Everything Continues to Go Downhill in the Elon Musk Era of Twitter

Everything Continues to Go Downhill in the Elon Musk Era of Twitter


Hardcore chaos continues to ensue under Musk’s takeover of the social networking site

Last October 27, billionaire Elon Musk finally completed his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, officially becoming its biggest shareholder with a 9.1% stake in the company. On top of this was the start of his term as Twitter CEO and the immediate sacking of his board of directors.

Less than a month into his term, to call it chaotic at this point is an understatement. Mass layoffs, a change in company culture, and disorganized attempts to overhaul the long-running social networking site have defined Musk’s leadership until this point.

Then, of course, there is now his most recent ultimatum: work “hardcore” or leave. This has been met by mass resignation from people who still remain in the company. 

How did we get here?

The earliest involvement of the South African billionaire started January this year when he purchased Twitter stocks, which swelled up to a 5% stake in March. Around the same time, there were critiques of the social networking site on his Twitter account. 

It wasn’t until April that things escalated. On April 4, it was revealed that Musk had become Twitter’s largest individual shareholder with 9.2% of the company’s shares being his, as well as an invite to the company’s board of directors. 

From here on out, it was a back-and-forth affair between the SpaceX owner and Twitter, which included the deal almost failing on May 17, when Musk demanded Twitter to prove that bots compose less than 5% of the site’s users. While he did back out on July 8, this allowed Twitter the opportunity to sue the billionaire. 

Fast forward to October, with a looming court date, Musk was forced to revive his bid, before ultimately pushing through to the current state of the San Francisco-based social media platform.

Moving forward

As of writing, hashtags such as #RIPTwitter and #GoodbyeTwitter, and “TWITTER IS SHUTTING DOWN” are prominent across the social networking site’s list of trends.

Accompanying the hundreds of thousands of tweets, are 3,700 employees terminated, along with an en masse resignation coupled with office closures. Allegedly, a total of 4,400 to 5,500 contractors were also cut along with the regular employees. 

Most importantly, a huge microblogging platform only continues to undergo reforms from a billionaire who promotes a working environment where overworking is the standard. Where ironically, free speech and constructive criticism towards the CEO are taboo. 

And it’s all the more ironic that his vision for Twitter is a platform where “free speech” thrives. A double-edged sword, really, as seen in the first hours of the Musk era. According to reports, there was a visible increase in “hate speech” initially, as well as a separate instance of a racial slur also seeing its increase in usage. 

More harm than good

While Musk has other ideas going on, such as paid verification, it’s hard to not bat an eye at his vision of a “free speech” platform. As already stated, the first few moments of his takeover saw users increase their output in hate speech, plus using a particular racial slur. 

Even before the Musk era, Twitter was already a cesspool for offensive jokes and problematic statements. Misogyny, body shaming, homophobia, and even racial slurs were already present on the microblogging giant’s millions of content daily even before the takeover. 

And if free speech means even more lenient content moderation, then such a site could just become even more toxic than expected. Whether it’s a bunch of users testing the limit or ones who intentionally exploit it, there is no denying what Musk’s twisted views hold for the future of Twitter. For all we know, we’re just a few moments away from seeing a space that could provide the most relatable content become intolerable because of so-called “free speech.”

Then there’s the paid verification. While suspended as of writing, that should be another cause for concern. Fake news is already rampant on Twitter as is. In fact, one study claimed that fake news was 70% more likely to be retweeted than legitimate ones. Further proving their point was how legitimate news rarely reached a thousand people, while fake ones would easily go up to the 100,000 range. 

With the paid verification feature, anybody could get that popular blue badge. Yes, even satirical accounts or impersonators. While the service may be suspended, for now, the prospect still exists that disinformation could be doubled or tripled even if Twitter does bring back the said feature without limitations. 

Doesn’t help either that especially some pages have become legitimate impersonators, such as this one that was even quoted by a premiere sports channel. 

The question lies now: Is this really a free sneak peek of the new Twitter? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Featured Image from ELON MUSK (via Twitter)

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