Conservatives and constitutionalists are salivating for a media platform that allows freedom of speech and thought. So far, bupkis. The attempts by former President Donald Trump and My Pillow’s Mike Lindell have yet to satisfy the starving public, leaving liberty seekers seething in frustration. Trump’s and Lindell’s failure to launch has folks thinking an open platform is unattainable. Well, not so fast, friends: There’s a rumor of a new social media sheriff in town named Elon Musk. And the billionaire is sending out feelers about creating his version of a Twitter-esque social media soapbox.
Has hope returned to the masses? Temporarily. Maybe.
Musk is deliriously wealthy. He has a handle on advanced tech, for goodness’ sake, and gallivants around the atmosphere. The Tesla man is also hardcore for keeping freedoms from being diluted. But can he get the job done?
I Love the Smell of Options in the Morning
Several days ago, Musk took to Twitter with a poll asking users if the platform rigorously protects free speech. A solid 82% — of two million-plus respondents — said, “yeah, no.” He advised those responding to weigh their selection carefully as “consequences” will be “important.” As he said:
“Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy. What should be done?”
As serial entrepreneurs go, Musk has been accused by the progressive left of simply fantasizing online, getting his followers wound up, and then dropping the idea like a hot potato. He toyed with creating a site called Pravda – a place where anyone could go to rate journalists and editors. Musk did produce a comedic-satirical site called THUD! in 2018 to compete with The Onion, but it didn’t last – mainly because he pulled out of the project’s financial backing. And at one time, Musk decided he wanted to be the next Jack Dorsey – former CEO and co-founder of Twitter.
But the richest man in the world must get some credit where due: Tesla and SpaceX are household names. Then there are his other businesses, Neuralink and The Boring Company. And he used his massive resources to aid Ukraine in the all-important communications-while-being-bombed-by-Russia department. Not many individuals can claim they will just tweak a satellite location and come to the rescue during a 21st-century war. Given the successes Musk has enjoyed, will he pull off a central social media platform that takes the wind out of Twitter’s sails? It’s entirely possible. As the richest man in the world, he can seriously do whatever. So does he want it? Or is it a passing fancy?
Imagine a Virtual World Without Censorship
Musk is a fierce patriot for free speech in today’s environment of algorithmic minions flagging anything the far left finds insulting. So perhaps his history of musing out loud and moving on to the next wild thought has people crossing fingers for a new social media option. And his insistence that Twitter’s algorithm should be open source, allowing users to see what other folks think – crazy as they might be – is on the line.
In a recent blog post, Twitter defended its practice: “An algorithmic Home timeline displays a stream of Tweets from accounts you have chosen to follow on Twitter, as well as recommendations of other content we think you might be interested in based on accounts you interact with frequently, Tweets you engage with, and more.” Basically, Tweeters do not see all content; instead, just what Twitter wants them to see.
That is what Musk is debating before he moves heaven and earth and truckloads of Bitcoin. And one unexpected person supports the idea: Jack Dorsey. Of course, the word on the street is that Dorsey is in the market for a new CEO job anyway.
~ Read more from Sarah Cowgill.