Elon Musk Buys Twitter

Michael Siegel

Michael Siegel is an astronomer living in Pennsylvania. He blogs at his own site, and has written a novel.

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  1. Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    No one knows anything for sure, but people are gloating, fuming and panicking anyway. This time it’s not just on Twitter, it’s also *about* Twitter. In other words, whoever’s running the simulation decided to go recursive,Report

  2. Michael Cain
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    says:

    (1) I know, so I assume that people putting up billions of dollars for the purchase of a social media company know, that the EU is soon to impose much more stringent rules about controlling disinformation and hate speech on social media. I also assume that they asked Musk, and he had some sort of answer other than, “We won’t be providing service in Europe.”

    (2) Musk also owns an ISP with global reach that’s just about big enough to start adding customers at a brisk pace. I refuse to believe that owning an ISP and a major internet social media service are unrelated.Report

  3. Jaybird
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    says:

    The consensus seems to be that this a great for the Right Wing and bad for the Left Wing. The basis of this is … well, I’m not sure what the basis of this belief is.

    Who is screaming in agony about it?

    That is the basis of the belief.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      I wonder how much of that is based on any sort of analysis and how much of that is simply:

      Who is most angry at Twitter now? The right.
      Someone who is not clearly and reliably lefty has bought Twitter, so it must follow that the people who are going to be angry at Twitter going forward is going to be the other side.

      The assumption is that the pendulum is going to shift though it is entirely possible that the pendulum keeps moving in the same direction or stays put or, as Musk has shown before, suddenly starts moving beyond the back-and-forth dimension.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
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        says:

        Well, the majority of the analysis I’ve seen has been of the sort “who’s screaming? Oh, people I don’t like? THEREFORE THIS IS GOOD!” without, you know, anything else going on. (Granted, if we demand to know if both-sides-do-it, there is also analysis that goes something like “who’s dancing the streets? Oh, people I don’t like?”)

        There has been some minor analysis that goes so far as to say stuff like “Every accusation is a confession” and then links to something like this clip from MSNBC:

        Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          I should clarify:

          From what I see, it does seem like the folks screaming are from the Left. I was talking about those folks.

          Are they screaming because they’ve actually looked at the tea leaves and done some analysis and identified specific reasons why this may be bad for them or the things they value?

          Or are they screaming because Musk is a bit of a bogeyman and while they have issues with Twitter they like that it banned Trump so they’re just doing some sloppy math and assume those things combined will be inevitably bad for them?

          My hunch is that it’s the latter. So, more screaming is coming from the left. And everything follows from that.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
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            says:

            Oh, those folks?

            As far as I can tell, their analysis does have some “who’s happy?” but the worries about what will happen include stuff like:

            We’ll have Gamergate again.
            Frogs/Trolls/Groypers will start trolling again.
            Racists will be free to use slurs again.
            WE FINALLY TURNED TWITTER SAFE AND ELON WILL MAKE IT UNSAFE
            Oh, and people will post covid disinformation and people will die.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              Oh yes, I know those are the worries… but are those worries grounded in reality? We know Elon has rattled his saber about free speech but we don’t actually know what he’ll do.

              And as I said elsewhere, there is a possibly that he does throw the gates wide open and, as a result, Twitter just burns itself to the ground. Isn’t that more or less what happened with 4Chan or whatever?

              Now, Twitter going away might make folks upset but something will surely pop up in it’s place.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                Hrm. I *DO* think that the Trust and Safety Council, which was fairly active, will be toned down.

                There have been a number of jokes to the effect of how this all started with the Bee getting banned, for example.

                So I do think that the ratchet will be unlatched a couple of notches.

                Like, people who are worried that there will be more transphobic jokes are probably right to be worried about that. There will be more debate over stuff like Lia Thomas (debate that is *NOT* based in transphobic humor) and that will get the “HEY EVERYBODY LOOK AT THIS” treatment as they point at stuff that would have been squelched or shadowbanned at this time last year.

                There will be less shadowbanning.

                He will *QUICKLY* learn that he cannot go “wild wild west” with it.

                The tension is that twitter is available to anyone 13 and up *BUT* the site also allows people to post, like, uncensored sexual acts. And they are not particularly good about fencing off the “underage” and “of age” portions.

                And releasing that ratchet at all for the people who want to argue culture war will mean that there MIGHT be a release of the ratchet for sex work…

                If I’m gaming this out in my head, I’m guessing that there will be a government investigation into the whole “pornstars on twitter” thing and that’ll be the nose of the camel into the government regulating the site.

                Maybe Musk will make it 18+, but the second it becomes a hair more difficult than just having an email account and a checkbox, the site becomes Friendster.Report

              • InMD in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                The Babylon Bee was banned from Twitter?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to InMD
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                says:

                Well, suspended.

                It’s more like your history remains available for others to peruse but you can’t make any new posts until you delete the tweet that put you in suspension.

                (I think that that’s how that works.)Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Have you ever read “The Circle”? They made a (apparently bad) Tom Hanks movie about it. Anyway, I’m about halfway through… you might find it interesting.

                A major premise of it is that in the future, everyone will have to be their real selves on the internet and it forces everyone to be much better behaved.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                A major premise of it is that in the future, everyone will have to be their real selves on the internet and it forces everyone to be much better behaved.

                I have not read it, but I am familiar with the concept.

                A counter-point: Facebook and Nextdoor.

                Holy crap, people are nuts. Bonkers.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
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                says:

                Well, I don’t believe Facebook actually requires you to be your real self, though it seems to do more than Twitter. I know many people who are on Facebook with not-their-real-name and at least one person who made up a fake account for an invented member of our social circle (though that was years ago).

                As I said, I’m only halfway through the book so we’re just beginning to edge into the whole, “THIS THING SEEMS PERFECT BUT JUST YOU WAIT!” zone so I know that the idea — both in the book and in real life — is a flawed one. I would not endorse requiring folks to be their real selves online. It’s just interesting to be reading something that is like, super topically relevant with the day’s news.

                On the one hand, I definitely post differently when I’m attached to my real name versus when not, so anonymity undoubtedly has an impact. On the other hand, there are lots of forums I just don’t participate in because I would have to use my real name and I just don’t need to bring all that noise to myself.

                But, yea, I also see people very brazenly being themselves. Power to ’em!Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                Eh. I stopped going to facebook once I had an interaction that went something like this:

                Them: “I support policy X!”
                Jaybird: “Policy X will have unintended consequences.”
                Them: “WHY ARE YOU OPPOSED TO PEOPLE RECEIVING THE BENEFITS OF POLICY X?!?!?”

                This was on a friend’s timeline.

                I bowed out.

                I have no desire to write 5000 word essays for people I know and go to kids’ birthday parties with.

                Only for complete strangers will I do that.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                Right, the short answer is no, no-one really knows.

                The medium answer is figure out some sort of monetization better then what’s happening now – whether that’s native to Twitter itself or as Michael Cain points out, maybe Twitter becomes IP/Fodder for some other monetization scheme. And this being Musk, always assume there’s some sort of Fed Program $$ that we mere mortals cannot access. Or maybe, just maybe this crosses over into both ‘fixing’ twitter via better human authentication/ID for better marketing and reduced Bot influence. But that’s more like the wishcasting below.

                The long answer is Musk will do whatever good/bad things to Twitter I desperately want him to do and can fit into 280 characters. Open Source Algorithms!!1!eleventy-one1!Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Marchmaine
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                says:

                And this being Musk, always assume there’s some sort of Fed Program $$ that we mere mortals cannot access.

                More than one of us here have pointed out that based on actual history, the money that the federal government has spent over the years on “rural broadband” would have been better spent speeding up Elon’s Starlink deployment and subsidizing subscriptions to it for rural people.Report

  4. Reformed Republican
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    says:

    I think he’s just annoyed that people bash Tesla on Twitter, and buying the company is a petty revenge.Report

  5. John Puccio
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    says:

    If this means that Jen Psaki’s memos “flagging” “problematic” posts go right into Elon’s wastepaper basket, it’s a good thing for the American republic and free speech, here and elsewhere.

    It’s a shame it took an oligarch to restore something that use to be a non-partisan issue in this country.Report

  6. Saul Degraw
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    says:

    Musk’s politics are whatever is good for Elon Musk is good for the world. More seriously, he seems to have a hash of politics with no internal consistency. The fear is that he will seemingly turn twitter into 4chan but he might run into resistance from below if he tries.

    The current hot take is whether allowing Trump and MTG back on Twitter is actually good for the Democrats.Report

  7. Pinky
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    says:

    Twitter has always struck me as the worst of the social media platforms. Its design practically precludes creative content. If it stripped down to a one-character emoji format it wouldn’t be much different. You could send smiley faces to people you liked and frowns to people you hated, and they’d be like “hey, I got a face. I need to send a face back.” If TikTok is Idiocracy for active people, Twitter is Idiocracy for the lazy.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Pinky
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      says:

      Remember when Facebook had a “poke” feature?Report

    • John Puccio in reply to Pinky
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      says:

      Twitter’s value is in its efficiency. It’s the most important social media platform because it serves as a de fact utility.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky
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      says:

      “If TikTok is Idiocracy for active people, Twitter is Idiocracy for the lazy.”

      I’m stealing this.
      Well, not so much stealing as appropriating in the name of the people.Report

      • Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels
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        says:

        with my complimentsReport

      • Chris in reply to Chip Daniels
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        says:

        I find these views downright odd, and likely born of simply not having much experience with Twitter aside from what ends up getting carried into non-Twitter world. I mean, there are a ton of very smart people are on there, including pretty much all of academia under 60, most writers (of fiction and non-fiction), most journalists (OK, the journalists are awful), etc., etc. Sure, bad stuff goes down on there, especially when a mob forms, but for the most part, it’s a good place, where you can have interesting conversations, read good jokes, make friends, etc.

        I will say that I think Twitter is the downslope, not for any of the ridiculous reasons people who aren’t on Twitter think, but because at 15 years old, it’s a dinosaur in internet time, and among young people, has been surpassed by a handful of other apps. We olds will probably be enough to keep it around for a while, still, but it’s lost some of the vitality that made it such a wild, fun, and important place in the middle of the last decade.

        Anyway, the anti-Twitter stuff never made any sense to me. I mean, if it’s not your think, that’s cool; it’s definitely not for everyone, but acting like it’s beneath you is very silly.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Chris
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          says:

          Facebook is for Boomers.
          Twitter is for Xers.
          Gen Z seems to be using Tik Tok.
          Whatever Zoomers will be using when Alephers start mocking them hasn’t been made yet.Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Chris
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          says:

          I’m anti-Twitter for myself but am largely ambivalent about it more broadly. I’m generally slow to adopt new tech and when I tried it out I found that I hated reading super extended Tweet threads and I couldn’t follow the conversation and didn’t have the bandwith to figure out who was worth following and who wasn’t. I’m trying to curb my social media use in general so certainly didn’t need something else to doom scroll.

          As someone who not only uses it but seems to like it and like it enough to defend it, how hard is it to use it for the good stuff and avoid most of the bad stuff. Like, can you adjust settings so that you minimize the odds you become the main character on Twitter for the day? Can you filter out mobs so you remain blissfully ignorant of their forming? Or do you have to work pretty hard to find the balance you do? I’m just curious about the user experience since mine was both so limited and not particularly positive.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
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            says:

            Here’s how you’re supposed to use it:

            Who is your favorite sports person?
            Oooh, I can follow Steph Curry! Oooh! The Golden State Warriors have an account! Isiah Thomas is on Twitter! I hate him. I need to follow him though, so I can hate him better.

            Trent Reznor is on Twitter? HOLY CRAP! I gotta follow him! Oooh, and Eddie Vedder! And Fred Durst!

            But that quickly turns into:
            Oh, jeez. My buddy is on twitter… I should follow him… huh, he tweeted out this new guy who seems interesting… this new guy says some interesting stuff… and he tweets out some other people who seem interesting…

            HOLY CRAP I HAVE OPINIONS ON SOUTH AMERICAN MONETARY POLICY NOWReport

            • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
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              says:

              For me, it was more, “I want to read what THIS guy says about this weekend’s game,” and then suddenly I had three “recommended” follows and they all had blue checkmarks but I’m like, “Who the F are these guys?” and I couldn’t tell how worthwhile they were to follow but I always had to scroll past at least three of them before I could find the people I wanted or the replies to the people I wanted but maybe that’s what happens when you only follow 4 people.Report

          • Chris in reply to Kazzy
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            says:

            Twitter famously has a fairly steep initial learning curve. One advantage to being an OTer, however, is that you have a built in network over there: in addition to Jaybird and me, there are a few dozen OTers, old and current, who tweet regularly and interact with each other a lot. You could have a pretty good Twitter experience just following them (and they’d quickly follow you back). I have a couple group DMs going with some of them, as well.

            Getting only the good and avoiding the bad entirely is difficult, because even good people will occasionally tweet the bad stuff, but I’ve curated my timeline well enough now that I get very little of the bad stuff, and am quick to mute/block people (and mute words) that bring bad stuff.

            Much like Truth, there’s Twitter with a big T, and the various twitters with a lowercase t, and one of the best things about Twitter is getting into twitters of topics you’re interested in. For example, I enjoy philosophy twitter, anthropology twitter, Premier League twitter, funny twitter, cog sci twitter, and various versions of left twitter (much like the actual left, left twitter is fractured), to name just a few. It takes a little time to get deep into these, since you have to find people (usually by finding one or two people and then following people with whom they interact or whom they retweet), but once you do, the twitters can be informative, enjoyable, entertaining, etc.

            I like to think of myself as pretty well read and informed, but am routinely amazed at how much I learn from these various twitters about things that I thought I knew a lot about. On top of that, you get news quick, and it often comes with links to sources and viewpoints on that news you might never have encountered otherwise (and I don’t just mean like, political news, but sports news, news about new research on a particular topic, etc.).Report

        • Pinky in reply to Chris
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          says:

          I do have very limited experience with Twitter. I know that bright people are on Twitter, but they either play in the mud or link to things outside of Twitter that have value. I think Michael Cain identifies the one positive thing that Twitter’s structure is best at. I don’t know if it helps you to see through the fog of war or gives you a more detailed look at the fog, though. You’d think some other tool could provide that without the flow of garbage.Report

          • Chris in reply to Pinky
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            says:

            Twitter is really bad for something like the war in Ukraine, because the sources tend to be overwhelmingly from one side. This isn’t meant to be a moral judgment of either side, but if you’re seeing a war through the lenses of one side, you’re probably not seeing the war very well.

            As one expert put it, Ukraine is winning the war on Twitter, and nowhere else.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Chris
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          says:

          Being a non-twitter user I defer to someone who has actually experience. I know that other people I read, smart and well spoken, say the same as you do.

          Maybe it’s like, just as Twitter itself is a small but highly vocal subset of all people, the trolls and idiots are a small but highly vocal subset of all Twitter.

          But if we accept the idea that Twitter is useful and important that raises even more questions that we as citizens need to deal with.Report

          • Greg In Ak in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            The key to making Twitter good is to actively and thoughtfully curate who you follow. Twitter is great when you got it dialed in. There is all the worst stupidest crap is there but you need to discriminate. Free speech culture needs some active pruning to not suck.Report

            • Chris in reply to Greg In Ak
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              says:

              This.

              I imagine that if your Twitter account is highly visible (like, you have many thousand followers), it could start to really suck, because the only way to block out the bad at that point is to limit replies and turn off all notifications. But as a normal user, with a normal follower count, with a little experience, it becomes pretty easy to curate your feed to the point that it causes you as much, or as little, anxiety as you want it to cause you.Report

            • Pinky in reply to Greg In Ak
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              says:

              This is the same as the primary elections versus party choice discussion: the problem with any possible solution is the humans.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Chip Daniels
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            says:

            I don’t think we as citizens need to deal with anything.Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to Kazzy
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              says:

              I’m thinking more of newspapers, which began in the 19th century as scabrous tabloids. They were highly partisan, openly biased and mostly vicious gossip.
              But they also were a platform for serious literature and thoughtful commentary.

              In the 20th century they evolved to have an internally enforced code of behavior and journalism became a serious profession.
              The tabloids didn’t disappear. They just became a still popular but less respected cousin of the prestige outlets.

              Could social media follow the same route? Have a Respectable side where scientists and professionals had Serious Discussions, while the gamergate and 4chan types flung poo on another side?

              It depends on whether the citizens of the republic decide to reward a Respectable platform with clicks or not.Report

              • North in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                The parallel doesn’t work, I fear. Newspapers/media organizations still exist. Their business model is blown to smithereens but they still exist. The new internet paradigm is like a series of defective lawnmowers. You pull the cord and they sort of splut but nothing works. All the attempts over the aughts have basically withered and died.

                For social media to follow the path of newspapers social media would have to function as businesses sort of like news papers but they don’t. Social media is more like a guy baiting his land with apples to lure deer then selling hunting rights. The masses aren’t the customers- they’re the product. The customers are advertisers and others trying to find a way to get messages through to the masses. So the old media paradigm simply doesn’t apply.

                Can social media follow the old media route? No. They’re entirely inverted from old media. It’s this crazy mishmash of people doing stuff for free because it’s cheap and fun for them and then there are a bunch of really annoyed businessfolks trying to figure out how monetize it. On top of that, the whole internet edifice is sort of clinging and parasitizing off the old legacy media structure like a refrigerator sized tick on the back of a staggering elk.

                Ya can’t easily regulate it. It’s amorphous. You can’t easily monetize it- as soon as you put a price tag on anything the users stampede away.

                There must be some kind of model that can thrive in this new media ecosystem but I sure as fish don’t know what it is. Maybe more of the old system has to strangle to death on the new one before a new stable equilibrium can emerge.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to North
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                says:

                There are some similarities, though.
                Newspapers, like Facebook, don’t make money from readers, they make money by bringing readers to advertisers.

                And even in their heyday, papers like NYT were really just classified ads, comics, advertising and sports coverage supporting the prestige “hard news”. The same way that Walter Cronkite was supported by the ads placed on the Beverly Hillbillies.

                And when Hearst made a fortune off of tabloid trolling, the same conversations were had, that the market for honest professional journalism was soft and weak.

                I suspect the growth in the market demand for honest journalism mirrored the rise of the middle class and the building of a high trust society.Report

              • North in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Yes, but with the internet lowering the barriers to entry the infotainment and silo’d information sources are beating the pants off prestige news. On top of that the old model is still with us, wheezing and hobbling along. Reuters is still in business for instance. So do we need to see the prestige news stuff die first? What would prestige news on the internet even look like? Our existing prestige news media orgs are just slow walk transitioning to non-profit vanity projects where the children of the liberal well to do sit around and mastu…err.. confirm each others priors all day.Report

        • North in reply to Chris
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          says:

          I hate twitter and I don’t use it-much; I inevitably have to look at things on twitter but I don’t have an account. I still hate it.

          The things that’re unique to twitter that are also durable enough to escape it into the wider world have invariably seemed like negative, vacuous, idiotic things to me. Twitter is like a dark ocean or that trackless chaotic wilderness from which annoying monstrosities occasionally stagger out to drunkenly rage around until their organs implode from not being on Twitter. That’s not why I hate twitter though.

          My problem is I loved/love blogs and blogging. I was in my twenties in the aughts, I was in my thirties in the teens. Twitter heralded the downfall of blogging because it’s everything blogging wasn’t. It is brief whereas blogging is verbose; it is shallow wherein blogging has depth; it’s quick and easy and Blogging is comparatively laborious. Blogging isn’t dead but it’s horribly mauled from Twitter and a ghost of its former self. I hate Twitter because I love blogs. If I was born a decade earlier maybe I’d hate blogs and love newspapers and magazines? I don’t know.

          That doesn’t mean that Twitter is bad. I still hate it though. I know Musk is a billionaire but if he showed up shoeless on my porch and asked me for 20 bucks for a can of gas to soak Twitter in to set it on fire I’d give him 40 bucks and a ride to the gas station.Report

          • Chris in reply to North
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            says:

            I miss blogs as well. I think I’m their heyday, which coincidentally was before the blog existed, they showed the best and worse of what the internet can be. I miss those days, as I miss the earlier iterations of the internet (for me, before blogs, chat rooms, and befor chat rooms, BBS’s). But if Twitter didn’t kill blogging, something else would have: Twitter’s very existence was a symptom, not the disease. On its best days, Twitter was like the pre-blog internet, with community and common interests, and on its worst days, it was like the worst of the blog world (Instapundit was basically tweeting b.s. way back in 2001, e.g.). Now it’s much like the late blog world (say, 2008-2012): decaying, but slowly, and hardly aware that it’s being passed by whatever the next iteration of the internet is.Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to Pinky
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      says:

      Absolutely agree with you about the most common sort of tweet. No, I’m not interested in what a casual acquaintance thinks right this minute about the quality of the pineapples at the local grocery. And yet, Twitter tweets are almost certainly the dominant source of near real time information from and about Ukraine today. Not TikTok, not Facebook, not Google News. Twitter. Thought of as infrastructure — server farms, account management, content management, existing browser and mobile apps — there’s potential there. If Starlink is Musk figuring out how to do ISP service for Mars, Twitter may be the platform where he plays with other services for Mars.Report

      • Chris in reply to Michael Cain
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        says:

        Ukraine is a really good example of the limits of Twitter: yes, you an get a lot of real time info, but as pretty much every expert on the region, along with the people who are deep into, er, rawer sources of information from the war, will tell you, Twitter’s Ukraine info is heavily skewed as a result of structural and political factors, making it really difficult to sort fact from propaganda, or to draw inferences about the war, because you’re seeing such a narrow slice, almost entirely from one perspective.

        Don’t get me wrong, I have followed the war on Twitter, but if you want a clearer picture, or at least a less skewed one, you have to go to the places where the sources are, er, more diverse. Don’t get me wrong, those places also have a lot of propaganda, from both sides, but even with that propaganda, you can still get a clearer, more accurate picture.Report

  8. InMD
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    says:

    Assuming the sale goes through, if I had to place a bet, it would be on no or negligible material long term impact on the country or society.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to InMD
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      The fact that the sale was agreed to should remind people that, feelings aside, Twitter is a business.

      The always online set seem to forget this too easily.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Oscar Gordon
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        The Twitter board rejected Musk’s first offer, and the dirtbag right screamed that they’d violated their “fiduciary responsibility.” DeSantis, for example, announced Florida was going to prosecute them. Now that the board has accepted a bigger offer (which is why it’s smart to reject the first offer) that furor evaporated, with no acknowledgment that the accusations were false.Report

        • Philip H in reply to Mike Schilling
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          says:

          I’m sure this had no impact either:

          “As Congress continues to examine Big Tech and how to best protect Americans’ free speech rights, this letter serves as a formal request that you preserve all records and materials relating to Musk’s offer to purchase Twitter, including Twitter’s consideration and response to this offer, and Twitter’s evaluation of its shareholder interests with respect to Musk’s offer,” said the letter signed by the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, Jim Jordan, and others on the committee.

          https://www.reuters.com/technology/house-republicans-ask-twitter-board-retain-records-tied-musk-offer-2022-04-22/Report

        • Kazzy in reply to Mike Schilling
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          says:

          Help an idiot out here…

          What legal responsibility does Twitter’s board have to accept ANY offer, such that they COULD be prosecuted?Report

          • Mike Schilling in reply to Kazzy
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            says:

            They are obligated to protect the shareholder’s interests, but that’s enforced (if need be) by shareholder lawsuits. It’s funny how the Right wants to privatize the enforcement of criminal law while criminalizing civil law.Report

            • Philip H in reply to Mike Schilling
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              says:

              Its going to be easier to hunt liberals that wayReport

            • Kazzy in reply to Mike Schilling
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              says:

              So… a couple of questions…

              1.) Couldn’t the board just state that they think the company is or will be more valuable than his offer?

              2.) How does the Board even factor in? If the company is publicly held via stock, then how do you “buy” it? Can the Board force stockholders to give up their stock in exchange for money at the rate they negotiate with Musk?Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                1. They can say that, and a shareholder lawsuit can dispute it, and even try to demonstrate bad faith.

                2, Yes, they can. I’ve owned shares in companies that got bought, and there are a few possibilities:

                * You get money
                * You get shares in the acquiring company
                * A combination of the two

                But whatever the deal is, you have to take it. I suppose the alternative is to fire the board (by a majority of voting shares) and reject the sale.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                1. Yes, that’s something the board does in negotiations. At some point, however, the valuation and premium aren’t really in dispute and the Board’s options become more tenuous.

                2. The Board is the Executive Committee elected by the Shareholders… so their fiduciary duty (technical term) is to the Shareholders and not the company.
                2.a. No, they can’t deny people access to the stock that’s available on the open market; technically yes, they can ‘force’ everyone to sell their stock once they accept an offer to buy all the shares. As the Executive Committee representing the shareholders, you technically delegated that responsibility/authority to them when you voted for them as per the by-laws of the company.

                3. Musk could also just keep buying stock until he owns a controlling stake 50% + 1 … at which point every shareholder vote is won when he votes his shares. This happens, but it has risks for all parties vested in it happening and *not* happening alike.

                The Govt. posturing is immaterial as all it takes is a single owner of a single share to find a lawfirm who would file a suit against the board — assuming that the fiduciary breach was obvious — as in the board saying neener neener we don’t like you and don’t care how much money you offer. So the threat was never from DeSantis or anything like that… just good ol’fashioned certainty that there was at least one shareholder who’d file suit.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                When an Elon Musk’s not firing off his rockets
                Or making cars more high-tech and more cool
                He thinks what else he can buy with his deep pockets
                Now we’ll see if he’s a smart guy or a fool

                When fiduciary duty’s to be done (to be done)
                A director’s lot is not a happy one (happy one)Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Marchmaine
                Ignored
                says:

                The government posturing shows us how stupid they think their supporters are.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Mike Schilling
          Ignored
          says:

          My point is that Twitter is not a Free Speech Utility, or a Liberal/Left Wing Utility. It’s a business, and it is subject to the incentives and pressures that any business nominally is subject to.Report

          • North in reply to Oscar Gordon
            Ignored
            says:

            How does the business of Twitter make money anyhow?Report

            • InMD in reply to North
              Ignored
              says:

              Ads but also data sale and licensing. Like with all social media the users and increasingly data about them are the product.Report

              • North in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                I guessed as much but thanks for confirming.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                When I look at the right of the twitter feed, there is a What’s Happening section.

                The top two entries are:

                Timberwolves at Grizzlies (and there’s a hashtag if you want to watch what all of the fans are hashtagging about it)

                Doctor Strange (get tickets now)

                After that, there’s stuff that I’d be actually inclined to click on.

                Ric Flair (not dead)
                Insomniac (the game company, not the 90’s song)
                The Batman 2

                (actually, that last one may be an ad as well…)Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Batman #2? doodoodoodoodoodoodoodoodoodoodoodoo…Report

              • Slade the Leveller in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s a prestige comic book movie. Don’t forget the The.

                (ETA: OK, I just got this.)Report

              • Brandon Berg in reply to InMD
                Ignored
                says:

                Huh. I had no idea that Twitter actually sold data, but apparently they do. I don’t care myself, but I thought selling user data, even in anonymized and aggregated form, was so toxic from a PR perspective that nobody would do it.

                Of course, Facebook doesn’t sell data and everyone thinks they do, so I guess it doesn’t really matter.Report

              • InMD in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                The PR isn’t great but entities do it. There can also be a bit of a sleight of hand and certainly a lot of lawyering around what is and is not ‘sale of data.’ There are a lot of things you can do that seem to fall short of the legal definition in CA and the other states that have passed laws* but that might seem like splitting hairs to a consumer if someone really laid it out for them.

                All of this is general of course, no one knows what goes on inside Twitter except the people who have been there. Anyone who has been I’m sure is NDAed out the wazoo.

                *Caveat is that we will see what happens when enforcement gets under way but no one is predicting an end to the practice, certainly not of the more subtle stuff.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                Bezos has made his billion at Amazon on the value of customer data, not the physical goods that show up on people’s doorsteps. Data is THE game for most of these companies.Report

              • Brandon Berg in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m not familiar with the exact details of how Amazon uses customer data, but Facebook and Google sell ad placements, not user data. They profit from using user data to better target advertisements, but they do so without sharing the data with third parties. Aside from PR concerns, the data are valuable assets that they want to keep to themselves.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                Amazon does both.Report

          • Mike Schilling in reply to Oscar Gordon
            Ignored
            says:

            No one would pay anything like $40+B for its income stream (or potential income stream) alone. The money is for its influence.Report

  9. j r
    Ignored
    says:

    I don’t know how big a deal this is going to be, but I fear that it will be worse than what happened when they ended net neutrality.Report

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