Dear Elon Musk, Ruin Twitter And Set Us Free

Could it possibly be worse?

Alex Kantrowitz

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“Isn’t the most responsible thing here to just shut the whole thing down. And if he did would Elon Musk not become the new George Washington, almost a historic figure on ten levels higher than he already is for probably saving the world.” — Josh Brown, Ritholtz Wealth Management

“Twitter is a machine for identifying the dumbest and most obnoxious and most delusional people among your enemies and elevating them to you constantly” — Ben Smith, Semafor

For years, Twitter’s most engaged users — called “heavy tweeters” internally — have been abandoning the platform. A new Reuters report this week said these users, who post 90% of all tweets and generate 50% of its revenue, have been in “absolute decline” since the onset of the pandemic.

And honestly, who can blame them?

Twitter is a shitshow. Despite its employees’ best attempts to spark “healthy conversations,” the conversations there are toxic, destructive, and decidedly unhealthy. Take any recent topic — Kanye, Covid, the midterms — and you’ll find the most awful views rising to the top. Nuance is dead there. Point out the grey and users who see black and white will make your life miserable. Meanwhile, the “Nazi Party” trends under Twitter’s “Fashion & beauty” category. People want to save… this?

Let it go. When Musk first said he’d buy Twitter, some freaked out that he’d end content moderation and create a more toxic platform. The concern overestimates people’s appetite to stick around on apps that make them feel bad. Parler’s a ghost town for a reason. Twitter’s losing its “heavy tweeters” for a reason. Let Musk do his thing and watch the platform’s influence blissfully wilt away.

Yes, social media makes it easier for the powerless to call out the powerful. But Twitter alone is not social media. And Twitter is not the internet. And if Musk blows it up, he’ll create opportunities for others to make something better. Perhaps some of the 5,000 of 7,500 Twitter employees who may soon leave the company, per Musk’s wishes, could get working…

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Alex Kantrowitz

Veteran journalist covering Big Tech and society. Subscribe to my newsletter here: https://bigtechnology.substack.com.