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20 thoughts on “Tesla CEO Elon Musk offers to buy Twitter

  1. Privately owned companies rarely serve the best interests of society as a whole, as they easily avoid accountability to anyone other than the owner. Think Koch Industries and its environmental plundering all in the name of profits and power. Think the Trump Organization and its numerous fraud committed against its various customers and contractors all in the name of profits and power. Other can be named as well, but you get my point. Musk is framing his offer to buy Twitter and take it private all in the name of “free speech” would actually perpetuate the harm some actors incurred with their lies, hate, conspiracy theories, misinformation, and outright propaganda before they were prohibits from using the platform. The First Amendment does not require protection of free speech by private companies. It requires, instead, that protection only by the federal government. As always, yelling “fire!” in a crowded theatre is not, nor has it even been, protected by the Constitution. Claiming “voter fraud!” falls into the same category. Let’s hope Twitter shows Musk and his offer the door, for the goodof us all.

    1. Your understanding of the fire shout is wrong. It is protected.

      I don’t think of Musk as much of a savior, but if you read your own words from a different angle, Musk buying Twitter because he disagrees with its operating decisions is a perfectly logical progression where a public company is at issue.

      Twitter exists now without his ownership, so does your first sentence apply to it currently? Or only when one particular political side (see your examples) is in control of whatever it is you’re discussing? Musk would probably tell you that the “saber rattling” exception Twitter cites for keeping Ayatollah on Twitter while removing Trump is something worth wanting to fix. I don’t know for sure there, but I do know your argument would go further if you acknowledged the very rational sides of opposing arguments.

    2. Z L. – I don’t know in what universe you exist, but if you actually believe yelling “fire!” in a crowded theatre when no such fire exists is protected speech, I suggest you go try that and see what happens. Nothing like testing your theory to learn just how flawed your thinking is. Lastly, I won’t even bother to counter you on the “what aboutism” example of Twitter’s response to the Ayatollah’s post on its platform (personally I don’t follow the guy, so I can’t speak to whether he’s a bad as Trump was…but Trump was our president so that’s closer to home for me and matters more than a guy who is more some 6,500 miles from us).

    3. Spending $41 billion to repeat the mistakes or Gab or Parler with Twitter seems like a poor use of $41 billion, but that’s just me. If having no moderation was something people wanted, both those sites would be much more popular.

      As Twitter and Facebook found out the hard way, it’s real easy to claim you have “free speech principles” and let people run wild until someone uses your service to attempt a coup. Musk apparently is foolish (or rich) enough to think that he’ll never face consequences or actions for what happens on his site.

      Then again, I also think most of the problems with Twitter would go away if they simply charged users a buck a year and took a credit card.

    4. Regarding your reply to mine, the (often misquoted) fire quote was dicta, not law. And the holding of the case was overturned some years ago, anyways. But I get the impression you rarely revisit your leaping off point.

      Also, my whataboutism? I believe your mistake was in assuming I was somehow asking for Trump to be reinstated on Twitter? No, I’m saying Musk would probably have the Ayatollah example on his list of things where there was an inconsistent application of Twitter policies. Thus, one of his reasons for wanting to buy… the public company.

      And the mileage thing doesn’t matter– the Ayatollah frequently outright threatens danger with more hateful speech than is regularly removed. Again, inconsistency of policy. Unless you’re now arguing for a distance factor when Twitter is determining what posts to remove? I’m not sure.

    5. Taking it private with an idiot at the helm will almost certainly invite federal regulation. That is the one thing they seem to have avoided so far with more careful moderation.

    6. Brent–

      Z L is 100% correct, and “fire” in a crowded theater is the standard leftist justification for their cherished censorship. Everything becomes equivalent to “fire!”, such as the myth that we can have something ludicrous like “hate speech” and a First Amendment. We can’t and don’t. 1A supersedes your passionate desire to expel ideas that you don’t like from the public forum. Virtually nothing passes the “fire in a crowded theater” legal litmus test, and attempt to block undesired speech through louder counter-speech usually fall into the domain of a heckler’s veto…which is a 1A infringement.

      Cue the normie defense: “Private companies have a right to decide how to run their business!” You’re absolutely correct–they DO have that right. But they can’t use this right and make any credible claims to “defending democracy” when they put the thumb on the scale of an open forum they administrate and then manipulate. This is why the corrupt Tech Oligarchs are deservedly under fire for behaving like publishers when they’re supposed to be platforms, and why there’s growing concern that the internet should receive more of the legal treatment of a public utility. Twitter can become a scuzzy echo chamber (it basically already has), but if it’s publicly traded it opens itself up to a hostile takeover by someone who calls it out for what it is, and seeks to reform it.

      There’s no such thing as ANY entity, public or private, that “serve[s] the best interests of society as a whole”, and leftists’ delusion into thinking we can achieve this has helped spawn most of the 20th century totalitarianism (post-Marx). Private companies, at the very least, can fail on their own when they don’t align with a sufficient portion of the public will–they go out of business, as they should. What about when a public entity fails in the same regard? It’s nearly impossible to take them out without pitchforks or guns.

    1. They’re hoping that Musk will force Twitter to admit Trump back into their user community because he (Trump) wasn’t smart enough to hire people competent enough to create a Twitter clone (or better) but rather (probably) hired them for their political leanings. This, after someone provided him with a kludge and no one paid attention to it.
      .
      Here’s a typical article bout Truth Social (the name of the current efforts):
      .
      https://www.politico.com/news/2022/04/04/trump-social-media-staff-exodus-00022706

  2. Musk needs a few lessons about free speech in the Internet age. With barriers to publication being so low, the new form of censorship is to not stop something from being published, but to flood the space with so many lies and misinformation that anything truthful is lost in the flood.

    It sounds like he wants to keep the floodgates open.

    So much for democracy around the world.

    1. Brannon/Trump … same playbook. The idea is that you can’t trust anyone but a “strong” leader. They’re your only savior.

    2. The normies on here who think that the Washington Post has more credibility and integrity than Breitbart seem to be getting VERY annoyed by this. Here’s a revelation: NEITHER have much credibility.

      If the legacy media calls it “misinformation”, the rest of us immediately assume it to be “truthful but not part of the desired narrative”.

      Censorship = ideas that the Cathedral doesn’t want transmitted, not because they’re necessarily false, but because the Cathedral is unprepared to refute them

      Cue the Cathedral coming up with its best counter-attack: glib preferences to “democracy”, LOL, as though their form of censorship somehow isn’t steadily eroding it in places where it once was unquestionable. Like Canada, whose Ceausescu is now issuing journalist “passes” for the privilege of covering him, which of course is clearly intended to exclude those journalistic outlets that challenge him.

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