While the social network lives, Elon Musk plunges into the culture war

Twitter is both a social media company and a crime scene “. This description It comes not from Twitter’s competitor, but from its owner and leader, Elon Musk. He says he will dig out the second richest man in the world.” Twitter’s darkest secrets » and « have fun in every new episodeTwitter files “. Five explosions of “revelations” based mainly on internal exchanges published on the platform by Elon Musk himself to conservative journalists. In a context where the leakage of advertisers threatens the financial health of the social network, which he bought for $ 44 billion at the end of October, the businessman again acts as an arsonist, starts a fire and himself it shows as a guard at the time.only one is able to turn it off.

Features critical to Twitter’s economic model — such as the new Twitter Blue subscription or increasing the number of characters per tweet — are finally being implemented after a two-month wait and several setbacks, but the new leader is drawing controversy. After coming out conservative during the US mid-term elections in November – it is not surprising that the businessman is criticizing the former leadership and reaching out to the American conservative right, whose previously most extreme expressions were more moderate. That’s how the billionaire sunk” culture war at the expense of any economic justification.

How Elon Musk is consigning Twitter and the economy to the post-truth era

The first episodes of The Twitter Files are a wet squib

Twitter files » aims to reveal what is assumed. censorship against American conservative figures of the social network. Donald Trump’s deportation for the Capitol rebellion alone takes two out of five threads disclosures made so far. Their goal: to show that this was the result of an arbitrary decision by the leaders of the social network, not the implementation of a policy of moderation that, according to them, was not violated by the ex-president.

L'” investigation ” thus exposing a decision that is perfectly legal, but considered immoral by conservatives who advocate the absolutism of free speech, that is, the absence of moderation as long as laws are not broken. Nor is he concerned with the facts: a parliamentary inquiry into the Capitol riots on January 6, 2021, concluded that the former US president played an active role in their occurrence by publishing statements that fell within the scope of the incitement to riot. prohibited by law. In addition, Donald Trump has been symbolic announced impeachment “, including with the support of elected Republicans, for his role in this insurgency.

First episodes as detailed by CheckNews “Twitter files it’s actually a live firecracker. They only say “censorship” is a matter of moderation. They explain that the social network has tools to limit visibility in its moderation arsenal, and the company is showing it to the public. While these tools, such as account suspension decisions, were not reported to work, Twitter was simply enforcing its own rules and trying to comply with the law. The old Twitter was considered by regulators around the world to be too ineffective in controlling hate speech.

These Twitter Files should also be used to restore offline ones. These have taken refuge in a conservative community in recent years on platforms similar to Twitter, but with more lax moderation policies, such as Parler, Gab or Gettr. On the other hand, none of them managed to apply themselves. Parler, the most popular, will have more than 330 million monthly Twitter users for a total of 725,000 users. All these alternative networks hoped to succeed by attracting Donald Trump, who made Twitter his first means of communication, but the latter chose to launch his Truth Social platform and maintain an exclusive presence there. As a result, even when Elon Musk reinstated his Twitter account after a quick public inquiry, Trump did not come back. Not so for many accounts banned by the previous administration and brought back by Elon Musk, including many figures from the American right.

A “research” like no other

Although presented asTwitter files not a survey like the others. terminology” queues “where” documents Commonly used by journalists, it refers to the leaking of internal documents, usually provided by a whistleblower. For example, Facebook Files was released to the press by former Facebook executive Frances Haugen.

However, in caseTwitter files “, the leak is not one, because the publication of the information is supported by Elon Musk. Another originality: “investigations” are published neither on the website nor in a paper newspaper, but in the form of a sequence of tweets – “topics” – from the journalists’ Twitter accounts. To support notes, we see footage of moderation tools, email exchanges between leaders, or excerpts from the internal Slack messaging system. In turn, Elon Musk actively speaks and comments on this topic threads 121 million subscribers follow his personal account. To date, neither the details nor the extent of the information given to the various journalists working on the subject have been disclosed. Some people like Jack Dorsey asked opening documents to the public so that all may judge, but they were not heard.

The authors have one thing in common: they are all considered conservative and anti-media mainstream (as the name given to the mainstream media New York Timesthat Elon Musk regularly pour target). Journalists behind the first two wavesTwitter files “, Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss, for example, are old dimensions Spinning stones and New York Times, now called “renegades”. After leaving their respective newsrooms because of their anti-vaccine and/or transphobic stances, they each launched an independent newsletter on Substack. [une plateforme spécialisée dans ce format, ndlr]. Now they are gearing up for a new media joint release, Free Pressa company built on the ideals that were once the bedrock of American journalism “.

Did Elon Musk shoot himself in the foot?

since “Twitter files “, Elon Musk’s communication is becoming increasingly conservative. So much so that on December 11 the billionaire tweetedMy pronouns are sue / Fauci “. This cryptic message is a two-fold attack. On the one hand, it targets Anthony Fauci, a doctor of immunology and the White House adviser on the management of the Covid pandemic. The latter is a central figure in American anti-vaccine conspiracy theories, none of which has been proven against him.

On the other hand, the tweet makes a mockery of the LGBT+ community: more and more people specify the pronouns to refer to them (such as he or she). This annotation is intended, among other things, to allow transsexuals to be assigned the correct gender. An idea that has deeply displeased the conservative right in the United States, as it has in France.

Following that post, the Twitter boss made further references to Covid and said, “vocists“. In short, while he defines himself as “neither left nor right,” he fully commits to being part of the hard right. The problem is that this political turn is hardly compatible with Twitter’s economic woes. A A few weeks ago, Elon Musk was in the middle of the temptation of advertisers who fear a resurgence of hate speech thanks to new moderation policies. wanted to highlight as the main channel for discussion, but this message was lost in the flood of discussions in the Twitter Files.

Meanwhile, Tesla’s stock price has lost more than 25% of its value since the Twitter takeover, and more than 50% since the beginning of the year. Rather than stand by the electric car company essential to his fortune, Elon Musk is fighting politically and questioning his newly acquired platform. And if revelationsTwitter files » turned out to be as shocking as announced, so the billionaire will attract the attention of regulators and be subject to fines …

But in any case, flirting with the hard right, the businessman will have to redouble his efforts to convince advertisers to stay. Especially since he personally challenged the last moderation chief, Yoel Roth, in addition to abolishing the moderation advisory body…