Just what we need.
One day prior, via another tweet, Musk posed the question: “Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy. What should be done?"
Before we dive in, let’s take a gander at some of the tweets Musk has been tarred-and-feathered for in the past:
-- In July 2018, without any evidence at all, Musk tweeted about Vernon Unsworth, a British diver in the Thai rescue operation: “Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it”
-- In August 2018, Musk tweeted a “weed joke” that caused him to pay $20 million in an SEC lawsuit, then step down as chairman of Tesla’s board of directors for three years: “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.”
-- In April 2020, as COVID-19 lockdowns were enforced across the globe, Musk tweeted: “FREE AMERICA NOW”
-- In May 2020, Musk eradicated $14 billion off Tesla’s value with a single tweet: “Tesla stock price is too high imo”
Musk’s absurd tweets –– of which there are many many more –– beg the question of whether or not he thinks he should be taken seriously at all. Maybe he doesn’t think Twitter can take a joke. Maybe we can’t take a joke. But with such a public and influential profile, it’s preposterous if Musk doesn’t think his tweets have a (sometimes massive) impact.
Articles cited his tweets as possessing a god-like power: “Elon Musk’s tweets are moving markets."
Last January, all Elon Musk had to do to boost Bitcoin’s value 20% was change his personal Twitter bio to #bitcoin.
Days prior, Musk tweeted “Gamestonk!!” along with a link to the WallStreetBets Reddit thread, which helped GameStop’s valuation skyrocket to over $10 billion in after-hours trading.
A few hours later, the value of online craft marketplacd Etsy soared 9% when Musk tweeted “I kinda love Etsy.”
And his “Tesla stock price is too high imo” tweet? It received some serious what the hell? Twitter responses, my favorite being, “Dude…I just lost $10k because of this tweet. Wtf is wrong with u.”
While Musk famously tweeted, “Twitter is a warzone” in December 2018, it seems as though Musk himself is the one waging wars.
It’s a pretty classic example of what happens when massively wealthy, power-hungry, living-outside-the-law men take to rampant social media posting.
“Free speech” to men like former President Donald Trump -- who was banned from Twitter January 2021 after obsessively spewing misinformation and hate-speech across the platform and thus began the epicly failing “Truth Social” -- is a convenient term disguising something else entirely: the privilege to say whatever, whenever, with no consequences.
If we’ve learned anything about Musk in recent years, it’s that he hates regulation. Though even if his 79.5 million Twitter followers wanted to use some new platform, the SEC wouldn't shy away from regulating shared insider information.
It’s hard to believe that such a platform wouldn’t hurt Musk even more.
But, then again, as I imagine Musk grinning like a cliched trickster as he typed out “serious thought,” I feel silly. Why should we even be taking this latest Musk tweet seriously?