Without a doubt, the left’s reaction to Elon Musk pulling back the curtain on how federal agencies, the Biden campaign, and Twitter worked together to suppress news about the documents found on Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop (BREAKING: Elon Musk Spills the Tea on Twitter’s Suppression of the Hunter Biden Laptop Story) has given the most belly-laughs that we’ve experienced in quite a while. They started off claiming that Musk was victimizing a man in crisis — that would be Hunter Biden — because his sex trafficking, drug use, and general corruption are all symptoms of medical conditions rather than moral depravity (The Pathetic New Liberal Cope to the Twitter Suppression Bombshells — Who the Real Victim Is). That has mutated into, “oh, what’s the big deal about banning dick pics”; see Fake Conservative Media Uses Hunter Biden’s Genitalia as a Reason to Hide His Laptop Contents. From that, we’ve moved on to “the real victims are the douchenozzles who participated in the decision to banish all mention of the Hunter Biden laptop from Twitter. This tweet is by Twitter’s former head of “Truth and Safety” (yeah, I threw up a little in my mouth writing that), Yoel Roth (see Twitter’s Former ‘Truth and Safety’ Poohbah Demonstrates Why We Are Ruled by Idiots).
Meanwhile on Mastodon pic.twitter.com/c3KJIU0ywD
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) December 3, 2022
“In harm’s way?” WTF? One of the best examples of this thought process is by a guy who portrays himself as a “military historian.”
🔺 Musk is very publicly behaving as a partisan political actor – using Twitter to promote Republican causes explicitly. This might have been suspected of other social media bosses (e.g. Zuckerberg) but Musk is being absolutely open about it. /2
— ChrisO_wiki (@ChrisO_wiki) December 3, 2022
There’s been a lot of fuss about Elon Musk disclosing emails from previous Twitter management about how the company dealt with data from Hunter Biden’s laptop that was posted on Twitter. But it’s worth pointing out how this is disastrous for both Twitter and Musk himself. /1
Musk is very publicly behaving as a partisan political actor – using Twitter to promote Republican causes explicitly. This might have been suspected of other social media bosses (e.g. Zuckerberg) but Musk is being absolutely open about it. /2
Dems will surely now regard Twitter as having been weaponised by an overt partisan actor – Musk will not get any favours from the Administration or Congress. Congressional hearings into Musk’s moderation policies were already very likely and will surely be tougher now. /3
Wait…you mean the same party that used Twitter as a partisan weapon in 2020 and the same people who weaponized Twitter to shut down opposition to the mismanagement and cruelty of the COVID response will suddenly be shocked that Twitter can be used in a partisan manner? Why smack my butt and call me Sally, that never occurred to me.
As an aside, there is a very good chance that anyone writing about American politics who spells weaponized as “weaponised” and favor as “favour” doesn’t know his butt from a hot rock.
I’ve *never* previously seen a case of someone buying a company and publicly exposing its confidential internal and external communications for apparent political gain. That’s a huge breach of confidence, which will have major adverse consequences for Musk and Twitter. /4
Twitter’s previous management clearly didn’t anticipate this, otherwise they would surely have insisted on a confidentiality clause. But nobody can now say they don’t know how Musk will treat confidential information. /5
Who would now allow their company to be taken over by Musk, even if the payout is good? Anyone who does consent to a takeover would have to be concerned that Musk would expose their previous decisions to attack them and score partisan political points. /6
There is a clue that this guy has never participated in business or even written about it in the past. Confidentiality agreements don’t cover internal decision-making processes unrelated to the sale of the company. It is utterly stupid to say, “I’m selling you the company, but the documents and communications on the company’s servers are not yours.” Twitter’s former management team didn’t “allow” Elon Musk to take over. Their only option to the buyout offer was to fight a shareholder lawsuit they would lose.
Relatedly, Musk has effectively doxxed a bunch of people, exposing them to death threats from MAGA crazies (see below). I expect this will lead to further resignations from Twitter – who would want to work for a boss who puts your life in danger? /7
I can’t read this claim of “doxxing” without thinking about a particular Chris Rock routine.
Look, I’ve been doxxed. Twitter actively participated in that doxxing. These people were not doxxed. They were acting on Twitter’s time to do Twitter’s business. They weren’t secret agents. Their emails and Slack messages were not confidential once the company owner decides otherwise. They may be duplicitous f***s who deserve public ridicule, but they weren’t doxxed.
Breaching confidence so casually and blatantly is going to concern a *lot* of people, governments and organisations worldwide, as @jsrailton points out here. Musk has just created a lot of dangerous exposure for himself, especially in the EU. /8
Here you can read the panty-wetting parade of horribles conjured by a freaking Canadian who studies the internet environment. His concern over free speech is charming until you realize he’s part of a governmental system that closed the bank accounts of Canadians who protested the fascist lockdowns in that country.
Musk is already signalling that he may carry out further breaches of confidence to advance partisan narratives outside the US. Expect governments around the world to react strongly if they see Twitter as now a hostile foreign actor (compare TikTok). /9
Musk signaling that he's prepared to use his new leverage around recent elections & politics.
So, what exactly are his dealings with foreign political operatives?
These are questions Congress needs to start asking. pic.twitter.com/GSHyUldigj
— John Scott-Railton (@jsrailton) December 3, 2022
You know what the easy way for Twitter to avoid this bullsh**is? Don’t get involved in supporting political campaigns. Anywhere.
Advertisers are surely not going to be happy about this. Apart from the harm it does to brand safety, what does this say about their expectation of confidentiality from Twitter? General Motors has already said it’s concerned about Twitter potentially leaking data to Tesla. /10
If General Motors is concerned about its trade secrets being exchanged on Twitter, it has much bigger problems than Elon Musk and Tesla.
And it has big implications for us users too – the tweet below is particularly ominous. Our DMs are not encrypted and can be searched, read and harvested by Twitter’s staff. A lot of bad things can be done with that data. /11
Exhibit A. One of the people Musk brought into Twitter. pic.twitter.com/qJeBm6fC00
— John Scott-Railton (@jsrailton) December 3, 2022
Twitter DMs have always been open to being “searched, read and harvested,” this guy is just upset because now the shoe is on the other foot.
I fully expect that this is yet another poorly thought-out, spur of the moment initiative by Musk, but it’s very likely to have seriously negative consequences for him and for Twitter. A door has been opened that won’t easily be closed again. /end
This is the part I love in all the Musk critiques by the left. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. He’s only the wealthiest man in the world, but he doesn’t know how to run a business…other than PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX, or, now, Twitter.
The bottom line is best shown by a TikTok short video.
If you f*** around in national elections and try to play for one side or another, you don’t have a right to anonymity. Quite the opposite, you’re going to find out that you made some powerful enemies with very long memories. So maybe the next time you are asked to suppress information that helps put a doddering old imbecile in the White House, you answer with a vigorous, “not my circus, not my monkey,” and get the hell out of the conversation.