up in the news this week. Former CEO (and board member) Jack Dorsey seems to be singing a different tune now that the deal is nearly done. He’s chiming in on the side of Elon Musk and his stated objectives. Dorsey went so far as to praise Musk’s “vision” for the company and say that it would put Twitter on “the right path.” (NY Post)
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey on Monday night called Elon Musk’s $44 billion takeover and privatization of the social media platform the “right path” for the company.
“Elon’s goal of creating a platform that is ‘maximally trusted and broadly inclusive’ is the right one,” Dorsey tweeted. Dorsey also thanked Musk and Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal “for getting the company out of an impossible situation.”
“This is the right path…I believe it with all my heart,” wrote Dorsey, who stepped down as CEO of Twitter in November.
Whether Dorsey truly believes this “with all his heart” or not is probably irrelevant at this point. Let’s take a moment to consider the cold, hard reality of what’s going on here. For all of the massively oversized influence that Twitter has on social issues and politics on a global scale, it’s also a company that has barely managed to turn a profit. And Jack is about to walk away with a payday far above what he could have sold his stock for before Musk came in and blew up everyone’s censorship picnic. What happens to Twitter after this is really not his problem, so why not put on a smile as you waltz to the bank?
I find myself wondering more about what will be going on with the rank and file employees than the board members. We already learned that they locked the code to prevent any last-minute changes or sabotage during the transition, but that situation can’t hold forever. How married are the workers at Twitter to the concept of massive progressive censorship of more conservative views than to their own careers? Will Musk inherit a workforce that constantly seeks to undermine him and his vision for the company? Going through and just “cleaning house” would create a massive knowledge exodus that could take years to recover from as new employees learn how the guts of the existing system works. This has the potential to be very complicated.
It’s worth noting that not everyone is taking the news as well as Dorsey. The Associated Press released yet another gloom-and-doom, end times analysis of Musk’s victory yesterday. They quoted many on the left who are warning that the lifting of “content moderation” (or more correctly, censorship) would destroy the platform. One analyst said that Twitter will return to being the “cesspool” it was before the company began silencing any views that diverged from the narrative.
Over the subsequent years, Twitter learned a few things about the consequences of running a largely unmoderated social platform — one of the most important being that companies generally don’t want their ads running against violent threats, hate speech that bleeds into incitement, and misinformation that aims to tip elections or undermine public health.
“With Musk, his posturing of free speech — just leave everything up — that would be bad in and of itself,” said Paul Barrett, the deputy director of the Center for Business and Human Rights at New York University. “If you stop moderating with automated systems and human reviews, a site like Twitter, in the space of a short period of time, you would have a cesspool.”
Google, Barrett pointed out, quickly learned this lesson the hard way when major companies like Toyota and Anheuser-Busch yanked their ads after they ran ahead of YouTube videos produced by terrorists in 2015.
All of this hand-wringing is rather hilarious to watch. It also relies on the warped version of the formerly normal language that is now part of the accepted narrative on the left. Musk hasn’t so much as implied that he would allow threats of actual, physical violence to remain up on the site. But Mr. Barrett will likely be deeply saddened to learn that people who are exposed to opinions they don’t personally agree with are not experiencing violence because “verbal violence” isn’t a thing. Citing a European medical study that questions the efficacy of face masks isn’t “endangering people’s lives.” And pointing out that the human race is composed of two sexes, each of which is required for procreation and the continuance of the species is not “hate speech.”
As to the other liberal alarm bells being set off in the AP article, they seem to range from laughable to flatly incorrect. One of the biggest is the warning that Trump and his “mean tweets” will be back. Elon Musk already clearly hinted that the door would be open for the former President, but as Allahpundit reported yesterday, Trump doesn’t seem interested. Of course, he may change his mind later, and the resultant panic inside the Beltway would be amusing to watch. But for now, we’ll likely have what has mostly been the status quo, except with fewer people being banned and a lot fewer liberal media personalities taking part, assuming they hold up to their vows to stomp their feet and go home when Elon takes command.