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May 11, 2022

Can Elon Musk Reform Twitter for Good?

A lot depends on the employees who work for Twitter, not just the billionaire free speech fan.

It appears that Elon Musk’s Twitter purchase is going smoothly, or at least well enough that he’s beginning to elaborate more on his plans for the company he plans to take private.

We already knew by the reaction of Twitter workers — even when Musk simply purchased his initial 9% share and was offered a seat on the board — that many of them would be leaving even before the sale was complete. One unnamed Twitter employee complained about the “Elon fan boys [who] are braindead mouth breathers,” saying he couldn’t wait until Musk “lays half of us off.”

Indeed, according to the UK’s Daily Mail, Musk is planning on slashing the current staff by up to 1,000 once he takes control of the company. Seeing that news come out, it’s worth reminding readers at this point that our Nate Jackson warned a couple of weeks ago that Musk’s success depends on whether Twitter is “destroyed from the inside by employees going rogue in the same way deep state actors sought to bring down Donald Trump.”

But once the initial wave of layoffs is complete, Musk plans to hire several thousand new employees to focus on Twitter’s code and programming, making it open source and trying to make life more difficult for those who manipulate the discourse with automated bots that amplify a chosen message. Also on Elon’s to-do list is making changes to increase Twitter’s revenue while curtailing its reliance on advertising. Perhaps at that point, whether through a rumored rethinking and expansion of the subscriber-based Twitter Blue service or via other means, Twitter will no longer feature its users as its product and stop selling their data like other social media outlets do. Besides the increase in free speech Musk promises, pulling the plug on data selling would be another refreshing change from Twitter — assuming that’s what Musk intends.

Despite the expressions of angst from current employees alluded to above and hilariously skewered by The Babylon Bee, the job market is also responding to the prospects of a new-look Twitter. Interest in working at Twitter reportedly surged nearly threefold in the week after Musk’s deal was revealed. As the Bee’s sister site Not the Bee pithily noted, “It’s amazing how you can attract real talent when you hire based on skill and not based on Marxist intersectional theory!”

With all that said, and thanks to Elon Musk’s track record of innovation, you can put this writer in the camp of being optimistic about Twitter becoming a more useful social media outlet. However, we’ll grant there is the possibility that Rick Moran of PJ Media is correct when he says, “Musk’s purchase of Twitter may be the biggest mistake of his career,” adding, “Even geniuses are vouchsafed one spectacular failure in their lifetime and for Musk, sending a human being into space is easy compared to riding the whirlwind that is Twitter.”

Even if it turns out to be a mistake, though, we can now enjoy the ride while it lasts.

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