Elon Musk

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Elon Musk’s ‘free speech’ paradise turned Twitter into a hellscape

Twitter became Elon Musk’s personal sh**posting ground while caving to Turkey’s political censorship demands.


Steven Asarch

Internet Culture

Posted on May 17, 2023   Updated on Jul 26, 2023, 5:31 pm CDT


This story was originally published on Passionfruit. Analysis.

Since Elon Musk, the tech CEO, billionaire, and self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist,” took over Twitter in October 2022 for $44 billion, the site seems to have become the center of a never-ending swell of toxicity, controversy, and jank. The site’s own headlines have become major news—like the recent appointment of Linda Yaccarino as CEO or when photos of animal torture appear in simple searches—but a little over six months after the purchase, Musk’s own erratic behavior and wishy-washy code of ethics get a lot of the justly deserved spotlight. 

Specifically this week, free speech is at the heart of Twitter discourse. Elon has been feathering himself up as a champion of free speech, in order to spew his own controversial political takes, all the while caving to demands from the Turkish government to censor political dissidents. Strap into your spaceship and hold on tight, we are in for a bumpier ride than a SpaceX launch. …

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*First Published: May 17, 2023, 4:36 pm CDT