Elon Musk makes offer to purchase Twitter outright

Jaybird

Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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173 Responses

  1. Jaybird
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    says:

    Cherry-picked roundup:

    Report

    • Chris in reply to Jaybird
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      Are there many people asking the government to intervene?Report

      • CJColucci in reply to Chris
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        says:

        That was literally the basis of the first three replies to Joe Walsh’s tweet.
        Don’t expect to hear anything significant in response to your question.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Chris
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        Eh, I’ve seen a number of people argue that Musk buying twitter would be against the law and, therefore, needs to be prevented.

        Is that government intervention? (It is unclear to me that Musk buying Twitter is, in fact, against the law. It’s not a 1:1 analogy to Bezos buying the WaPo but I could see why someone would use it as an example.)

        Of course, if it’s against the law, the buyout won’t happen but I get the feeling that the people arguing that it’s illegal are using “illegal” as shorthand for “the government should prevent this” rather than “I am a legal expert and believe that this purchase would break such-and-such statute.”Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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          Here’s Ellen Pao writing in the Washington Post back when he almost got put on the board:

          Musk’s appointment to Twitter’s board shows that we need regulation of social-media platforms to prevent rich people from controlling our channels of communication. For starters, we need consistent definitions of harassment and of content that violates personal privacy. Most companies, I suspect, would welcome such regulations: They would give executives cover to do things they know should be done but which they are afraid to try, out of fear of political backlash or a revolt by some users. If platforms continue to push for growth at all costs — without such regulations — people will continue to be harmed. The people harmed will disproportionately be those who have been harmed for centuries — women and members of marginalized racial and ethnic groups. The people who benefit from unrestricted amplification of their views will also be the same people who have benefited from that privilege for centuries.

          Does that count?Report

          • Chris in reply to Jaybird
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            Yeah, that’s one. I don’t know whether she’s on the “left,” in either the lose or strict sense. She’s the former CEO of Reddit, right? But at least it’s someone saying what Walsh says the left is saying, so there’s that. Perhaps a more accurate version of his tweet, then:

            The right: “Twitter isn’t fair to me. Government must do something!”

            The left: “Twitter is a private company. It sets its own rules.”

            ELON MUSK THREATENS TO BUY TWITTER.

            A former social media CEO: “Oh my God, stop this. Government must do something!”

            The right: “Twitter is a private company.”Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Chris
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              I don’t know if this mindset is necessarily representative of “the left” but it’s not particularly right and it’s not particularly centrist.

              (And you caught that she was saying it in the WaPo, right? You caught that, right?)Report

              • Chris in reply to Jaybird
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                Yeah, I don’t know what to make of her, but she’s one person, so I’m not particularly worried about her opinion. Perhaps she has some influence? All the responses to her I can find on Twitter are critical, and seemingly from the right.

                To be comparable to the calls for government intervention on the right, we’d need actual lawmakers to try to do what Pao is saying lawmakers should do, though, so we’re still far away from anything like the equivalency Walsh suggests, even if we stipulate that a non-trivial number of people agree with Pao.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chris
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                She has enough influence to be writing that in the WASHINGTON FREAKING POST.

                To be comparable to the calls for government intervention on the right

                Oh, is that where we were going?

                Is this one of those things where I need to find another couple of examples because of the editorial in the WaPo isn’t sufficient and then we can point to a random guy on twitter as representative of “the right” and telling me that I have to find someone that maps to *THAT*?

                But, no, @johnnyfirstname3219845972 doesn’t count as someone being on the left?Report

              • Chris in reply to Jaybird
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                That’s where we’re going because that’s literally where Republicans have gone. Like, as in actually openly discussing making laws, all over the country.

                And sure, more than one example would be good, but I don’t think it really matters. The fact that there aren’t a bunch immediately jumping out suggests that it’s not much of a thing.

                That it is in the Washington Post? A Bezos paper with a centrist/conservative editorial page? I’m not sure what that’s supposed to show us. That they publish click-bait, maybe?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chris
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                There are a bunch, but I don’t want to play the “find me a rock” game.

                That it is in the Washington Post? A Bezos paper with a centrist/conservative editorial page? I’m not sure what that’s supposed to show us. That they publish click-bait, maybe?

                That the whole idea that tech oligarchs shouldn’t control the media showing up in a Bezos paper is, at best, representative of a blind spot.

                At best.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Chris
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                Ackshully, FWIW, I would dispute the first part of Walsh’s comment, not the second.

                When have we liberals NOT wanted to have some sort of regulation over major corporations?

                But of course the idiocy would be seeing a discrepancy between “Twitter is a private company [and can kick Trump off for violations of TOS] and Pao’s editorial.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
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                So we were talking the other day about how people who write for the Washington Freaking Post live in insulated bubbles and don’t represent the views of typical Americans…Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                I don’t recall that.

                Could you link to that?Report

              • Pinky in reply to Jaybird
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                WaPo job ad in the Haidt thread.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Pinky
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                OH! The “why do we need to hear about people in Texas instead of the ones on the coast?” discussion!

                Yeah, I guess if we agree that the WaPo is in an insulated bubble, Pao’s editorial is probably further evidence of that.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Jaybird
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                I’m not going to claim I understand this conversation. I just caught the reference, that’s all.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Pinky
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                For what it’s worth, I didn’t see the Washington Post’s posting a job ad as evidence of the Washington Post being in a bubble as much as I saw it as the Washington Post thinking that it didn’t have insight that it thought it should have.

                We never really got to whether it was right to think that. Mostly mocking the idea that other people might think that it was right/wrong to think that it didn’t have that insight.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Jaybird
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                I assumed your initial comment about it on the Haidt thread was to emphasize the way the elites ponder the behaviour of the mysterious primitive tribe, and how they keep going back to examine their inferiors rather than talk to or debate equals. I never considered that you meant the WaPo was interested in actually covering them, just as I wouldn’t consider that the WaPo is interested in actually covering them.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Pinky
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                “Conservatives in the Mist” coverage is always amusing but I more saw it as the WaPo realizing “we can’t cover them from here… like we can’t even lie to ourselves about being able to do that”.

                It didn’t get to the “the locals at the bowling alley are drinking beer unironically…” stuff. It was a take on the whole Tower of Babel thing where they actually realized “we’re not hearing this particular language”.

                For what it’s worth, I think that they’re right that they’re not.

                But I also know that it’s unlikely that boots on the ground will give them enough of a foothold to grasp the other culture.

                Much like Chip hinted, they’ll go to Austin and be delighted by the music and food scene and be surprised that Austin is in Texas.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                If you just wrote that “Conservatives in the Mist” line, my hat is off to you. I was fumbling trying to express exactly that phenomenon.Report

              • Greg In Ak in reply to Jaybird
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                The “C’s in the Mist coverage” is always a funny times given there are many groups that never even get that level of coverage. For the past few years Wapo, NYT, CNN tromp off to diners in Ohio while for some reason never sending them to black churches in Georgia. Or for that matter talk to liberals in Ohio or Alabama. C’s get more national coverage then almost any other group.Report

              • JS in reply to Greg In Ak
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                Trump alone got himself billions in free air-time from the “biased liberal media”.

                I do love hearing conservatives bemoan how the “coastal elites” look down on them, while earnestly explaining how they are real America — and the coastal elites aren’t.

                it’s apparently not hypocrisy because, obviously, they are right. Iowa is America in a way New York isn’t.

                I mean despite New York being one of those founding States and all.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Greg In Ak
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                Maybe they do, although I’d bet against it. But it’s all done in the way you’d examine another species. They probably think they understand all black people because of the black friends they had in undergrad at Syracuse. As for the Hispanics, they have their own TV stations, right?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Greg In Ak
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                You should respond to the WaPo’s tweet with that.

                Don’t tell me. Tell them!Report

              • Greg In Ak in reply to Jaybird
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                That has been tweeted at Wapo and all the big media many times and by people with a lot of followers.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Greg In Ak
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                They should send somebody down to Atlanta.

                Lord knows that place could use a news presence.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Greg In Ak
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                The same way that the extremely online liberals were amazed at Joe’s popularity contra Bernie most conservatives view of liberals is always someone who is highly online and visible.

                Like even here, when Jaybird wanted to quickly find “liberal arguing for regulation of Twitter” he went online and found a highly online visible columnist.

                It’s like searching for the car keys under the lamppost. We speak online, argue online, research online. If a voice isn’t on Twitter or major media in a Google le format, it doesn’t exist.

                If Paos proposal were to be put to a vote among Democrats, would it garner Bernie level of support or Biden level of support?

                “Middle aged Black woman professional” isn’t likely to be spouting off online where her voice is easily Googlable, so Paos voice was found instead.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels
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                Who would have thought that a Ten-Second Sidebar about a tweet from a guy who was looking to buy Twitter would refer to tweets! It’s got to be proof that conservatives think everyone’s on Twitter. This should have been a more fully-documented article about breaking news, with detailed links and sourcing.Report

          • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
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            No.Report

        • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          I’ve learned that there is no accounting for your feelings. But if Musk’s proposed purchase would violate any relevant laws — and I’m not sure it does — that would, of course, be seeking to have government to prevent it. But that’s what you should say if it is illegal, not a flip-flop. Which was the point of the original snark.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
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            Yeah, that wouldn’t be seeking to have the government prevent it. The fact that it’s illegal means that the government already is!

            But I still suspect that people are using “illegal” to signal how much they’re against it.

            I guess an example that would address the original snark would be somebody arguing “we need regulation of social-media platforms to prevent rich people from controlling our channels of communication” or similar.Report

            • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
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              Yeah, that wouldn’t be seeking to have the government prevent it. The fact that it’s illegal means that the government already is!

              A delightfully optimistic, if not naive, view of law enforcement.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
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                says:

                Eh, I see “enforce the law!” as a different kind of squelch than “the government should do something!”

                I mean, assuming a law.

                If there’s not a law, it’s just “the government should do something” wearing a costume.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Chris
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        Related to Walsh’s question:
        https://puck.news/the-rights-mackenzie-scott-problem/

        Tl;Dr is that many of the leading billionaires are contributing to socially liberal causes and this fact is causing many conservatives to re-evaluate their commitments to private capital liberty.

        I see it as a data point of the cleavage of the social conservative wing from the financial libertarian wing.

        The difference in reaction is that despite the assistance provided by wealthy social liberals, there just isn’t much support for capital liberty on the left; most liberals are still eager to raise MacKenzie Scott’s taxes and regulate her business no different than if she were one of the Kochs.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Chris
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        Official Confirmation:

        Report

  2. Pinky
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    This is a little like Napoleon marching into Russia – why would you even want it?Report

    • InMD in reply to Pinky
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      To crush his enemies, to see them driven before him, and to hear the lamentations of their women (the precise nature of whom is a philosophical question that cannot be answered in 280 characters or less).Report

      • Pinky in reply to InMD
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        Musk, Bezos, Gates, and Zuckerberg do seem like the most flat-out Bond villain candidates. People like Bloomberg and the Koches don’t really measure up. Nominating Trump or Soros would trigger too many arguments. Branson would make the list except he’s trying too hard. I’m sure some of the Russian oligarchs would fit the role, and Putin might, but only as an idiot frontman or enforcer for one of the oligarchs.Report

        • InMD in reply to Pinky
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          says:

          The war in Ukraine will only end when a two foot tall guy with metal teeth and a strange but impossible to place accent shoots Putin in the back, then quips ‘I’m sorry, Vladimir, but you seem to have outlived your usefulness.’Report

  3. John Puccio
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    Elon Musk is winning the Simulation.Report

  4. Saul Degraw
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    Per former OTer Patrick, Elon Musk also basically said he does not have the cash for this plan and is doing nothing to raise the cash, and reverses his right to change his mind. In short, this feels a lot like one of his attention grabbing stunts.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw
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      I’ve seen the theory that this is just a monumental pump&dump.

      The good news for people that think that Elon buying twitter is bad news is that the Saudi stakeholders have publicly refused the deal.

      Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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        Elon Musk has responded to the tweet!

        Vince McMahon ought to be taking notes.Report

    • JS in reply to Saul Degraw
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      Musk buys Twitter stock at a relative low. Stock appreciates in value. Musk ensures everyone knows he has large stake, puts himself in the news, pushes buyout he can’t afford. Stock rises 20%. Musk executes pre-planned sale for profit.

      Next month: Musk screams about how SEC is “stalking him” and “freedom of speech” as they fine him yet again for the exact same behavior he’s gotten fined for several times before.

      Fine is tiny fraction of profits.

      I can’t help but wonder how much regulatory compliance would change if fines were set based on how much money breaking the regulations earned/saved/gained the company, plus say…10%.

      Fining someone 200k over profits of 20m isn’t a fine that changes behavior. It’s a very tiny tax.Report

      • Pinky in reply to JS
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        I don’t think so. Musk does things he believes in (even crazy things), rather than pursue safe profits.Report

        • Greg In Ak in reply to Pinky
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          Musk pursues profits and attention. None of his ventures are wild shot risks even if the tech needs to be developed. Each of his big things ( space x and tesla) were obvious needs that people had been talking about for years and other companies have been working on.

          His tunnel crap is …IDK but it’s something. His ventures have always courted and used all the government funds he can get which is safe safe safe.Report

          • Pinky in reply to Greg In Ak
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            There aren’t that many space companies, and I don’t think there’s been a new car company in 50 years.Report

            • Greg In Ak in reply to Pinky
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              All the old car companies are building electric cars which has been a widely known goal for years. Yeah not many new car companies mostly because we have a lot of big ones already.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Greg In Ak
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                That makes starting a new car company sound like a wild shot risk.Report

              • Greg In Ak in reply to Pinky
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                Starting to build an electric car which many have been wanting and working on for a long time is a good business move. Not w/o risk but it’s not like every other car company hasn’t been working on them also. He was a new entrant into a race with many other competitors. He also used all the gov funding he could get which lessened his risk and also shows that Space X and Tesla were things widely wanted. NASA didn’t funnel money to Space X because they didn’t want a private space company. Tesla was able to focus on their new product sicne they weren’t selling hundreds of thousands of regular cars already.

                They were not wild risks since there was a ready and willing market with gov helping out. That is not a wild shot. Their task was pushing tech forward which they have done with Space X. Tesla is going to be Porsche of electrics while Toyota, Ford, etc are going to be selling electrics in far greater numbers.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Greg In Ak
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                This seems like a really weak argument.

                There’s an anti-Musk theme in this thread from the left, and maybe I shouldn’t be noticing it, but this particular argument you’re making seems too weak for it to be worth making on its own. I don’t know the guy’s career, and maybe he does a lot of things like buying large portions of companies and threatening takeovers, but there have been quite a few comments to the effect that this is all about money or attention, and they’ve come from Saul, JS, Philip H, and DavidTC, and they haven’t provided reasons for their positions.

                I think my speculation (James Bond villain) is the soundest way to explain a guy who builds tunnels, spaceships, and flame throwers. Maybe money and attention are a good explanation as well. But safety?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky
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                This ties to my reference to that Puck article about Mackenzie Scott and the role of billionaires in our national discourse.

                The central feature of a supervillain is that they are usually very frail and brittle, overgrown manbabys with deep psychic wounds and possessing a small petty view of the world.

                We live in a Gilded Age where superrich stride the world, possessing fortunes larger than the output of entire nations and wielding immense power, yet like the gods of Greek mythology, having all the same old human frailty and flaws.

                Its a bit like that Twilight Zone episode where Billy Mumy has the power of a god and wields it in terrifyingly petty and spiteful ways.

                I know that conservatives grasp this- they explained it perfectly well when they were complaining that Jack Dorsey had the singlehanded power to silence the President of the United States.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Pinky
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                Something is weird on the site: I actually got your followup comment down below in my email about how you had indirectly asked this above, and I followed the link to reply…and that comment of yours appears to not be on this page? Along with another comment that I made. So who knows what’s going on here, some caching problem. But I’ll respond up here instead:

                The reason we are all saying this is that Musk has gotten into dustups with the SEC before by making public comments to manipulate stock prices…just before, it was Telsa stock prices. Back in 2018. It’s why he had to step down as the chairman of the board.

                He also, in this _very incident_, saved several hundred million dollars by delaying his disclosure of his Twitter stock purchase, and he is currently being sued by someone over that delay!

                He’s also notable tweeted about bitcoin and used Telsa itself, to manipulate the price of it. Telsa announced it had already bought a bunch of bitcoin and made the price of its bitcoin shoot up, and then they secretly sold it all and announced they weren’t accepting it three months later. Probably making a ton of money, but, of course, it’s bitcoin, so we have no idea how much he made, and apparently it’s automatically legal if bitcoin.

                And it seems likely he is now doing it with Twitter. Maybe I’m wrong, I don’t know, but his announcement caused the price of their stock to jump up 30%, and…he’s literally just filed something with the SEC that said he might ‘reconsider’ his ownership if his takeover fails, which it _obviously_ was going to…so he’s got an excuse to get out.

                At the now-higher price.

                But Elon Musk fundamentally does not believe that securities laws apply to him. He thinks he can do and say anything he wants to, to make prices move where he wants them to, and then buy and sell.Report

              • Pinky in reply to DavidTC
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                Thanks for the explanation.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Pinky
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                I think really the only actual question is: Did he think there was any possibility that this would work?

                I.e., was this 100% a scam to manipulate the stock price, or did he going in thinking ‘Well, either I will end up owning Twitter and if I fail, at least I’ll have skyrocketed the stock price so I can sell out of my position for a profit.’.

                We’ll never know what he was thinking, though.Report

          • John Puccio in reply to Greg In Ak
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            If it’s not a wild shot risk to start a private space company with the goal of colonizing Mars, I’d genuinely like to know what you consider to be a wild shot risk.Report

            • Greg In Ak in reply to John Puccio
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              He’s not colonizing Mars. That is a publicity bs. His solid business idea is making it easy and cheaper to get to space to launch satliates. That has been a known need for years. NASA gave him money to help because they wanted private companies to make it cheaper for close in space. Other companies are doing the same thing. Musk isn’t sending anybody to die on Mars. We aren’t remotely close to having a colony on Mars unless the first victims want to die of radiation poisoning or cancer.

              Any talk of colonizing Mars is sci fi at this point.Report

              • John Puccio in reply to Greg In Ak
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                SpaceX’s mission statement is “The Company was founded in 2002 to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.”

                Also, you didn’t answer the question.Report

              • Greg In Ak in reply to John Puccio
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                Nice mission statement. Getting a rocket to Mars is one thing. Surviving there is something we are not even close to. We can’t keep people alive there at all. It would be a gruesome death from radiation or starvation. Mars would is a death trap now and for the next decades.

                Space X is a solid business that i respect.

                What would be a wild shot? Hmmm Maybe starting to build a workable commercial fusion reactor now and hoping to figure out all the problems along the way.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to JS
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        Yeah, I don’t understand why anyone thinks this is a real offer.

        Musk does this sort of nonsense, and he is apparently allowed to, when in any sane universe he would have been forced to no longer participate in the stock market the first few times he did it, or at minimum fined more than he made.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
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          For me, I thought that there was something to it based on the purchase of 9% of the stock, the failed board member thing, and the SEC filing.

          I suspect it’s more likely that he’s going to end up with 20% of the company than with 50.1% (let alone 100%!), but those three things in tandem made me say “he’s making a play here”.Report

          • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
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            …he has to purchase the stock so he can sell the stock when the price goes up because people start buying it because of what he’s doing.

            Him deciding to not join the board is just a PR thing. I really don’t know why him saying ‘I will join the board’ and then immediately ‘I won’t join the board’ is supposed to make him look more serious in your eyes?

            Yes, he can’t join the board if he wants to do a hostile takeover, but…why would he have _said_ he was joining the board to start with if that was the plan?

            As for the SEC thing: He not only is required by law to do those disclosures, he, uh, actually broke that law:
            https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/elon-musk-lawsuit-twitter-sued-sec-disclosures-rcna24138

            And speaking of those, his newest disclosure said he “would need to reconsider [his] position as a shareholder” if his takeover didn’t succeed. Yeah…interesting there.

            What he’s done is deliberately made a lot of noise about taking over Twitter to get the stock to jump up, and he’s going to jump out whenever he feels like it, selling his shares at around (at this point) about 30% profit. He just needs to fake it long enough that he can make his extremely flimsy excuses (Well, I was trying to buy the entire thing, and I said so! I just failed, so I sold off what I had bought!) for his obviously fraudulent behavior stand up, so it can stand up to the incredibly weak enforcement actions of the SEC.Report

            • Pinky in reply to DavidTC
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              I indirectly asked this question above, so let me make it more direct: does Musk do this kind of thing a lot? If so, could you cite some examples? (I don’t know much about the guy, so I’m not saying you’re wrong. I just don’t know.) And if not, why are you so confident that this is just PR and money?Report

  5. North
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    Maybe he’ll raise the character limit waaaaay past 280 characters so we can be spared the miserable phenomena of a tweet storm (for fish’s sake, write a blog entry or something). Or maybe he’ll reduce the character limit to nothing so it can just be a repository of pictures and memes. Either one would improve twitter enormously.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to North
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      I’ve heard the argument that twitter should be 140 characters plus a “more” button (if more characters are needed, of course).

      Click “more”, you get the rest of the tweet. If that’s 5 characters, it’s 5 characters. If it’s a 5000 word essay, it’s a 5000 word essay.

      Overnight it becomes the blogging platform of choice for the entire dang world.

      And we get a thousand “Girls, here’s how to best apply foundation with a sponge. I like the Ulta Beauty Wedge. It’s $3 for one or 3 for $6.99. Start with a drop of foundation, about the size of a pea, and OKAY ALL OF THE BOYS ARE GONE THE REVOLUTION STARTS AT MIDNIGHT” posts.Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird
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        Twitter was originally based on the SMS text service all cellular networks are required to provide. No separate data service is required. Most (but not all) modern networks support SMS segmenting and concatenation for longer messages. I believe, but am not entirely sure, that Twitter’s 280-character messages are not done with SMS segmenting, but are a home-grown bit of protocol.

        Once you go past 140 characters, there are parts of the world where your message can’t be delivered, or may be truncated.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain
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          Oh, yeah. Twitter started in that wonderful space when the Razr was the phone that they gave to executives in the movies and the iPhone hadn’t come out yet.

          I totally understand why they were doing the SMS protocol then…

          But in the current year?

          (But I say this as a desktop twitter user and only an infrequent phone user.)Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to North
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      I would bet money that a tweet thread/storm still gets more readership than a blog post because it seems shorter/less difficult/less like school work.Report

  6. Philip H
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    Musk is no more interested in freedom of speech then Putin is. he wants to make money; he wants to silence critics; and he wants to remain culturally relevant – in that order. Were he to actually buy Twitter – and Saudi’s weighing in will impact his fund raising – and take it fully private I suspect he’d be way more interested in canceling people he doesn’t agree with or who he thinks make him look bad. Much like Donald Trump he’s got a very big ego and a very thin skin.Report

  7. Jaybird
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    A hedge fund has become the largest stakeholder.

    Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
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      IOW, they think that it’s going up in the short term, and that they’ll know when to get out.Report

    • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      The Vanguard Group isn’t a hedge fund; it’s a collection of, mostly, boring but sound mutual funds that mainly invest in an index or similarly passive style. It’s a big enough presence in the overall market to buy a bunch of Twitter even as a passive investment. If Vanguard were making some kind of bet or play on Twitter, it would be out of their investment style and, consequently, big news.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to CJColucci
        Ignored
        says:

        Vanguard is actually a good place to get no-fee index funds, and what I recommend to people who want to put money ‘in the stock market’.

        I mean, I’m sure they’re horrible people in some way and their business is built on eating live baby seals, but, like, they do have a bunch of investment setups that are basically free and fee-less, where you can invest in a fund indexed to the S&P 500 or whatever without any cost.Report

  8. Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    An update:

    Report

  9. Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Is it done?

    Report

  10. Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    News you can use:

    Report

    • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Heh, they should just build their own platform…

      Going to Truth Social to pwn the, the, um, the Musks.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine
        Ignored
        says:

        Did the pendulum used to swing this much?

        Was there that much a difference between Truman and Eisenhower and Kennedy and LBJ and Nixon and Carter and Reagan?Report

        • Pinky in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          Did Eisenhower’s election cause .04% of the population to change apps? Am I reading that question correctly?Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Pinky
            Ignored
            says:

            Hey, I’m just trying to think about the pendulum swinging from this cultural dominance to that one.

            If you don’t think presidents are worth much as a somewhat lagging indicator, I’d love to hear a better one.Report

        • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          Well, it is certainly easier to drop twitter than it is to move to Canada like lots of people promised… so maybe this time will be different.

          I honestly don’t know what Musk is hoping to do with Twitter… I assume it has something to do with embedding short tik-tok like videos and much much better ad targeting and some sort of for-pay influencer scheme better than whatever they were trying to do with Blue.

          After that? Maybe adjusting who’s on the naughty/nice list for the secret algorithm pushing timeline tweets. I suppose adjusting some moderation will get all the ink, but I’m put my money on monetization and/or better integration with something like sub-stack… or a gateway to twitter-stack. But mostly money.Report

  11. InMD
    Ignored
    says:

    Well that’s it. Total societal collapse is now imminent.Report

  12. Pinky
    Ignored
    says:

    I think I just lost a comment in a computer crash, or maybe I already said this elsewhere on this thread. But at the risk of repeating myself: Saul, JS, Philip H, and DavidTC indicated that there was no reason to take this bid seriously. The near-unanimity from the liberal OT side made me wonder if this was ideologically-driven, or based on some common media or liberal talking points. If this does go through, the error should be noted.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Pinky
      Ignored
      says:

      For me, it’s not the “I don’t think that he’s going to go through with this… I think it’s a ploy…” makes sense.

      I could totally see how someone would have looked at what Musk was doing and then said “he’s up to something”.

      It’s the “I don’t understand why anyone thinks this is a real offer” that has me saying “this is a personal epistemology problem. Find a new way to look at things that could get you to a place where you can understand why someone else might think it it’s a real offer.”

      I’m wrong, like, *ALL THE TIME*. The fact that I’m wrong all the time helps me see “I don’t understand why someone else thinks X” as a problem with *ME*. It’s not an indicator that other people are dumb! IT’S AN INDICATOR THAT I AM DUMB. It’s a sign that I need to figure out how to be less dumb!Report

      • Pinky in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Maybe “this couldn’t possibly be true, no one could believe it” is just an intensifier.Report

      • SaltMan in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Yes, a personal epistemology problem. Namely, an inability to do math, assess the product value, or explain why Elon Musk’s Tesla drives into a marijuana dispensary on 4/20. And then hits a private jet on Earth day.

        I live in a world where these things make sense.

        Last week, The DOD goes in front of congress and says “it is critical that we continue to control Twitter/Big Tech in order to Win the War against Russia”. That’s… what do you say, brazen?Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to Pinky
      Ignored
      says:

      Twitter accepted the offer.

      I know this puts me in the minority, but I’m going to wait and see. Everything Musk has been involved in winds up doing something different than people thought when he got involved. Eg, SpaceX is building very non-traditional rockets, and (at least IMO) is in the process of taking over the heavy launch business. Tesla is fooling with all sorts of things that are possible when you’re an enormous provider of lithium-ion batteries. He’s convinced a bunch of banksters to put $30B or so into taking Twitter private. I’m sure he’s told them more than “We’ll clean up after we give Trump his account back.”Report

    • Philip H in reply to Pinky
      Ignored
      says:

      Yes, we got it wrong. Mostly the cowardice of the Twitter board of directors. Beyond that I’m fairly certain this won’t actually do anything for free speech, and certainly won’t make Mr. Musk any more welcome in liberal circles.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Philip H
        Ignored
        says:

        Were you right to have been wrong? Would any thinking person have reached the same conclusions that you reached if only they weren’t blinded by wishful thinking and/or ideology?Report

        • Philip H in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          A great many thinking people reached that conclusion, biases and all. Clearly we got it wrong. What else, exactly do you want from me?Report

          • CJColucci in reply to Philip H
            Ignored
            says:

            Don’t ask.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Philip H
            Ignored
            says:

            As I said before: I understand “I looked at this and think that he’s up to something else.”

            I don’t understand “I don’t see how someone else could look at something and come to a different conclusion than the one I’ve come to.”Report

            • Pinky in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              I’m speculating that the statement “I can’t believe anyone thinks…” means only that (a) I heard a different theory, and (b) that different theory fits my priors. The only question is whether (a) and (b) result in a person actually not being able to believe that anyone thinks differently. I don’t think it has to follow. It could simply be “no one I respect thinks…”.Report

            • Philip H in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              I don’t understand “I don’t see how someone else could look at something and come to a different conclusion than the one I’ve come to.”

              That is the most transparently bad faith trollish thing you’ve ever written. That’s your whole schitck. But hey, way to be consistent I guess.

              See, lots of people look at the same things I do – even people here – and reach differing conclusions. I think those conclusions are badly reasoned, but they think the same about me.

              And now one guy is going to control one part of the Internet where that happens – albeit a part I don’t interact with because I use my time here. One guy controlling an information stream like that is never good. But a lot of people like the idea because they think it will shut people like me up. Which it won’t. Not here. Not there.

              Again, though, C+ for trolling effort.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                Here’s the copy/paste:

                “I don’t understand why anyone thinks this is a real offer”

                I didn’t write that. I copied/pasted it.

                I absolutely and totally understand looking at a situation and thinking X instead of Y when Y is correct.

                I AM WRONG ALL THE TIME.

                It’s the “I don’t understand why someone would think Y” that I think is bad.

                Again: I’ve got no problem with people not reaching the same conclusions that I’ve reached. Hey, as I said, I’m wrong a lot. It’s when I cannot comprehend how Y could possibly happen and then Y happens that I know that I was in a bad place before. Like, not merely one that didn’t allow me to guess that Y might happen, but one where I was actively believing that it could not.

                It’s not the different conclusions.
                It’s the being cut off from different conclusions.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                SO you will notice this thread STARTS with me admitting I got it wrong. I still say at the time, with available evidence, that it appeared to be a major Elon Musk troll. The man shot a car with a dummy into space for crying out loud.

                That’s all you are going to get out of me however. Unless you want to ask cogent well formed questions I can respond to.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                I heard that it was David Bowie.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                More seriously, we still don’t know if we’re right!

                The deal hasn’t gone through until the deal goes through! The deal still might not go through and I saw someone claiming that this is just one of Musk’s head-fakes to do damage to Twitter but it backfired and now he has to run back to staunch the bleeding at Tesla!

                Until the deal is officially through or officially cancelled, it’s still Schrodinger’s Deal.

                My main argument isn’t “HA! I’M RIGHT YOU’RE WRONG”.

                Good God. I’m wrong all the time.

                My argument is, and was, “I can totally see how someone could see that this is a real deal.” (And, yes, how someone could look at it and see shenanigans similar to previous shenanigans.)Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Here’s a take arguing that the deal won’t go through.

                Makes sense!

                (But it still might.)Report

            • Pinky in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              In fairness, I think it was only DavidTC who used a “no one could possibly believe this”-type formulation.Report

  13. Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    The CEO of Twitter has reportedly just sent out this email:

    Parag himself has just tweeted this out:

    The last tweet he sent was the one where he said that he didn’t come to an agreement with Elon about Elon getting on the board. (Or, of course, maybe he sent some other ones but then deleted them. In any case, his timeline now shows that one and then the Elon board one.)Report

  14. Kazzy
    Ignored
    says:

    Hm… I wasn’t on Twitter before and all this hubbub indicates I should do… something… so I guess I should sign up for Twitter? And then quit? Or something?

    More seriously, my general understanding of Twitter is that it is a barely functioning cesspool that savvy people can make work for them reasonably well but which overall probably does as much harm as good, with individual people’s experiences varying pretty dramatically in terms of their personal calculus. Is that reasonably accurate?

    If I’m right… if Twitter seems to kind of teeter on the brink, never quite collapsing but constantly falling short of its potential for good… I imagine the most likely outcome is that Musk pushes it one way or another… and that is most likely to be positive one way or another. Either he opens the floodgates and the whole thing burns itself into the ground OR he figures out how to maximize — or at least begin to realize — its potential and it starts to flourish in a much more positive light.

    Maybe that’s just wishful thinking or ignorance or both. But, as a non-user and someone kind of ambivalent to Elon Musk, that’s my two cents.Report

    • North in reply to Kazzy
      Ignored
      says:

      I think the only safe thing to say is that Elon Musk is gonna lose a lot of money and end up owning Twitter. Maybe we should send him a fruit basket.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to North
        Ignored
        says:

        Conspiracy Theory:

        He’s going to sell part of it to the government. Wait, not sell. *LEASE*.

        Also, it’s the world’s biggest advertising platform and he can put Tesla ads on EVERYBODY’s timeline. And not just Tesla.

        So he gives Trump his account back, gets government Twitter contracts out the wazoo, and has real-time zeitgeist feedback that can be used for his other hobbies. Tesla, the tunnel thing, Space X, and so-on.

        That’s the conspiracy theory that *I* have seen.Report

        • North in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          Ok, I mean if we’re wrapping our heads in tin foil I’ll indulge in the other direction.

          When I think about Trumps victory in ’16 one thing that leaps out for me is that in the run up to the election one of the things that Trumps people did that helped him win was they took away his phone. Like, he went radio silence for around almost a month running up to November. Now obviously HIllary’s deficiencies existed, Comeys insane intervention happened etc etc but shutting Trump up was something that Trumps people could actually affirmatively do.

          Now in the run up to the midterms Musk is buying Twitter and is purportedly going to give Trump his account back. This is effectively the opposite of taking Trumps phone away.

          So… are we 100% certain Elon Musk is a closet righty out to destroy the left by torching their precious little bird crap crusted insular twitnests? Or is he a closet liberal trying to give Trump the ability to shoot himself in the foot again in the run up to a national election?

          And now I’m out of tin foil.Report

          • Michael Cain in reply to North
            Ignored
            says:

            We (and I include the banks putting up a bunch of the money to acquire Twitter) already know that Twitter will have to deal with the EU’s impending hate speech and disinformation rules. None of them are going to put up the kind of money they did if they believe Musk is about to announce, “There will be a US operation where content is unrestricted, and a rest-of-the-world operation that monitors and suspends or blocks users who say things like Trump does.”Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to Kazzy
      Ignored
      says:

      I’ve said it in other comments here, but… Musk also owns an ISP with a truly global reach.

      Zuckerberg spent a lot of money on transoceanic fiber, fooling with a LEO satellite grid, high-flying drones, and (I believe) a geosynchronous satellite trying to provide ISP service to Africa alone. Zuck has since sold his LEO effort to Amazon. Musk’s Twitter purchase may just be the reverse of that — he needed the server farms, the UI and back office teams, and a well-known initial service offering.

      Musk is reaching Bezos’s scale. When Bezos bought Whole Foods for $13B all of the commentary was negative. Amazon has tried a number of experiments with those physical facilities, figuring out what works with the rest of the business and what doesn’t. Despite that, he didn’t mess with the basic Whole Foods high-end grocery service.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Michael Cain
        Ignored
        says:

        In passing… my wife and I were just talking about how bad Whole Foods is since the take-over; from our perspective he *did* mess with the Whole Foods high-end grocery service.

        Whole foods is a mess right now.Report

        • Michael Cain in reply to Marchmaine
          Ignored
          says:

          Bezos, or the pandemic and ongoing supply chain fiascos? All of my local grocers are a mess right now. There’s not a trip to the grocers that I don’t come home cursing these days.Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to Michael Cain
            Ignored
            says:

            Honestly it’s the homogenization of producers; I used to sell to Whole Foods (long time ago) and they were famous for buying from lots and lots of producers and spent a lot of time/money in regional and local programs to bring in interesting foods.

            This aspect has been declining for a while; ironically if they had a more robust local/regional network like they had in the past, they’d have fewer supply chain issues.

            My suspicion watching it change over since the take-over is that smart people recognized that having so many producers selling small (boutique) products was very inefficient and probably driving up costs.

            However, efficiency attempting to drive down costs is precisely what leads to the homogenization of large producers selling inferior products. I say this as someone who was an early supporter of the quirky over-priced foods (even when I was poor) because the quality and variety was un-matched. It saddens me this is gone.Report

  15. Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    As a fellow non-user and equally ambivalent about Musk I share the sentiment.

    About the only take I can summon up is to reflect on the amount of power that can be amassed by one person for good or ill and how this fits into the American ideal of a republican democracy.Report

  16. Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Tech peoples, I have a question:

    Is the old previous policy a normal one for a company of this size?

    Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      The couple of times I was involved with an effectively hostile takeover, yeah, steps were taken to keep disgruntled employees from screwing with software.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain
        Ignored
        says:

        Oh, I understand that! I’m just sort of surprised by the whole “it was easy to make unauthorized changes before?” question that I had not considered until the moment that I saw it announced that the policy was ending.Report

        • Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          Not easy, but possible for select individuals to change the software and push those to the field without anyone else confirming it.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain
            Ignored
            says:

            I suppose that the dumb question involves The Algorithm.

            There are calls to make The Algorithm open source.
            But making it open source makes it gameable.
            I suppose I can appreciate the need to constantly tweak and mold and pat The Algorithm to keep ahead of the gaming folks, but would an open source one benefit most non-power users?Report

            • Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              Ah, but which algorithm? And how is the code distributed to end user devices? If I’m a disgruntled employee, you can bet that I’m going to f*ck up algorithms that affect a revenue stream, or produce serious customer outrage. In one instance I remember, for 45 minutes any customer who tuned to the Disney channel — or let their kids do it unattended — got hardcore porn. The code change got pushed, and the person who did it had taken pains to make it hard to override. Several million users sat with blank screens during prime time while their boxes went through a hard reset and download of all code.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, I mean, I’m kind of a fan of “in backwards chronological order, see tweets from people that you follow, mute the words that you’ve muted, also you get to enjoy advertisements from our sponsors and we will make sure you get the freshest and most appropriate ads for you” when it comes to how tweets are picked for my timeline.

                Which, of course, means ads for superhero movies, medication, and sportsbook.

                I suppose the stuff in WHAT’S HAPPENING is algorithmically generated.

                As is the stuff curated by the so-called “quality filter” (e.g., shadowbanning and whatnot). That’s where I think that a transparent filter would be most interesting for me… but I could see why pre-Musk twitter wouldn’t want it available.Report

        • Brandon Berg in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          I could push a change right now that would break a web site with millions of daily visitors. I’m not supposed to push changes without having at least one other person review them, but I can. People would know it was me, and I might get fired, and possibly prosecuted and/or sued if it were suspected that I had done it maliciously, but our source repository and deployment tools don’t actually prevent me from doing so.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Michael Cain
        Ignored
        says:

        Me too, once in particular. Pretty much all of engineering left, and we were escorted a few at a time to our desks to box stuff up, and then to sit in a conference room to wait for our severance checks to be cut.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      I can’t make changes without at least one other person’s OK, but that person could be at or below my level, and once the change is in I could push it. Like Brandon said, it would be obvious it was me, meaning heavy consequences for anything malicious. (I don’t work on anything user-facing, so I’d have to be very clever indeed to do anything visible besides cause outages.)

      In my Dad’s day, on big IBM iron, nothing changed without The Designated Authorities say-so; I’d guess that’s still the case at banks and power plants. With less critical software, we have to be agile to keep up.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      (looks at how Google Maps routinely releases unannounced app changes that delete features and break workflows)

      sounds good to me!Report

  17. Philip H
    Ignored
    says:

    One possibility that hadn’t occurred to me – but should have, is Musk is trying to shot the stock he already owns. One way to do that – drive the price down (it’s dropped 5% in two days):

    Elon Musk is raising the pressure on Twitter management ahead of the social media group’s earnings on Thursday.

    The billionaire CEO of Tesla (ticker: TSLA) tweeted out a picture of charts from Apple ’s (AAPL) App Store that showed Truth Social was ranking higher than other social media platforms including Twitter (TWTR) and ByteDance’s TikTok.

    “Truth Social is currently beating Twitter & TikTok on the Apple Store,” said Musk, who reached a deal to buy Twitter for around $44 billion this week.

    https://www.barrons.com/articles/twitter-stock-price-elon-musk-pressure-51651050941?tesla=yReport

  18. Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    It’s getting *WEIRD*.

    Okay, fine. Then he tweeted this:

    I’m sure that you, an avid reader of Ordinary Times had a good chuckles about this. What the hell? A random sample of 100?!?!? A random sample needs to be 10,000 AT A BARE FREAKIN’ MINIMUM!

    Anyway, then he tweeted this:

    Wait. What?

    Now, I have to admit, I don’t *NECESSARILY* mind bots. I’m deliberately subscribed to several.

    There’s one that posts the lyrics to Toto’s Africa.
    There’s another from a museum that just posts exhibits from its collection.

    And there’s this one:

    Anyway, Parag Agrawal has been tweeting about the philosophical nature of bots and talking about the difficulty of accurately measuring how many bots there actually are.

    And then this happened:

    Anyway.

    IT’S GETTING WEIRD.Report

    • Douglas Hayden in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Tesla’s stock price looks to be returning to Earth while Musk is now doing the due diligence he should’ve done before throwing around meme offers. Weird, sure, but not entirely surprising.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Douglas Hayden
        Ignored
        says:

        Twitter is currently trading at around $38.

        Musk offered $54.20.

        This seems to indicate to me that people don’t think that the deal is going through.

        I mean, you could buy shares of Twitter right now and get, what? A 33% return? In less than a year?

        But people ain’t doing that.Report

        • Douglas Hayden in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          Yeah. I’m trying to be more Zen Master “we shall see” these days, so I’m still unsure where this all leads. But I wouldn’t be too horribly surprised if he did flake.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Douglas Hayden
            Ignored
            says:

            When I game it out, I see Elon saying something like “I was lied to about the number of bots, it wasn’t ~5%, it was ~20%, here’s also what I learned about the algorithm and shadow banning and the Trust and Safety Council and I was lied to so badly that my offer is now $42.69.” (Or some other dumb-assed number that will get people to laugh.)

            And we’ll get the people who were screaming “THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD PREVENT MUSK FROM BUYING TWITTER!” will pivot to “THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD FORCE MUSK TO BUY TWITTER!” and the people who were screaming that Musk absolutely needed to buy Twitter to save all of us are going to start explaining that, hey, maybe he doesn’t need to save us. Who can say whether someone needs saving?

            And it’ll get dumber.

            My guess is that Elon ends up with Twitter, he does *NOT* pay $54.20 for it, and he quickly finds that, he paid way too much for it even at the new share price he negotiates, whatever it’ll end up being.

            But that’s just a guess.Report

            • Douglas Hayden in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              I *think* that if $TSLA continues to drop and goes below its value from last summer, he’ll flake. The money just won’t be there. If not, then you’re probably right. In any case, “it’ll get dumber” is the safest bet.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              Just checked the price to confirm and noticed that Twitter was at ~$48 a month ago, ~$52 on April 25th, back to ~$48 one week ago, and, yep, it’s now at $37.92.

              Down 21% in the last month.

              I can only assume that the people panic selling are people who do not believe that the deal will go through.Report

  19. Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      “They didn’t want me around because I was too cool and they couldn’t handle it”Report

      • Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck
        Ignored
        says:

        And, on top of everything, Project Veritas got one of the senior engineers on some Third Date stuff.

        “If she’s a 10? SHE’S A SPY! YOU STUPID, STUPID ENGINEERS!”

        Report

  20. Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    And there it is:

    Report

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