Barely two months have passed since Elon Musk carried an actual sink into Twitter headquarters signaling a new commitment to Free Speech at the social media giant. Musk’s acquisition delighted those who value an uninterrupted marketplace of ideas and enraged those on the international left who prefer to shadow ban, censor, or outright cancel those with different opinions or ideas. Regardless, of whether he wants one or not, Musk has a fight on his hands as he works to bring Free Speech back to Twitter and make the money-hemorrhaging enterprise profitable.
Musk wasted no time trying to level the playing field that had been grossly tilted under previous leadership. Many of the staff were fired. Previously banned accounts were reinstated. And now for $8 a month, ordinary folks can have their speech “verified” too. These changes completely stunned the political elites who feel their speech is the only speech that matters.
Some got a taste of their own medicine as footnotes were placed on misleading tweets. In one example, the White House even deleted a tweet, instead of trying to defend itself, after being called out by the Twitter community for exaggerating claims. In describing the bold move, Musk stated in tweets: “Our goal is to make Twitter the most accurate source of information on Earth, without regard to political affiliation.” Under previous leadership, these voices would have surely been silenced and canceled by the woke mob.
As we are finding out (either by a spirit of openness or fiduciary duty) Twitter was a little more than a political tool to suppress information favorable to conservatives or damaging to liberals. The “Twitter Files” show clearly that conservative voices were muzzled, sometimes at the request of candidates and even government officials. While previous leaders, including Jack Dorsey, admit mistakes were made at Twitter and are even taking responsibility, the radical left is refusing to give up on trying to maintain full control of their echo chamber.
Twitter is perhaps the most ambitious quest Musk will ever take. Surely, getting to Mars will be easier than for political elites to embrace an open dialogue where they must defend their positions or justify their claims.
It may be easy to have opinions or ideas that are never challenged but it is also dangerous. While Musk may be that lone voice telling the emperors they have no clothes, they choose to fight back instead of getting dressed. And they have already begun to push back.
With Musk trying to make things more open, and embrace Free Speech, the left’s play toy was taken away. Their voices were being placed on equal footing with those they disagree with and therefore, despise. Worse (for them), their activities of suppression and banning speech are being exposed and their hypocrisy is out in the open more and more. Their manipulation of politics is verified.
So far Musk’s commitment to Free Speech at Twitter seems to be unwavering. However, it remains to be seen if he can withstand the coming storm. The left knows how to cancel, and now, Elon Musk is at the top of their list.
While open-minded individuals are hungry for a fair platform that welcomes all ideas and ignores the cancel culture, those who loved the Twitter of old are far from thinking or acting fairly. Even if Musk can save Twitter, will he be able to save himself?
Since taking Twitter, the criticism of Musk and actual threats have escalated exponentially. He has essentially taken the role of the most despised villain on Twitter as he refuses to remove even criticism of himself. Many advertisers bailed. He is facing an avalanche of lawsuits. The Tesla stock price is plummeting. Even his and his family’s safety is being threatened (and threats are not Free Speech protected by the First Amendment.) Even after suspending accounts that threatened his safety, “news” outlets who remain on the front lines of woke cancel culture are reevaluating their presence on Twitter.
The woke crowd will stop at nothing to have the power and control of an unfiltered message. They will challenge anything that gets in the way – no matter how rich and powerful. And no matter how hypocritical it makes them look; they push forward.
Even the world’s wealthiest man will find it eventually impossible to withstand the constant attacks by the political elites since Musk’s idea of free speech is far from free. There is no doubt that the left will continue its tireless pursuit to cancel Elon Musk or convince him to give up – but it remains to be seen if he can rebuild Twitter fast enough to survive these relentless, and often unfair attacks.
Shaun McCutcheon is a Free Speech advocate, an Alabama-based electrical engineer, the founder of Multipolar, and was the successful plaintiff in the 2014 Supreme Court case McCutcheon v. FEC.