How Elon Musk broke Twitter by changing it to X

Elon Musk changed the name of social network Twitter to “X” (Reuters/Dado Ruvik)

In November 2022, Elon MuskJust a month after becoming the owner of Twitter, he suddenly announced that he would welcome back the social media company’s most notable and influential user. Donald Trump He was banned from the platform in the days following the January 6, 2021 insurrection, when the company said it was suspending his account “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” But, as mentioned zoe schiffer In his new book, Extremely Hardcore: Inside Elon Musk’s Twitter, That risk didn’t worry the new billionaire owner too much. Twitter’s decision to expel trump There was a “turning point” in the attitude of musk On the company side, write Schiffer: In his opinion, a symptom of the unfair censorship that inspired his effort to protect his favorite social media platform from “the virus of the woke mind”.

@realDonaldTrump’s reinstatement was not easy. Twitter’s systems were not designed to quickly restore an account with nearly 90 million followers. And most of the engineers who knew how to solve the problem were fired by order of… musk,

the very first, musk Speculated enthusiastically about the return of trump, enjoying the outrage from the left and the applause from the right that accompanied his decision to allow the former president to return to the stage. But even once the account trump Started working again, it was not tied musk Apparently he had waited. trump @realDonaldTrump has only posted once since his return.

Elon Musk has restored Donald Trump’s Twitter account

The structure of this episode is similar to many other episodes. extremely fanatic that represents leadership musk: Musk, acting regardless of the potentially devastating downside, reverses a decision of the company’s previous leadership, while the remaining skeleton team in crisis does everything possible to minimize the damage. Looming over all this is Musk’s increasingly right-wing politics, signaling an ugly and violent turn in American life. And in the end, the fight may not guarantee Musk what he wants most: attention.

since musk First announced its intention to buy Twitter in April 2022, SchifferEditor-in-Chief of Technology Publications platformerHas become one of the most indispensable chroniclers of the chaos within the company. extremely hardWhich is named on the basis of working style musk Based on previous reports, it was immediately stated that this would require Twitter employees Schiffer Providing the closest look yet at Musk’s destruction of what was once a vital component of the global public square. Schiffer quickly walks through Musk’s quick initial offer to buy the platform; his almost immediate attempt to pull out of the $44 billion purchase; the Twitter board litigation that forced him to proceed anyway; And, much of the story revolves around the chaos that ensued when he finally walked out the door.

Zoe Schieffer’s book analyzes Elon Musk’s performance as head of Twitter (The Washington Post)

Like many journalists, my relationship with Twitter (since it inexplicably changed its name to X) is unhealthy. Or, more accurately, it had an unhealthy relationship with the Twitter of the time: a place where you could keep track of rapidly developing news in the farthest corners of the world, and a place whose It also had its own distorting effect on what the press covered. And how did he do it? Schiffer X has mastered the specific social dynamics and is aware of the self-referential nature of reporting on a platform that in turn dictates how its coverage is consumed and understood. At one point, he remembers writing about the demands of musk Engineers reprogrammed the platform’s algorithms to promote their own tweets, and this is how it became “an instant hit on Twitter”. “In a way,” writes Schieffer, “my story had already taken his side, making him the main character of the day.”

Gravity of self-esteem musk He collates all the reports about him into a character study of his eccentricities. Schiffer does its best to avoid that orbit, instead focusing on the experiences of Twitter employees whose lives were almost unilaterally affected by the acquisition. musk He is, simply, a terrible boss. He makes unreasonable demands, refuses to listen to advice, and endangers his current and former employees with alarming regularity by deploying armies of his followers to harass those who contact him. In perhaps the most famous case, yoel rothThose who previously led the company’s now-defunct efforts to protect the platform’s users from hate speech and harassment received waves of death threats musk It was scandalously suggested that he sympathized with pedophiles.

Schiffer declares from the outset that this book is “not a biography of.” Elon Musk, Instead, write about the things Musk broke. But its takeover is also a story of the governance failures that allowed it to break those things. In a message on the company’s Slack, an employee told coworkers he’d heard about a lawyer musk Dismiss the company’s obligations to comply with the consent decree on user privacy with the Federal Trade Commission. “Elon puts rockets into space,” the employee told the lawyer. “He’s not afraid of the FTC.”

Elon Musk acquires Twitter, changes its name to “X” and restores his account to Donald Trump’s name (Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes/File)

Now all that matters is money musk He has been allowed to earn enough money so that he appears to be able to do whatever he wants. even in cases of extremely fanatic In the short periods in which Musk has been held accountable, it is almost always the influence of money that has led to his conviction. His desire to make Twitter a playground for the worst parts of human nature is tempered only by the apprehension of advertisers who don’t want their products appearing alongside posts from neo-Nazis. When they were forced to make the purchase, it was because of a set of corporate laws that privilege shareholders’ interests above all else, as a result, the law professor has argued. Ann LiptonWhich is “objectively ridiculous” in the case of a platform with “immense social importance” like Twitter.

Perhaps, then, it should not be surprising that so much attention has been focused musk Since taking over the company the few remaining gadflies have had to be attacked. This includes former employees such as Roth, with journalists (some of whom they have banned from the site for publishing unflattering stories) and researchers (most of whom have lost access to valuable data about the inner workings of the platform). last November, , ken paxton, that he will also launch an investigation into media matters. alliance between musk And the extremes of the Republican Party speak to the importance of understanding Musk’s efforts to limit the whims of the rich and powerful.

On that front, this election year will be a testing ground, even if trump Doesn’t repost regularly on X. musk It has dismantled many of the structures developed within the company to help prevent the spread of potentially harmful falsehoods, such as the propaganda that helped fuel the January 6 incident. Schiffer He finished his book a year later, in the autumn of 2023 musk In front of X, but in a sense that’s only half the story. I admit I’m nervous to see what I might report next November.

Source: The Washington Post

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