Monday, April 10, 2023
Musk announced that Twitter will no longer limit the reach of state-controlled propaganda outlets, but he has since reversed a policy that limited the reach of Substack articles.
Twitter chaos is being stoked by Elon Musk
In recent weeks and days, the erratic, thin-skinned billionaire has moved to create more chaos. He already destabilized Twitter last January by laying off thousands and implementing radical policy and product changes that caused the platform to crash.
The media-hating businessman took The New York Times' verification badge and applied "government-funded" warning labels on the accounts of NPR, BBC and other outlets. This prompted backlash from the outlets. Musk, however, announced that Twitter would no longer restrict the reach of state-controlled outlets like Russia's RT or China's Xinhua News.
Musk tweeted, "All news is to a certain degree propaganda," to support his position. Let the people decide for themselves.
Musk also explained in another tweet that Twitter would not "promote nor limit" accounts belonging to state-controlled propaganda outlets. Musk called it "weak" to engage in censorship, even though he has himself committed brazen acts (see here and here).
Musk announced that Twitter would no longer restrict the reach propaganda outfits. However, he also implemented a policy which severely restricted the reach Substack articles' reach, a decision he now regrets. Musk appeared to be treating Russian propaganda on Twitter better than Substack for a brief moment.
These bizarre actions have only served to increase the chaos on the rapidly declining platform. One step at a time they blurred the lines between authoritative news sources and outright propaganda.
It comes as the value of the once-meaningful blue checked mark continues to decline as Musk gives the badges to anyone who will pay him $8 per month. He also promises to remove ticks attached to public figures who were verified as part of the legacy program.
For now, many news organizations continue to stand by as if trying to convince themselves that this storm is over and that normalcy is coming. Monday's BBC statement stated that it had reached out to Twitter to discuss the labeling situation. It was as if Musk is concerned about the protests. Musk continues to be a billionaire's ally by sending ad dollars to other news organizations, such as The Washington Post or The Wall Street Journal.
Musk should be concerned about Twitter's demise, if only because of its crucial role in global communications but also because it has serious financial implications. Musk bought the company for $44 billion last year, and has already admitted that more than half of its value has been lost under his rule. It's clear that he doesn't.
Musk is creating havoc instead of focusing on rebuilding trust with the public. Musk performed another of his childish acts over the weekend. He painted the "w" from the logo that adorns the San Francisco headquarters of the company so it reads "Titter."
It's perhaps fitting that the company under Musk's management has transformed into something different, twisted by the billionaire and his ego into a warped version. It is a manifestation of his incoherent management style. He has implemented haphazard policies that are often driven by childish inhibitions and have made the platform unsound.