that Twitter’s head of “trust and safety,” Ella Irwin, resigned on Thursday. She oversaw “moderation” and according to the manager of The Platformer, Zoë Shiffer
, the team Irwin oversaw had “been told not to enforce Twitter’s ad policy unless the ad is a scam or illegal.” However, what this means for ads containing things like “hate speech” has been a point of contention.
Self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist” Elon Musk has very quickly shown that the word “absolutist” means something very different to him. Since purchasing the social media giant for $44 billion in October, Musk has banned people he doesn’t like, let extremists back onto the platform, and driven the value of the company into the ground.
With Musk’s company teetering on collapse, the billionaire stepped down and announced the hiring of a new CEO. Musk has since toned down his inflammatory Twitter trolling—but there seems to be more going on under the hood at Twitter. On Thursday, Jeremy Boreing, co-CEO of the lower-tier right-wing media outlet The Daily Wire, released a 16-tweet thread saying that Twitter was canceling free speech.
Fealty to billionaire libertarians means you are subject to the whims of billionaire libertarians. Face, meet leopard!
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Boreing wrote that The Daily Wire had put together a deal to pay Twitter for a “package” that would allow them to distribute the transphobic documentary “What is a Woman?” on the platform. This pathetic piece of propaganda, put together by self-described “theocratic fascist” Matt Walsh, is the kind of hate-filled, data-free drivel one has come to expect from him. Additionally, Boreing claims that Twitter would promote the movie (that’s what The DailyWire was paying for). Then Twitter asked to see the movie, after the deal was signed.
It was at this point that Twitter told The Daily Wire that the film was going to be limited in its release, saying it contained examples of "misgendering" deemed "hateful conduct" by Twitter. Teehee. Whether Boreing’s retelling of events was true or not, it led to speculation that Musk’s new CEO was making everything “woke” again. Whether or not CEO Linda Yaccarino is in charge just yet is not exactly known, since Musk only said she would take on the day-to-day sometime in the six weeks following his announcement.
For some time, Musk’s Twitter feed had been avoiding politically controversial content, talking mostly about his other business ventures, including Space X, Tesla, and Starlink. In fact, Musk had recently taken a short break from Twitter (two days of beautiful billionaire silence from May 29 to May 31), which coincidentally (or not) resulted in an increase in his wealth. With Musk initially silent on the Boreing allegations, the right-wing-o-sphere went into what sociologists might call a freakout. Right-wing commentator Tim Pool wailed, “Noooo say it ain’t so,” as he and his hate-filled ilk threatened to boycott Twitter Blue, Musk’s disastrous “verification” subscription/revenue stream, and before long, he was in Boreing’s replies saying that it was still okay to misgender people, even if it wasn’t “good manners.”
It is hard to know exactly what happened here, but we can speculate:
Firing roughly 75% of Twitter’s workforce and dissolving its content moderation team has led to a deteriorating consumer experience.
The right-wing-o-sphere’s fractured and greedy nature breeds infighting for power.
Twitter’s new CEO needs to bring back advertisers, so Twitter might be trying to shave off the sharpest edges of right-wing extremism.
This is a faux controversy concocted by Musk and The Daily Wire in order to drum up more publicity for the deal.
Musk bowed to pressure because he’s thin-skinned and really wants to be considered cool by the right-wing world he’s joined.
That last possibility is an important reminder that at some point, billionaires like Musk can decide to pick up their toys and find new people to impress. Money needs to be made. If and when that happens, outlets like The Daily Wire will be shit out of luck.
Shortly after Musk jumped in to say a mistake had been made by the people that work for him (and not him), a grotesquely erroneous report that actor Jamie Foxx was blinded and paralyzed due to the COVID-19 vaccine trended on Twitter. Matt Walsh, as of the writing of this story, is still posting that “we will see what happens,” claiming his offensive documentary is still being flagged by Twitter. And late yesterday evening? This:
That sound you hear when you log in to Twitter is a toilet flushing.