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Opinion: What’s More Difficult Than Running Tesla? Owning Twitter.

Kaela Glaser, Grade 9, Staff Writer


 

When Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter was finalized in October, the world watched with wary eyes, wondering what changes were on the long road ahead. And now, four months later, we have watched Twitter sink into decay and chaos, while Musk grapples with the nuances of owning one of the largest – and most controversial – social media platforms in the world.


When Musk acquired Twitter, he promised improvements such as a lack of censorship, verification check marks for all, and a variety of technological features. However, since Musk’s takeover, the company’s workforce has been slashed in half, hate speech on the platform has risen by over 500%(Brookings.edu), and employees have been forced to work long and grueling hours under the threat of losing their jobs.


Within the first week, Musk realized he had very few people to manage the software. Desperate for help, the Tesla CEO sent out a plea in the form of an internal email: “Anyone who actually writes software, please report to the 10th floor at 2 p.m. today.”


In fact, Musk fired so many of Twitter’s employees that he had to send somewhat sheepish emails asking them to return due to lack of experience with the remainder of the company.

With Twitter, Musk came in with a lot of ideas and no clue how to implement them, a knowledge gap that is clearly showing.


One essential promise of Elon Musk’s Twitter was that everyone on the platform would be promised the right of “free speech.” In fact, Musk fired Twitter’s content moderation, human rights, and communications teams, believing that on his Twitter, none of these resources were necessary.


Musk is now learning that free speech and hate speech are two very different things. Since he acquired Twitter, hate speech based on race, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation has risen to an uncontrollable point, causing many to feel unsafe.


As Toni Braxton tweeted before leaving the platform, “Hate speech under the veil of ‘free speech’ is unacceptable.”


Given the sheer amount of disorganization in Twitter’s workforce and the extent of misinformation on the site, the platform seems to be heading downhill quickly. The day after Elon Musk officially became Twitter’s CEO, over one million users left the social media app. Many more continue to leave as far-right extremists take over the platform to spread vitriolic slurs and messages.


Maybe Twitter can still be salvaged, but if Musk and his advisors continue on their current trajectory, Twitter's role as a primary social media channel will die before another multi-billionaire monopolizes one more aspect of society.




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