It has been a little over six months since Elon Musk took over Twitter. In this short duration, he has fundamentally transformed the popular social media platform.
He fired most of the site’s employees, including members of the so-called Trust and Security team, reducing headcount from over 7,500 to about 2,000. He has won every court case thus far about wrongful termination. He weathered the initial exodus of advertisers boycotting the site to appease the Left. Now, the advertisers are returning, and to help solidify the welcome, he appointed Linda Yaccarino, the veteran former advertising chief of NBC Universal, as the new CEO. Ms. Yaccarino is a power player in media circles for knowing how to attract and manage advertisers.
On the product front, Musk has added new features to the platform, including opportunities for users to chat with each other and make payments, borrowing from his time when he co-founded PayPal. He has removed the many bots that plagued the site and stepped up account authentication. He has changed the user’s newsfeed experience altogether, borrowing from TikTok. The “For You” feed now includes tweets from people users do not follow – gripping users to scroll down the list to discover new ideas, opinions, and interests. His goal is to get Twitter users to stay on the platform, and judging by the data he has released, he is succeeding. In March, people spent over 8 billion minutes daily on Twitter, a record.
But the real reason people are warming to the platform is that it is a lot freer now. A couple of weeks ago, Musk appeared on Bill Maher’s program, reiterating his vision for free speech. “I really can’t emphasize this enough. We must protect free speech – and free speech only matters, it’s only relevant, when it’s someone you don’t like saying something you don’t like. Because, obviously, free speech that you like is easy. So the thing about censorship is that, for those who would advocate it, just remember at some point that it will return on you.’
Yesterday, in a candid exchange on CNBC, Musk defended his use of Twitter, even though some people were worried about how it might affect Tesla. Musk compared a famous scene from “The Princess Bride” and said he was ready to put free speech ahead of possible financial consequences.
As the mainstream media continues to censor and not cover stories it doesn’t like (for example, the Durham report), Twitter remains the only platform where people can find all kinds of stories, opinions, and comments, with practically no content moderation imposed. The site has thrived as a result, giving voices to millions of people that had been mercilessly axed under the prior regime. In re-engineering Twitter’s algorithms, Musk has fully embraced the opinion of Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis from 85 years ago. In Whitney v. California (1927), Justice Brandeis observed: “If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies … the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”
And there is so much more speech now. Just clicking on a media report, even from a liberal outlet, shows the entire suite of responses to that story, always uncensored. The diversity of opinions, including links provided to other sources that further strengthen or debunk the original story, has brought back Twitter’s original promise: create a global public square where all views are equally respected; leaving users to make the judgment of what to believe or what not to believe.
Liberal critics argue that Musk’s relaxed moderation rules bring about imminent harm by “spreading misinformation,” the Left’s favorite excuse to push through censorship. Musk’s stewardship of Twitter over the last seven months has convincingly dismissed this claim. While misinformation continues on Twitter, there is no evidence that anybody has been harmed. On the contrary, Twitter‘s policies to interfere in the 2020 election handed the White House to President Joe Biden, whose actions have weakened America and thrust the country into a dangerous conflict with Russia. Had the New York Post’s reporting on the Hunter Biden laptop been allowed to stay on Twitter in October 2020, Americans would probably have never voted for Biden. America could have then been saved from the disaster that has been the Biden presidency, as we captured in 13 TIPP charts.
The new Twitter has also forced changes in the behavior of the mainstream media. CNN offered President Trump a chance to appear at a New Hampshire town hall last week. Clips of Trump taking down the hostile host in a vibrant exchange that freely circulated on Twitter showed the world how mentally sharp Trump is compared to President Biden. Under the old Twitter regime, all of these clips would have been censored and never allowed to be retweeted.
The world will never forget when on January 8, 2021, Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s senior policy executive, forever banned Trump, with his following of 88 million he had built throughout his presidency. The reason for Gadde’s action? According to the Washington Post, Gadde was responding to some Twitter employees’ concerns about their colleagues’ safety because some had already received security threats. But they were also angry that Gadde’s team had let President Trump’s account back onto the service after a 12-hour ban for appearing to encourage (TIPP emphasis) the Capitol rioters on the day “of the failed insurrection,” the Post’s preferred words to describe the events of January 6. That’s right. Ban an entire movement protesting deep election irregularities because a few employees in Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters felt unsafe.
So, Mr. Musk, here is our shout-out for returning free speech to the American public square. In the coming elections, probably the most critical vote in our lifetime, every aspirant to public office has an equal chance to get elected because no voice will be censored, at least on Twitter. People will judge candidates’ electability and solely vote on their merits. Woke types like Gadde and Roth, who have caused irreparable injury to the celebrated spirit of inquiry and debate in the freest country in the world, are now irrelevant. And for this, we, thank you.
Like our insights? Show your support by becoming a paid subscriber!
Must Watch/Read – Selected by tippinsights Editorial Board
Geopolitics And Geoeconomics
Two United States officials said that a U.S.-made Patriot missile defense system used by Ukrainian forces has likely suffered some damage from a Russian air attack but has not been destroyed.
On Tuesday, Russia’s Defense Ministry said that a hypersonic Kinzhal missile had destroyed a Patriot missile battery in Kyiv.
A summit of a rights body spanning Europe created a “register of damages” to record Russia’s destruction of Ukraine for future compensation.
Leaders from the 46-nation Council of Europe emphasized that Moscow would be held accountable for the harm and destruction it has caused in its 15-month invasion of its neighbor.
The DSM Capella left a port in Ukraine under a deal allowing the safe Black Sea export of Ukraine grain a day before Russia could quit the pact over obstacles to its grain and fertilizer exports.
While Russian exports of food and fertilizer are not subject to Western sanctions, Moscow says restrictions on payments, logistics, and insurance have created a barrier to shipments.
Six African leaders plan to travel to Russia and Ukraine “as soon as possible” to help resolve the war, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has said.
Ramaphosa said that the conflict had been “devastating” and Africa “is also suffering a great deal” from it.
Rising grain prices and the impact on world trade have badly hit African countries.
TASS reported the detention of Robert Shonov in Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East on May 15 and said he was accused of illegal covert collaboration with foreigners.
State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said on May 16 that Shonov is a Russian national who worked at the now-closed U.S. Consulate in Vladivostok for over 25 years.
The targeting of Shonov under the “confidential cooperation” statute highlights Russia’s “blatant use of increasingly repressive laws against its own citizens.” Miller said in a statement.
China is prepared to “resolutely smash any form of Taiwan independence,” its military said, as the U.S. reportedly prepares to accelerate the sale of defensive weapons and military assistance.
A recent increase in exchanges between the U.S. and Taiwanese militaries is an “extremely wrong and dangerous move,” Defense Ministry spokesperson Col. Tan Kefei said in a statement.
British former PM Liz Truss on a visit to Taiwan, is due to call for her successor Rishi Sunak to make good on his Conservative leadership campaign pledge last year to designate China as a strategic “threat.”
According to excerpts released by her office, the West cannot avoid another “Cold War” with China, the former Conservative leader will argue in the speech to the Prospect Foundation in Taipei.
Xiangjiang Qiao helped supply Iran with isostatic graphite, an ultra-fine grain used to make rocket nozzles, and set up a bank account in the name of a front company to receive $15,000 in transfers from a U.S. bank in connection with the transactions, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Qiao, 39, is in China and has not been arrested. He faces charges including sanctions evasion, bank fraud, and money laundering.
Despite talks between their senior ministers and military commanders, there is no sign of a resolution to the dispute that has brought ties to their lowest point in six decades.
Analysts say the volatility along their 3,500-kilometer-long disputed boundary appears to widen as a new flashpoint emerges. In December last year, soldiers from both sides scuffled in India’s northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh – a territory also claimed by China.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged leaders attending the upcoming G-7 summit to commit to a nuclear weapon no-use policy and voiced his concern about the possible weaponization of AI.
Speaking to reporters at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, Guterres said “it’s time” for nuclear weapons states to declare they will not use the armaments “in any circumstance.”
He said that Japan, as the only country to have been attacked by nuclear weapons, is a “particular moral authority” on the subject.
Leader Kim Jong-un inspected the country’s first military reconnaissance satellite and gave the green light for its next action plan. State media said the satellite is “ready for loading” on a rocket.
Kim stressed that the satellite’s successful launch is an “urgent requirement” under the prevailing security environment and a process of “bolstering up the defense capabilities on a top priority basis.”
Please email [email protected]
Republished with permission from TIPP Insights