Sunday, November 27, 2022

Twitter’s dark future under Elon Musk’s leadership

By Bryn Fawn

Elon Musk refuses to keep his name out of the press, no matter the type of publicity. For the last few months, Musk stated he would buy Twitter, pulled out of the agreement, was served a lawsuit by Twitter and finally purchased the social media platform.

Nearly the second Musk obtained ownership, Twitter began its downfall. Musk advertised that Twitter would be more lenient on censorship. Since obtaining Twitter, the usage of the N-word increased by 500%, according to The Washington Post. The backlash has been insurmountable from both sides. Musk has since changed his Twitter bio to “Twitter Complaint Hotline Operator” as of Nov. 11. 

Musk also introduced changes to Twitter Blue, Twitter’s paid service. Now Twitter Blue only reduces the ads by half, and gives paying users verification — the blue checkmark. This checkmark used to have to be earned. It was to help Twitter users decipher who was an impersonator and who is a real celebrity or organization. Instead, now for $8 a month accounts can be verified. This has led to several “trolls” impersonating celebrities, such as Musk himself, and wreaking havoc. Some of these accounts have been restricted, which goes against Musk’s freedom of speech mindset. 

Twitter Blue has other qualms as well with Musk admitting those that do not pay the subscription will be pushed to the bottom, and only Twitter Blue users will appear at the top of replies. Users now must pay to be able to be heard on Twitter. 

Stephen Gutowski, a journalist for CNN who founded The Reload, tweeted: “Elon just compared non-verified accounts going forward to emails in a spam folder. Sounds like you’ll need to pay for Twitter Blue for people to actually read your tweets. No more of those ‘this site is free’ jokes, folks.”

Those on the right spectrum of U.S. politics tend to side with Musk, and are supportive of the direction he is taking the company. However, after attending a conference with left-leaning organizations pleading to Musk how his actions could cause harm, conservatives left Musk’s ideas they feared Musk would “pander” to these activists. 

Musk also has silenced the voices of workers. In the official announcement, Musk walked around Twitter Headquarters carrying a sink. The punchline being “let that sink in.” Musk then promptly fired several employees. This prompted a class-action lawsuit as the company failed to provide a 60-day notice. Musk has a history of this behavior. Tesla is known to force fired employees to sign documents so they are unable to discuss their work situation or conditions with others. 

This is all in an attempt to profit off of the $44 million purchase, yet, it’s failing. Many advertisers have pulled from Twitter, including L’Oreal. Musk no longer has as many rallying fans on his side, and those that are, simply refuse to see any flaw inside the man. Musk has angered the left and the right, and Twitter has become a sinking ship. 

There is no telling how much longer Twitter will survive, or what the future holds for the platform. It is one of the more popular platforms to obtain news, and with the fairly easy ability to lie, it’s only a matter of time before misinformation spreads like wildfire. 

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