I’ve decided to pull the trigger, I’ll be walking away from twitter and closing down the account I’ve managed to hang onto the longest, the reason I’m walking away was the news that Elon Musk had bought Twitter, yes I’m a liberal snowflake (it goes with the territory) and yes it is a case of cutting off my nose to spite my face (if you had a face like mine you’d understand), but there’s just something that doesn’t sit right about Elon owning Twitter.
For a start he’s a man who prides himself on being a “Free speech absolutist”, ignoring the obvious issues with absolutism, it’s also plainly nonsense, trying to create an image that runs contrary to who he really is, Elon has no problem shutting down other people’s speech, hell if you work for Tesla and decided to leave for pastures new, he’ll make you sign an arbitration saying you’re not allowed to disparage the company on the way out, indeed if you want to speak freely in court, you’d need an exemption from Tesla to do so.
If you want to review one of his shiny electric cars, he’ll expect editorial approval of what you want to say, he’s a misogynist, a racist, he’s certainly homophobic and has also dallied with transphobia, he has no qualms about swimming with the far right as long as it may benefit him financially, like a modern day Gunther Quandt (batteries aren’t the only thing they have in common), happily throwing money at far right politicians as they gleefully introduce draconian laws, all so he can increase his wealth, because clearly you can never have too much.
Elon Musk believes freedom of speech should only apply to billionaire straight cis white men (and those who agree with them), he’s a man who believes hate speech is free speech, but any criticism of himself or his companies is out of order, there’s a good reason the far right with its collection of white supremacists, antisemites, anti-abortionists and homophobes are championing Musk’s purchase of Twitter as a major win.
Musk is in possession of one of the single most fragile egos in history and also one of the most inflated, he’s a dullard, a bore, a man devoid of wit, who’s managed to convince the rich and powerful that he’s a genius when all evidence points clearly to the contrary, he sees himself above the average person, but further than that he sees himself above everyone, scientists, academics, governments, he’s Andrew Ryan looking to shape his own Rapture.
He’s a liar, a hypocrite, a charlatan, a man who’s entire is existence is predicated on convincing others he’s something he is most definitely not, backed by tax breaks, incentives and dubious business practices that would see most companies fined into oblivion, instead financiers and even governments keep queuing up again and again to hand him more and more, continually fueling his megalomania and perpetuating the myth that he’s somebody to be taken seriously, helped in no small part by a sycophantic media that prefers traffic to critical journalism, even The Simpsons dedicated an entire episode to happily bending the knee to the naked emperor.
So for somebody like me there wasn’t really much of a choice “but what if he improves twitter?” I’ve seen more than one person ask, but it doesn't matter, I can’t be somebody who stays on a platform owned by a man like that, he has said he wants to tackle misinformation, but equally he’s a person who called the covid pandemic “dumb”, insisted there would be no deaths after March 2020 and has taken a decidedly anti-vax stance.
And that’s before you get into his infamous “pedo” outburst, directed at a cave diver who rescued a bunch of kids, but was critical of Musk.
So one has to question what exactly he means by “misinformation”
Obviously people are free to make their own choices, I just can’t hang around and let my presence be a validation of what is going on, to be part of a system where presence incentivises advertisers to fund his particular brand of hate against marginalised communities, for better or worse (and I have a feeling it’s going to get an awful lot worse) I would rather just walk aways than swim in a sewer where my presence tacitly supports the abhorrent views of a wannabe dictator.
I’m going to miss the group of friends I’ve surrounded myself with and I’ve looked at a couple of alternatives to twitter, but they just didn’t have the same feel. I do have facebook and Instagram, but they sit unused as I only had one out of necessity and the other is mostly pointless.
So it looks as if my social media journey is reaching its end.
Still, it was a good run.