If Elon Musk gets his way, the impact on Twitter will be the least of our problems.
To get a sense of how bad this could get, consider the parallels between Musk’s acquisition of Twitter and the founding of Fox News.
When Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch founded Fox News in the late 1990s, they envisioned the channel as a counterweight to the rest of the supposedly liberal media, a vehicle intended to deploy against the media for coverage of right-wing fabricated controversies and disinformation.
Musk sees Twitter the same way Murdoch and Ailes saw Fox when it was founded. For Musk, social media companies aren’t just going too far in tackling extremism, bigotry, and misinformation — they shouldn’t be addressing these issues. Musk’s vision for Twitter is not simply an unfettered platform, but also a tool to counterbalance the “waking up” social media platforms.
As the new owner of Twitter, Musk will unleash a wave of hate and lies by undoing a series of very basic protections against harassment, abuse, and misinformation. . There’s a reason why banned users – from Roger Stone and Marjorie Taylor Greene to conspiracy theorists QAnon and Infowars to white supremacists – are celebrating this acquisition, and gleefully anticipating their account recovery.
Musk will claim that these changes are driven by a commitment to free speech. But don’t be fooled: His actions are like Fox News’ free speech in terms of fairness and balance.
Fox’s tagline “Fair and Balance” really goes hand in hand. When it first started, most interpreted it to mean that Fox News was presenting itself as a fair channel and providing a balanced perspective.
“A fair approach to Musk’s Twitter misinformation will spur other social media outlets to protest the reforms they’ve implemented.
But future Fox News viewers know better. They realized that meant Fox News would be “fair” in portraying conservatives in the best light and “balanced” in its use of disinformation, blu blu, and attacks. outspoken to undermine the rest of the news media.
Like the dual connotations behind “fairness and balance,” Musk’s call for the cause of free speech is a not-so-subtle signal to the worst and most destructive forces to which they will be touted. welcome, and maybe even favor, on Musk’s Twitter.
This is not about free speech. This is really about Musk’s new righteous, pioneering political thought that transcends his unwavering commitment to owning liars.
The most vivid illustration of the ideology driving Musk’s action is his own appeal to libertarians and others. Now, with Twitter in control, he’ll have a giant distribution machine to distribute those red pills. Red-pilling is not free speech; it’s radicalized.
The effects will not be isolated to Twitter. Much like how Murdoch and Ailes used Fox News to influence news media, an equitable approach to disinformation at Musk’s Twitter would create new challenges to improve the landscape. information while simultaneously pressing other social media outlets to oppose the reforms they have implemented. perform.
Fox News’ rabid audiences, enthralled by controversies and fabricated misinformation, manifest harms far beyond the Fox News bubble. Likewise, Musk’s Twitter has the potential to contaminate areas beyond Twitter simply becoming a prime focus for extremists and disinformation campaigns.
The threat is real – not just to Twitter, but to the larger online information landscape. I’m not going to minimize or sugarcoat that. But I also want to emphasize that there is an opportunity to act now before harm becomes real.
“If the businesses that Musk’s Twitter depends on don’t grow, he’ll turn it into an even bigger dump before it starts tackling misinformation and extremism. ”
If we want to make sure those threats don’t materialize, or at least are severely mitigated, two things need to happen: Advertisers need to emphasize the importance of Twitter’s policies from an angle. brand safety, and Google and Apple need to make it clear that Twitter won’t get special treatment on their app stores.
Yes, Musk bought Twitter. But he didn’t buy Twitter out of his own cash. He borrowed money. Lots of money. Musk is in debt. His debts will need to be paid. His debtors would not accept any of the meme coins he was selling on Twitter at the time. They will want to pay in cash.
Musk needs advertisers because he needs advertising cash flow. So the biggest media buyers, like GroupM and Publicis, as well as Twitter’s biggest advertisers like Kraft Foods and HBO, need to make it clear that if Twitter becomes free for all, they will walk. They can’t wait to react until Musk makes the changes and harms come to fruition. By then, the damage will have been done and their ability to act limited by concerns about not kicking the right-wing hive that Musk’s Twitter would inevitably become without intervention.
By doing it now, they will make their mark and make it much more difficult for Musk to remove some of the key protections without first having a solid answer to how he will compensate. compensate its creditors.
In addition to advertisers, Google and Apple need to make it clear that their app store rules apply to Twitter. In early 2021, Apple sent out a warning and then eventually removed Parler from its app store for not meeting the minimum standards for moderation. Apple’s actions matter a lot; it forced big change at Parler, and it also meant that upstart apps like Gettr and even Truth Social had to be careful to avoid a completely censorship-free atmosphere.
Musk’s stated vision for Twitter is incompatible with the underlying standards required for Apple and Google’s app stores. It’s important for both Apple and Google to make it clear, in this moment, that there will be no exceptions to their standards, even for an app as old as Twitter. It seems so simple, but this clear presentation will have a big impact on how effectively Musk can make Twitter a free site for all. Furthermore, if they refuse to make something too obvious, they will also reveal how much latitude they will give Twitter, and thus trigger Musk’s vision.
The bottom line: Musk’s acquisition of Twitter is a bottom line.
If nothing is done, then a race to the bottom begins. Musk will turn Twitter into an even bigger corporation before it begins to tackle misinformation and extremism.
Or, alternatively, the businesses that Musk’s Twitter will depend on for survival can make it clear that they won’t offer special treatment or accommodations for unthinkable harassment and deception. which you are suggesting.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/elon-musk-will-use-twitter-to-update-rupert-murdochs-fox-news-playbook?source=articles&via=rss Elon Musk Will Use Twitter To Update Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News Playbook