The breathtaking cluelessness of Elon Musk

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by themickey, May 14, 2022.

  1. themickey


    Opinion: The breathtaking cluelessness of Elon Musk
    Opinion by Holly Thomas May 12, 2022


    (CNN)Every weekday morning between January 20, 2017, and January 8, 2021, I checked President Donald Trump's Twitter account. It was as critical a step in my routine as brushing my teeth -- albeit one that left me feeling far less fresh.

    As a journalist primarily covering US news, monitoring Trump's account was essential. Even though fewer than a quarter of Americans say they use Twitter, Trump's caustic whims, jibes and attacks on the platform consistently set the agenda -- and for several years it was normal to watch major news sites hastily switch out whatever lead story they'd planned to reflect that morning's presidential caprice.

    Then, without ceremony, he was gone. Two days after the horrifying events of the Capitol insurrection on January 6, 2021, Twitter announced that it was suspending Trump's account permanently, in accordance with its policy on inciting violence. The daily clamor that had affected so many lives was extinguished in a second, and millions breathed relief.

    Smash cut to this week. Elon Musk, who's in the process of buying Twitter for $44 billion, has announced that once he's in charge, he'll undo Trump's Twitter ban -- even though Trump claims he'd rather stick to his own social media platform, Truth Social. A self-avowed champion of "free speech," Musk said that the decision to suspend Trump was "morally wrong" and that it "didn't end Trump's voice. It will amplify it among the right."

    Both of those assertions are incorrect. Banning Trump was the only conscionable response to January 6 -- and de-platforming is proven to quash provocateurs. But the fact that Musk is able to act on these ideas regardless speaks to an axiom that Trump himself exemplified: In today's America, one person with no conscience and access to the right pressure points can do almost anything they want. And as Trump's record shows, people who are prepared to misrepresent the truth as a means to -- or excuse for -- abusing their power once will almost certainly do so again.

    When Trump ran for president in 2016, he promised to make America "great" and "safe." In November 2019, the New York Times investigated the 11,390 tweets he'd sent in his presidency to date. Over half were attacks on other people, and they set the tone for his presidency.

    Trump ruptured US foreign policy, antagonized nations already at loggerheads and in fall 2017, tweeted that North Korea may not "be around much longer!" -- which the country's foreign minister called a "declaration of war."

    When the coronavirus pandemic hit, Trump repeatedly referred to it as the "China virus," a label associated with a dramatic surge in anti-Asian racial hatred online. After he lost the US election, the lies he spread on Twitter were among his most popular posts ever, and stoked unprecedented violence.

    Of course, Trump's disregard for consequences extended far beyond social media. Even as he used his platform to erode faith in democratic institutions, Trump appointed Supreme Court justices whose explicit political affiliations would determine the fates of millions to endear himself to voters he believed would keep him in power.

    When he needed the evangelical vote, he promised he'd appoint anti-abortion justices -- abandoning his own former pro-choice stance. About 27% of the voting-eligible population voted for Trump in 2016, but now, 100% of the population will bear the fallout for decades to come. In the uncannily prescient words of Trump's onetime supporter Kanye West, "no one man should have all that power" -- but he did.

    Increasingly, it appears Elon Musk is cut from similar cloth, and gaining similarly outsized influence. He constantly claims to prize free speech, but seems to misunderstand what it is -- and has repeatedly proven himself a hypocrite when it comes to upholding it.

    Tesla employees, scores of whom have alleged racism, sexism and other forms of abuse, are bound by strict limitations on what they can say about the company. Tesla hides vehicle safety information from public view (in response to past media queries about its handling of safety data, Tesla did not comment), and Musk has often sought to control what journalists and bloggers write about both himself and his companies -- once even canceling a customer's order when he discovered a blog post they'd authored that he felt was "rude."

    When a teenager tracked the progress of Musk's private jet on Twitter using publicly available information, Musk tried to shut him down. Though he moves in a different sphere to Trump, his words also carry huge weight, moving stock markets via the most casual remarks on his Twitter feed.

    In the last few months, Musk has forged an association in the public mind between his name and free speech by sheer repetition, despite regular gaffes on the subject. He's said that people should be able to speak freely on Twitter "within the bounds of the law," but also claims that some examples of "hate speech" are "fine," while others are not.

    In fact, hate speech is protected by the First Amendment, because hate speech laws can be abused by governments to suppress critics. As commentators keep pointing out, Twitter is less the "town square" for unfettered self-expression that Musk idealizes and more like a shop, with an obligation to maintain order.

    Musk appears so comfortable contradicting himself that it's difficult to tell how much of what he says is deliberate prevarication and how much is just ignorance. Much as Trump was content to dismiss the advice of experienced colleagues when he was president, Elon Musk seems to have decided he has a better grasp on the vagaries of social media and content moderation than everyone who has run a platform before him. His statements on how he'll run Twitter constantly betray a blindness to how complicated that will actually be, and a Trumpian assurance that he must know best.

    Like Trump, Musk hasn't let his own checkered record or lack of insight get in the way of casting himself as the figurehead for a cause -- and because, like Trump, he commands an enormous and attentive audience, he's been extremely successful. His willingness to overlook or disregard facts in the pursuit of his ambitions bears a sinister resemblance to Trump, as does his flair for repeating himself ad nauseam until people accept his statements as fact.

    If we learned anything from Trump's time in the spotlight, it was that he should never have been allowed it in the first place. Again and again, he highlighted design flaws in systems both state and private that should have better protected the public -- whether by lying to his millions of followers on Twitter, or appointing judges to buffer his position in government. Elon Musk's crusade in the name of "free speech" is already exploiting the same weaknesses.

    There's no controlling for shameless, intransigent men, but there urgently need to be more dependable limits over their influence. Musk shouldn't run Twitter like the Wild West, but as the law stands, he can.
  2. themickey


    Emperor with no clothes: Elon Musk channels his inner Trump
    By Timothy L. O'Brien October 11, 2022

    Maybe Elon Musk will acquire Twitter before a court-appointed October 28 deadline to complete the $US44 billion acquisition rolls around. Maybe the price of Tesla’s shares, currency that Musk may need to rely on to help pay for the deal, will bounce back from a grinding downturn. Maybe the seven banks that have arranged a $US13 billion loan — and stand to lose as much as $US500 million on the transaction — will hang tough. Maybe the coalition of rich guys and venture capitalists who promised to chip in $US7 billion to support Musk’s bid will stick around.

    That’s a lot of maybes, however, even for an entrepreneur accustomed to vaulting past expectations while also peddling ill-informed bunk about a wide range of subjects, including COVID-19, reality TV, reproduction, Martian democracy and the fates of Taiwan and Ukraine. And this time, for the first time, Musk has the law closely corralling his shenanigans. (Previous tepid monitoring and slaps on the wrist from the Securities and Exchange Commission don’t count.)

    The pursuit of Twitter has been embarrassing on many levels for the world’s richest person.Credit:AP

    The lying, spin and misdirection Musk has attached to his Twitter bid might have been fun when he first hatched the offer, but a judge is looking now. Yes, he’s the world’s richest person, but his sagging Tesla shares, among his most liquid holdings, lost 16 per cent of their value last week after the company’s car sales didn’t meet expectations. He may have to fork over more cash or sell assets such as part of his stake in Space Exploration to fully fund the takeover. Reality is catching up to Musk, and it’s all very Trumpy.

    There are distinct differences between Musk and former President Donald Trump, of course. Musk hasn’t been running around fomenting coups, for example, so the fallout from his brinksmanship is less consequential. But he has run roughshod over business norms, securities regulations and the truth in his pursuit of Twitter, wasting a lot of other people’s time and money and toying with the fates of Twitter’s 7,500 employees. His penchant for doing as he pleases without worrying about the damage is in sync with Trump’s own mojo.

    Both men are thin-skinned and unpredictable; they both revel in lashing out at their critics on social media; they both use social media to foster cults of personality; and they both seem to think they possess a universal intelligence.

    Musk and Trump have also both attracted flocks of courtiers and enablers who are eager to further their own ambitions, bask in their access to power or make a little money. Such sycophancy has produced rafts of tragicomic propaganda.

    “Donald Trump is at his very best, at his very best, when he talks about the issues,” the former president’s adviser, Kellyanne Conway once said of the man who studiously avoided learning anything about most issues. Jack Dorsey, a Twitter founder and former chief executive officer whose mismanagement of the company helped make it a takeover target, waxed heroic about Musk’s attempted buyout: “Elon is the singular solution I trust. I trust his mission to extend the light of consciousness.”

    Extending the light of consciousness doesn’t really seem to be the animating force behind Musk’s Twitter bid. What is? Well, Musk will tell you that it’s “an accelerant to creating X, the everything app.” Ah, yes, the everything app. As my colleague Parmy Olson pointed out, an app that meets every consumer need has enormous business appeal, and some already exist in places like China. But US regulators are unlikely to sign off on a venture like that and, as Olson also noted, “it’s probably not the best idea for someone as volatile as Musk to oversee an app on which millions engage in social commentary, payments, shopping, identification and more.”

    But saying you have a mega-app called “X” in mind, without putting any clothing on the idea, sends out just the right amount of guruness to the fanbase. When one Musk follower told him on Twitter that it “would have been easier to just start X from scratch,” Musk hit that softball out of the park with this reply: “Twitter probably accelerates X by 3 to 5 years, but I could be wrong.”

    Translation: “Twitter, which I don’t own yet and which is in a notoriously fickle industry that I have never worked in, will speed up the development of an unknown X I’ve never really elaborated upon, and by a metric I just invented.” This sounds like, wait for it, wait for it … Trump.

    The former president has been fumbling through the launch of a Twitter competitor because managing media companies is hard, and money and celebrity alone aren’t enough to make them successful. He entered the White House promising to bring business-like efficiency to the Washington swamp but never really elaborated on the concept. And then he bestowed chaos on everything around him and filled the swamp with his own people. “I will give you everything,” Trump promised when he campaigned for the presidency and didn’t deliver on most of it.

    Donald Trump and Elon Musk share a tendency to make grand promises that they may not be able to deliver on.Credit:Bloomberg

    A significant portion of Trump’s more concrete actions, many involving potential election fraud and financial wrongdoing, have landed him in the lap of the law. State and federal civil and criminal prosecutions of Trump and his minions are afoot. Trump has circumnavigated the rule of law for decades, and he may prove elusive again, but he’s facing some formidable challenges.

    Musk — who has amazing, outsize accomplishments under his belt at Tesla and SpaceX — isn’t anywhere close to the kinds of existential legal problems Trump is enduring. Still, for someone who routinely thumbed his nose at the SEC, his experience going against Twitter in the Delaware Chancery Court to try to extricate himself from the buyout has to have been a sobering experience.

    The case was an embarrassment for Musk. Cringeworthy text messages and other communications were released. And Judge Kathaleen McCormick has presided over the matter with an iron fist, refusing to let Musk or his lawyers get away with any hijinks. When it became apparent that he wasn’t going to win in court and would have to endure a gruelling deposition, Musk pulled the plug on the case and is now revisiting the Twitter takeover. The court caught up with him.

    Musk has also ventured into dangerous legal territory. If he doesn’t have a deal in place by October 28, McCormick plans to proceed with a trial in November. He also told the judge — not just investors and the media — that he intends to complete the buyout. She might decide to force him to close the deal, or she might find evidence of securities fraud in his court machinations. Some investors are also probably waiting in the wings, ready to sue Musk if he doesn’t follow through.

    That’s a lot of pressure. And Musk will most likely slip past most of it. Even so, his Twitter foray has made him recognisable to anyone who has seen Trump exposed on multiple occasions — as the emperor who has no clothes.

  3. I hate politics and just can't imagine being one of these crazy people that hate Trump but at the same time have no life other than bashing Trump.

    How can any thinking person find Trump interesting in 2022? Feels like we are just drowning in retards.
    smallfil likes this.
  4. themickey


    What appears to be happening from a psychological point of view imo, genius type people who think outside the square make a lot of money.
    But genius does not necessarily equal good.
    Once these people get rich, the power takes over and corrupts their thinking.
    So we have genius, rich, power, corrupt, then self destruct follows, but it hurts and affects many others too in the meantime.

    With Elon, what concerns me is Starlink, will he use that as a weapon if he really turns bonkers?
  5. themickey


    Opinion | Now Elon Musk Thinks He’s Henry Kissinger
    The tech billionaire’s latest spectacle is a pro-Putin peace plan for Ukraine.

    Elon Musk speaks at an event in Hawthorne, Calif., in 2019. | Jae C. Hong/AP Photo

    Opinion by Jack Shafer 12/oct/2022

    Jack Shafer is Politico’s senior media writer.

    In addition to being the world’s wealthiest man, Elon Musk also seems to be exhibiting the symptoms of histrionic personality disorder. HPD, as it’s known in the psychiatric sciences, resides in the “Cluster B” garden of personality disorders and is associated with narcissism, attention-seeking behaviors and manipulation. HPDers tend to be charming and lively, often verging into flirtatiousness and excitability. Although the medical literature is silent on the subject of excessive procreation and HPD — Musk has birthed nine children in collaboration with four different uteruses (his wife’s, his girlfriend’s, a surrogate’s, and a senior employee’s) — the tycoon’s breeding tendencies are consistent with the erratic and volatile conduct of those who suffer with the disorder.

    This month, Musk dialed in additional attention to himself. Presumably, there haven’t been enough headlines about his on-again, off-again purchase of Twitter, his alleged romantic interludes, his dope smoking on Joe Rogan, his Tesla overpromising and all the other publicity stunts to stoke his sense of self-importance, so he’s drafted himself as a citizen-diplomat to end the Russian war on Ukraine. What better venue to promote his plan than on Twitter, where on Oct. 3 he proposed a 43-word peace plan that essentially sounded as if it had been scripted by Vladimir Putin, an HPD case if ever there was one, while sitting at his long table.

    Musk’s diplomatic foray earned him condemnation from Ukrainian and European leaders, as did a newsletter item by political consultant Ian Bremmer, alleging that Musk had told Bremmer that he had discussed terms of negotiation with Putin, a charge Musk denies, as does the Kremlin. Until Musk’s next act of grandstanding, pundits and comedians will be asking two questions: Have Musk’s HPD symptoms grown out of control? And, should citizens meddle in foreign policy?

    Oddly, nobody accused Musk of conducting his own foreign policy in late February when he tweeted the news that he had activated his Starlink satellite internet service over Ukraine. His peace plan, as naïve and toadying as it might be, killed nobody, whereas Starlink’s activation likely sent thousands of Russian soldiers to their graves by giving the Ukrainian military a decided advantage over its Russian invaders. By allowing reliable battlefield communications and the spotting and destruction of Russian targets, it has changed the course of the war. As Andrew S. Weiss of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace put it to me today, Starlink is “a massive force multiplier that gives them a true edge over the Russian where this war is actually being decided. It far outweighs the significance of any of Musk’s public utterances.”

    The governmental masters of foreign policy have always exhibited mixed feelings about citizen diplomacy. Officially, the U.S. government wants its citizens to act like diplomats. On this State Department page, the Foggy Bottom poohbahs exhort us all to conduct ourselves as citizen diplomats in our international interactions and to use travel and social media to advocate for our country. But our government also keeps on the books the Logan Act, which prohibits private citizens from corresponding with foreign governments over disputes with the United States unless officially authorized.

    Musk appears to have brushed up against — if not violated — the law if he did talk peace to Putin, as the United States has declared itself on Ukraine’s side. Luckily for Musk, the government almost never enforces the act. Even if Musk did engage in Loganspeak to Putin, his violation would put him in plentiful company. Sens. George McGovern and John Sparkman were accused of violating the act in the 1970s when they contacted the Cuban government. Jesse Jackson caught Logan Act hell several times in his career. Richard Nixon did, too, when it was learned that he told South Vietnam to spurn peace negotiations during his 1968 campaign for president, as did Jimmy Carter when he met with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad in 2008. Some also invoked the Logan Act after it was revealed that while working on the Trump presidential transition, Michael Flynn gave Russia foreign policy advice.

    The question of whether U.S. citizens should conduct foreign policy with U.S. adversaries has been mooted by the fact that the government consistently fails to enforce the act. The debate might slosh and lap around cable news for a couple of nights, the State Department might bare its hairy chest and growl at Musk, but nobody is going investigate him for breaking the law for issuing a peace tweet and allegedly talking about the war with Putin.

    What we can expect in the future from Musk, of course, will be more of the same — more assistance for Ukraine, more attempts at mediating the conflict and most of all, more spectacle. The mental scrapbook where he logs his publicity stunts contains an infinite number of blank pages, and he’s only started to stow his many narcissistic HPD memories. Like Donald Trump before him, he’s not happy unless we’re talking about him. And like Trump, he answers to nobody and can do whatever he wants. On Earth, in space, and maybe soon on Mars.
  6. themickey


    Musk appeasement of Putin and China stokes fears of new Twitter policies

    In the past week, he’s suggested that Ukraine give up Crimea and Taiwan be ruled like Hong Kong and welcomed the rap star Ye back to Twitter after his Instagram account had been suspended for antisemitic posts

    By Joseph Menn and Cat Zakrzewski Updated October 12, 2022

    The person most likely to own Twitter next month has proposed solving the war in Ukraine by letting Russia keep territory, won praise from a top Chinese diplomat for suggesting China take control of Taiwan, and welcomed a widely followed celebrity back to Twitter who had just had his Instagram account suspended for threatening Jews — all within the past week.

    Billionaire industrialist Elon Musk’s moves have heightened alarm about what he will do with Twitter, which he has faulted for being too restrictive about legal but false or hateful speech.

    Since autocrats already use the platform to spread lies about opponents and whip up violence and mayhem, Musk’s pursuit of approval from two of the most powerful is especially unnerving.

    “It’s a very good illustration as to why it would be a disaster if Musk does come to own Twitter,” said Paul Barrett, deputy director of New York University’s Stern Center for Business and Human Rights. “You could have provocations, whether engineered by Musk himself or by others, that could have global implications.”

    The latest scrutiny came Tuesday, when prominent geopolitical analyst Ian Bremmer said Musk had been speaking with Russian President Vladimir Putin before tweeting out a three-point plan for Ukraine that would leave Crimea, taken by force in 2014, in Russia’s hands.

    “I spoke with Elon two weeks ago, and he told me Putin (in a direct conversation with him) was ‘prepared to negotiate’ … and had outlined the minimum the Russian president would require to end the war,” Bremmer wrote to newsletter subscribers.

    As word spread on a second day of intensive Russian attacks on civilian population centers in Ukraine, law professors speculated on whether Musk should have registered as a foreign agent.

    “Logan Act” became one of Twitter’s trending topics in the country, referring to the 223-year-old law that bars private citizens from conducting foreign policy.

    Only then did Musk deny having spoken to Putin, since a conversation a year and a half ago about space issues.

    Bremmer, a Time magazine columnist and author as well as head of the Eurasia Group consultancy, stood by his account, tweeting that “Elon Musk told me he had spoken with Putin and the Kremlin directly about Ukraine. he also told me what the Kremlin’s red lines were.”

    Four days earlier, Musk said in a Twitter conversation that he was in touch with “quite a few” parties in the war.

    The argument over whether Bremmer was mistaken, Musk had been exaggerating, or Musk was backtracking from the truth failed to obscure two deeper points Bremmer made in his newsletter:

    First, given opposition to aiding Ukraine among some Republicans, Musk’s Twitter takeover and the likely reinstatement there of former president Donald Trump and some of his allies would spread opposition further and divide the country, threatening Ukraine’s backup.

    Second, Musk’s acquisition would pit his new, free-speech business against his old businesses: SpaceX, which relies on the Pentagon and NASA, and Tesla, which relies on China for scarce physical resources.

    “Each of these three are huge bets on completely different futures for a technopolar world. They’re also the most geopolitically opposed business models I’ve ever seen a single person pursue. Or maybe it’s the world’s biggest hedge,” Bremmer wrote.

    Bret Schafer, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund’s Alliance for Securing Democracy, said Musk’s communications with Chinese and Russian officials and business interests abroad will create unprecedented dilemmas if he closes his deal to buy Twitter.

    “Most owners of these platforms have had to remain neutral on issues related to politics and geopolitics,” Schafer said. “His freewheeling style of communicating with authoritarians is certainly going to create challenges with how the platform is perceived.”

    Though Musk has said he will rid Twitter of automated bots, Schafer said there has been little clarity around how Musk would respond to other types of foreign influence operations. He said it is unclear how Musk would handle a Russian hack and leak operation, such as occurred in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, or whether Chinese government officials should be allowed to join a platform that citizens cannot access. A Saudi prince is planning to keep a stake in Twitter as the deal closes, even though a former Twitter employee was convicted of spying on dissidents for the Saudi government.

    In recent years, major social media companies “have taken a stand on the side of democracy over autocracy,” Schafer said. “It will be interesting to see what direction that shifts in if and when Musk takes over.”

    Because Twitter is much smaller than other social networks such as Facebook and YouTube, Musk will have a greater ability to micromanage content moderation decisions and dealings with foreign leaders than executives at other social networks, said Rose Jackson, the director of the Democracy and Tech Initiative at the Atlantic Council. Yet despite Twitter’s smaller size, it wields immense influence over key decision-makers in media and politics, creating unique national security risks.

    Jackson said that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a cross-government group that reviews foreign transactions involving American firms, “probably isn’t sufficient” in addressing the national security risks presented by the Musk deal.

    “It brings to the fore whether we have sufficient tools to address genuine national security risks and how tech companies, and particularly information tech companies, are financed,” said Jackson, a former entrepreneur and State Department official.

    What worries many about Twitter is that the lion’s share of Musk’s wealth is his stake in Tesla, so that in any conflict among worldviews, the platform would be most likely to suffer.

    Tesla had record sales of its vehicles in China in September, even as its competition with local electric vehicle makers intensifies.

    And Twitter already has issues with China potentially gathering information about its critics through advertising and spying, according to a recent whistleblower complaint and testimony by former security chief Peiter Zatko. He said the FBI warned the company that a Chinese intelligence operative was working there.

    After Musk’s Ukraine tweet a week ago, a commentator for the Chinese Communist Party’s Global Times cited it and wrote to a half-million Twitter followers that Musk “believes too much in the U.S. and West’s 'freedom of speech.’ He will be taught a lesson.”

    Within days, Musk opined in a Financial Times interview that Taiwan should be governed like Hong Kong, winning praise from China’s ambassador to Washington: “I would like to thank @elonmusk for his call for peace across the Taiwan Strait and his idea about establishing a special administrative zone for Taiwan.”

    Barrett and others said they were not afraid of Musk bringing Twitter to China and back into Russia, saying that could help citizens communicate more.

    Instead, they fret that a Twitter without much moderation would allow propagandists for those governments to wreak more havoc than they already do.

    “Elon Musk is entitled to his opinions and speech, but let’s just say Freedom House would welcome the opportunity to brief him more thoroughly on the egregious human rights violations in Russia, China and elsewhere in the world before he takes ownership of one of the largest tech platforms,” said Michael Abramowitz, president of the nonprofit Freedom House, which tracks rights globally.

    “Ukrainians are fighting to protect their fundamental freedoms. Taiwan is a democracy where people enjoy those freedoms every day, and they know the threat they are facing from the PRC. We believe that all democracies and democracy-supporting businesses should support and defend these freedoms globally.”

    Accountable Tech, a left-leaning group that has advocated for regulation of tech giants, sent a letter last week to congressional leaders that called for an investigation into Musk’s relationships with foreign actors. The letter says Congress should use its subpoena powers to determine whether Musk is in communication with senior officials at the Kremlin or in China “who could use this acquisition to undermine American national security interests.”

    “It is critical that Congress immediately investigate the national security implications of this acquisition and take steps, as necessary, to protect American democracy and independence,” the group’s leaders, Nicole Gill and Jesse Lehrich, wrote.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2022
  7. themickey


    Musk tells 100m followers to vote Republican

    Twitter owner Elon Musk told his audience of more than 100 million followers on the social-media platform to vote for Republicans -- on the eve of midterm elections where Democrats are poised for losses.

    “To independent-minded voters: Shared power curbs the worst excesses of both parties, therefore I recommend voting for a Republican Congress, given that the Presidency is Democratic,” Musk wrote.

    “Hardcore Democrats or Republicans never vote for the other side, so independent voters are the ones who actually decide who’s in charge!,” he added.

    The tweets from Musk, who is also as chief executive of Tesla, marked a startling departure from other CEOs in the US who have largely shunned political activism over fears of alienating both customers and shareholders.

    Tech industry watchers painted his move as uncommon, especially so close to an election, and said it would raise further questions about his stewardship of Twitter, which is already seeing advertisers flee over concerns about changes to its content moderation policies.

    “It’s unprecedented to have a CEO come straight out and say that,” said Katie Harbath, a former Meta public policy director. “Many others have done donations, so you know what their leanings are. But it’s rare to see them actually tell people who they should go vote for.”

    Musk’s recommendation takes on greater weight now that he runs Twitter, one of the most influential platforms for political communication.

    Social media executives don’t tend to give endorsements. Because their platforms are a main way people consume information about elections, they want to avoid accusations of bias. A large social network’s policies on content moderation, user suspensions, algorithmic ordering and more could all have an impact on election outcomes. Executives at Twitter and Facebook have testified before Congress about their efforts to uphold the integrity of elections.

    At times, social media executives’ personal political leanings have become clear through donations or public appearances.

    Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, for instance, was a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, and former Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg was close with Hillary Clinton, but stopped short of publicly endorsing her in 2016. That year, when then-Instagram head Kevin Systrom posted a picture on the app with Clinton before the election, saying he was “very excited” for her to be president, he received a scolding internally, people familiar with the matter have said.

    Harbath, the former Meta executive, said Musk’s actions on Monday would bring more scrutiny on Twitter.

    “This is going to bring up more questions about his decision-making on content policies. How are Democrats supposed to trust him if he’s now saying ‘go vote Republican?’ He is, at every step of the way, eroding trust more and more with advertisers, with politicians who can regulate him,“ said Harbath.

    “Coming out of this, if there are Republican candidates who aren’t accepting the results of the election, people are going to wonder what position Twitter is going to take on that. Will they do anything? Will they be able to do anything? Will they have the people to do anything on it?”

    Last week, President Joe Biden criticised Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, saying it “spews lies all across the world.” Musk fashions himself as an advocate for free speech and has vowed to revamp Twitter’s content moderation policies, echoing concerns from many Republicans that the platform was biased against conservatives.

    Musk has said he’s leaning toward supporting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination and that former president Donald Trump should “sail into the sunset” rather than run again, as he’s teased. That prompted Trump to use an expletive to criticise Musk and his agreement to buy Twitter in July.
  8. wildchild


    Yeah Elon Musk is worth $208.3 Billion and you can't afford shit. I suppose he is the clueless one.

    CaptainObvious and smallfil like this.
  9. themickey


    General Mills latest to halt Twitter ads as Musk takeover sparks brand exodus
    Cheerios and Lucky Charms cereal company joins General Motors Co and Audi among others in pulling money from the platform

    The company confirmed Thursday it will ‘continue to monitor this new direction and evaluate’ spending Photograph: Andrew Kelly/Reuters
    Kari Paul

    General Mills is the latest to join a growing group of companies halting advertising on Twitter after the social media platform was acquired by billionaire Elon Musk for $44bn.

    The company, known for its Cheerios and Lucky Charms cereals, confirmed on Thursday it would pause advertising on the platform. “We will continue to monitor this new direction and evaluate our marketing spend,” said spokesperson Kelsey Roemhildt.

    Last week, top US automaker General Motors Co temporarily paused paid advertising on Twitter amid chaos at the company. Volkswagen AG’s Audi also confirmed Thursday it would pause ads and “continue to evaluate the situation”, said spokesperson Whaewon Choi-Wiles.

    The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Pfizer had also suspended advertising spending at Twitter. The pharmaceutical company did not immediately respond to request for comment.

    The growing exodus of advertisers comes amid concerns Musk will scale back misinformation and security protections on the platform. As civil rights groups call potential moderation issues into question, companies are considering whether staying on Twitter might tarnish their brands.

    Hmmmmm, Musk now impersonating the gifted Trump, in the art of the deal. Clever, who wouda thought.
    oraclewizard77 likes this.
  10. themickey


    Don't choke.
    Banon even embarassed by all the bs, that's saying somethin', he just can't bring himself to look.
    Musk in the meantime, doesn't know any better as he looks on here eagerly, as he hasn't been shafted over as yet.
    Banon meanwhile thinking, "ffs Elon, step back, there's plenty of time to get screwed over".
    Trump hopefully can leach some money off newboy.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2022
    #10     Nov 8, 2022