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Elon Musk "frees" Twitter

By Jay Li Dec. 15, 2022

“The bird is freed,” said Elon Musk, marking his official takeover of Twitter on Oct. 27. Despite Musk’s promised reforms, the platform has only suffered under his reckless leadership.


Inseo Kim Art

After an online argument with then-CEO Parag Agrawal, Musk offered to buy Twitter for $44 billion, one of the largest offers for a technology company in history. The purchase was tumultuous: in July, Musk stated that he would abandon the purchase, but he ultimately completed the deal after Twitter filed a lawsuit. The disorganized acquisition process marks the first of Musk’s many failures in truly leading Twitter to success.


Among Musk’s promises is ensuring that the platform upholds free speech, reinstating all currently banned accounts and moderating content more loosely. Musk’s hands-off approach elicited a positive response from right-wing political figures, who have frequently accused Twitter of censoring conservative views.


However, Business Insider reported that immediately after Musk became the new owner of Twitter, usage of the “n-word” and hateful language increased around 500%. For instance, prominent alt-right figure Matt Walsh has seized the opportunity to tweet that people ought to “start misgendering again.”


“Musk’s approach to content moderation under the guise of promoting free speech only furthers hate speech. Allowing users who were previously banned due to hate speech to return disregards users who were affected by the comments and perpetuates the use of hateful language,” Sophomore Benjamin Han said.

Another consequence of Musk’s acquisition was the loss of nearly half of its workforce; just a week after the purchase, 3,700 employees were laid off, including several top executives. The Wall Street Journal reports that Musk paid double of Twitter’s worth to buy it, pressuring him to drive up the company’s value through radical action. Musk ended remote work and issued an ultimatum to his employees to embrace a “hardcore” work ethic, demanding longer hours and more intense work, sparking outrage and leading to mass resignations.


“Musk had good intentions with the company, but by firing so many employees, he is destroying their livelihoods. Not only did the layoffs hurt them, but these actions also damaged Twitter as a platform, making them unjustified,” Junior Hailey Tan said

Additionally, Musk has scared off advertisers with his new policies. According to The Atlantic, Interpublic Group and Omnicom—two of the world’s largest advertising agencies—have recommended clients not to advertise on Twitter, which has tanked Twitter’s revenue. Musk attempted to offset the loss with the now-canceled Twitter Blue service. Users could pay an $8 monthly subscription for a “verification checkmark” next to their name, previously reserved for “active, notable and authentic accounts of public interest.”

Inseo Kim Art



A haphazard attempt at profit, the tactic immediately backfired; countless impersonation accounts emerged, including one of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company. This user tweeted that insulin would be made free, causing Eli Lilly’s stock to plummet. Twitter quickly paused the program to prevent further damage.


Musk’s loose cannon behavior has proven disastrous for Twitter—one of the world’s most prominent online discussion platforms—even bringing a cloud of bankruptcy above the company. His efforts to promote free speech has led to an unprecedented escalation in hate speech, and the First Amendment does not exempt individuals from facing consequences for such comments. Musk’s pledge to not only welcome previously banned individuals back onto Twitter but also permit their dangerous rhetoric and misinformation to proliferate will ultimately prove catastrophic.

 

About the Contributors

Jay Li

Staff Writer


Jay is is a sophomore at Leland High school and in his free time enjoys to eat and sleep.











Inseo Kim

Artist


Inseo Kim is a junior currently working as an Artist and a Page Editor for Feature World. In her free time, Inseo enjoys doodling and crocheting. She also has a mildly impressive collection of stickers that continues to grow but is rarely used

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