Three Brave Predictions About Twitter Under Elon Musk
Read to the end for an extra prediction about the CatTurd investigation.
The prophecy has come to pass! The rain has begun and soon the seas will rise and drown us all in their wake!
Elon Musk owns Twitter!
Quite a funny day to be honest. A lot of funny hoaxes because of how frantic people have been about this. 2012 is upon us!
To commemorate the occasion I have three predictions for this Musk era of Twitter. They range from things I am pretty confident about to things I am less confident about but will still predict.
In descending order of confidence…
1) This has all been overblown and in the end, Musk isn’t going to make many changes that significantly alter the Twitter experience.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this one. No one really knows. You can agree with me or not. We’ll find out. I think he is a man who likes money and any of his more extreme ideas will not come to pass because he has equity partners and advertisers to think about. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong.
2) Musk will at some point in the next couple of months offer to let Trump back on Twitter. Trump will not immediately take up the offer.
I’m less confident about this. I’m sure Trump will be offered his account back but I don’t see him immediately jumping at it. The reason is that he has spent two years whining about his banishment and it’s central to his general claim of victimhood. Thirstily coming back would be pathetic. A year ago, I think he would have come back at the first chance because for all the political strategy thinking that could go into it, he’s also just a human with a social media addiction and he was probably having severe withdrawals. But now I bet he has gotten pretty used to Truth Social and gets enough of a serotonin bump fix that he’s not going to run back. He’s on methadone. Eventually, like many methadone users, he will probably fall off the wagon and need a pure fix and rejoin, but I think it will take a while for that to happen. Maybe closer to the 2024 election?
The other less sexy reasons for this prediction are that 1) the GOP really doesn’t want him to come back immediately because it could screw up their midterm chances and 2) he has a financial stake in Truth. He might even have an exclusivity commitment?
Regardless, a lot of people disagree. Last night, Katie Notopoulos predicted in a Twitter Spce he’d be back by today. Maybe I’m wrong. I hope I’m wrong! I want Democrats to win elections and I think Trump being on Twitter makes that more likely. For the same reasons the GOP desperately doesn’t want him to come back, I do want him to come back.
Anyway, we’ll see.
3) In the end, Musk will not get rid of the practice of permanently banning people.
This is the one I’m least confident about, but it’s also the reason I’m writing this post so let me make the case.
He has explicitly said that he does not like permanent bans and that he wants to do away with them, but I don’t think he’s going to be able to do that.
When people talk about this they normally think about people like Trump or Marjorie Taylor Green or Infowars, large accounts that share misinformation and break the terms of service in ways that include arguably incentivizing violence like January 6th. These are somewhat complicated moderation issues. A lot of people probably disagree with Musk’s more laissez-faire approach. But they represent an incredibly small fraction of accounts that actually get permanently banned. The accounts that mostly suffer this social media death sentence are people random jackasses who make violent threats. Rape threats, death threats, whatever. Musk has been clear that he does not want to create a place where those things are sanctioned. Not only would it be terrible for advertisers but it would also just be stupid. Even the “free speech” social networks don’t allow you to make threats to people. And they shouldn’t! Good people can disagree about whether someone should be allowed to share their idiotic negative bigoted thoughts on social media, but very few people who aren’t psychotic monsters think that people should have to receive death threats.
In 2016, when Trump ran for president he promised to repeal Obamacare but also said he would continue to force insurance companies to cover sick people with preexisting conditions. After his election, when people were most afraid that the ACA would be repealed, my colleague at the time Kevin Drum wrote an article that argued that Trump couldn’t substantively accomplish both those goals. If you got rid of the rest of Obamacare but kept that requirement for insurance companies, costs would spiral and the insurance market would break. The GOP would have to choose one priority or the other. This is what happened. They attempted to repeal it and it was so profoundly unpopular that three Republican senators broke with the party and it failed.
To stop people from getting rape and death threats on a social network, it is almost impossible to imagine a way it could be accomplished without permanently banning people.
Let’s say you’re Twitter and someone gets a death threat. They report it and the ball is thrown in your court. Not a mean tweet that some people could interpret as possibly threatening. A straight death threat. “I am going to kill you.” There are five ways you, as Twitter, can respond to this.
You can add a little play on the tweet saying “not a nice tweet!” This is not sufficient. It is an approach that works for lesser TOS violations but not an out-and-out threat.
You can temporarily suspend the account’s ability to post and tell them that they won’t be allowed out of Twitter jail until they delete the tweet. This is the next level of severity. It’s happened to me for saying mean things about Germany shouldn’t be a country anymore because they did two world wars. (lol). But it is obviously insufficient in the case of a death threat because it leaves the threat up. The person can choose to stay in Twitter jail and let the death rate live. So it is not an option.
You can take down the tweet and not suspend them. They will just do it again. And you’ll have to take down that tweet as well. Again and again forever. This is just a massive waste of resources and time. This is why the last Twitter regime did suspend you after repeated violations, which leads to the next option.
You can take down the tweet and temporarily suspend them. A day, a month, a year, whatever. When they come back, maybe they’re born again and contrite and the world is peaceful and serene from then on. Or not. If not, they’ll do it again. As sure as the sun rises in the morning, thousands of these assholes will do it again. Because lots of people are on these sites just to do that. So you have to suspend them again for longer. And then they come back and do it again and again and it becomes a massive waste of resources and time.
You can delete the threatening tweet and all the rest of the person’s tweets and permanently ban them. This is what Twitter has been doing when the lesser punishments have not changed your behavior. Maybe they do that because they do not believe that you will ever find God and seek salvation, but probably not! The real reason is that they don’t have the resources and energy to play whack-a-mole with you forever. It is a waste of money to employ people to have to be your personal Twitter probation officer. Eventually, it just makes no financial sense to let you back on. It is for this fiscal reason that Musk will eventually have to compromise on his belief that no one should ever be permanently banned.
Now, what constitutes a threat? Everyone obviously disagrees about this. Musk probably thinks that “I am going to kill you” is a threat but that “I hope you get cancer and die” is not a threat. So there will be lots of room for people to complain and fight about this going forward. But if you are the sort of Nazi (or just a nut job) who thinks that Musk’s words about free speech are going to mean you can send rape threats and death threats, you are wrong. He might give you more chances than the last regime. He might define “threat” in a more litigious and strict way than liberals would like or the last version of Twitter did, but that is not what you, an 8chan psychopath, want. You want to be able to tell me, the kike, that you’re going to come to my house and put me in an oven. You are going to be sorely disappointed.
Again, the room for interpretation here is that, for instance, “Ben Dreyfuss is a yid and he lives at 123 4th Street and I’m going to put him in a gas chamber” is something that some people might think does not constitute a real threat because the person doesn’t have a gas chamber so it’s not like I should be on the look out. But I think that actually is a real threat and crosses the line. I think in general most people probably agree with me. So I would disagree with Musk if he thinks that is ok. But the simple existence of threats that there is literally no room to argue about—” i am going to kill you”—means that it is just not feasible to have a ban on the practice of permanently banning people. It would require employing a zillion people to watch a very small community of psychos. Musk already thinks that Twitter has too many employees.