Elon Musk must save us by killing Twitter
What if the erratic behavior of a billionaire allows us to understand that in a few years Twitter will become a graveyard where the worst flaws of the Internet rub shoulders? Elon Musk could paradoxically save us by breaking his toy.
Twitter is broken. Log on to the social network for a few minutes and you’ll see messages like these abound on the platform since it was taken over by its volatile new boss at the end of October.
Internet users are wrong, but: Elon didn’t break Twitter, the platform is years old. Musk, paradoxically, may finally allow us to raise our heads above water.
Not a day goes by without the billionaire proving what some have been predicting for a long time: In addition to being a compulsive liar, Elon Musk behaves like a mini-dictator in the kingdom he is destroying. Twitter keeps only a handful of employees, who are forced to change their terms of service as the wind swings one way or the other.
The blue certificate badge disappears, reappears, turns gold, links to Mastodon are censored, then no, then it’s Instagram and Facebook’s turn to be taken down, journalists are ordered to clean up, then they can come back, but others are suspended, profile pictures are square, some companies can have a double sketch, the voting rights have to be paid, and suddenly we’re treated like a slap in the middle of the Oscars: what a big farce it all isn’t.
Web 2.0 has taken away our right to indifference as it exists
For years now, the political and media worlds have operated in a vacuum under the same big top of the same circus, where users are both the audience and the show. For years, the same Twittos tweet and the same followers retweet, pseudo-conscious victims of algorithms that reward the most negative emotions with ephemeral virality. Notification-hungry zombies who treat themselves online like they’ll never meet face-to-face.
” That’s not how people react to things in real life Recently, journalist and columnist Rebecca Jennings said in an excellent Vox article exploring the grotesque mechanisms of Twitter fugitives. ” Arguments and dramas only dominate platforms because they reward us for hating each other. “Where we hate the woman who tweets that she loves coffee while chatting with her husband for hours on the terrace.
This is not how the internet was supposed to work.
This is not how people should work.
No one should have an opinion about everything all the time. Twitter created the illusion that every word is valid, that everyone is interested in reacting to even the tiniest tweet. Where the polemicists argue and share, it rains, and suddenly the reaction of an anonymous person is highlighted by a verified account, as if it is his worst enemy, and the machine starts again.
Web 2.0 has taken away our right to indifference as it exists.
Saying “I don’t know” anywhere online won’t get you likes, retweets, or the satisfaction of your virtual circle.
Where we’re only talking about the key phrase, with a bonus for whoever claims the grandest and most empty sentence (and it doesn’t matter if they contradict each other or not).
to where it belongs for absolute freedom of expression (because who can oppose freedom?) and against censorship (even when sharing divisive, hateful, or transphobic messages), supposedly dying for people to verbalize their racism, homophobia, or sexism, and if you don’t agree with that, you’re closed-minded at best, a threat to democracy at worst.
That’s not how the web was supposed to work, because no platform should bring 200 million people together every day and let the tiniest person let them get away with it.
The bottle doesn’t matter as long as we have anger
For years, Internet users were thought to live in bubbles and cut themselves off from others because of the Internet, and people have never been exposed to more conflicting opinions. Even Elon Musk, drowning in the praise of his dithyrambic relatives, can’t ignore the crowd cheering him on stage with Dave Chappelle. Or the 10 million people who voted for his resignation as head of Twitter.
Platforms like Twitter have responded to a need created by their centralized operations: fighting FOMO (fear of missing out), the fear of missing the scandal that everyone is talking about, of not being aware of the news. If tomorrow this entire little world were to be split into several Mastodon specimens, how would I let everyone know I was against the woman at the cafe on her terrace and get as many retweets as possible?
Research shows that it’s not just filter bubbles that can radicalize people: the more people are exposed to dissenting views online, the more radicalized they become. No algorithm is neutral, and it’s heavily fueled by right-wing Twitter, even if it screams otherwise all day. But what does the glass matter as long as there is anger: the form of the speeches has far surpassed any rationality in substance. In any case, the facts do not force us to change our minds. Commitment is what matters. Users are far from being the main culprits and victims of these shortcomings dark patterns and malicious algorithms that limit attention to the maximum.
Twitter has never had a silence bonus.
By embodying the worst of our world, Elon Musk can save us from its excesses
The ridiculousness of the situation now seems like a nose in the middle of the face, now that we understand that this parallel virtual universe can collapse like a house of cards at the whim of a single person.
Twitter is a private company that has done what it wants with us from the start, but it’s also a turnkey opinion without nuance. For years, there are normally both legislative and moral safeguards for Musk to tear down like there’s no tomorrow. Showing that rules only bind those who respect them.
In this case, Elon Musk can be our savior.
He is the epitome of neoliberalism at its peak, a world that tolerates, even encourages, a handful of people who can each be worth more than $100 billion. Who created the environment where a single person can have enough funds to access the most used communication platform by world leaders, journalists, elites without any checks and balances.
As his luster fades, Musk’s growing power (and the loss of Tesla, one of the most interesting companies of the 21st century) is a strong warning signal: beware, we have collectively entered the red zone. Turn off the engine and wait for it to cool down.
By now, the billionaire would have helped Internet users understand that nothing online belongs to them: we are just tourists who consume and feed the system.
Twitter has encouraged wonderful things. Social activities, meetings, debates, funny blunders, sharing memorable memories. But is the gain still worth the daily toll in time and mental health? The web wasn’t supposed to work with such a concentration of tools, addiction to dopamine shots with every retweet and increasing virtual hostility. The internet shouldn’t force us to comment on all of Emmanuel Macron’s World Cup photos, just as it isn’t there to welcome our public condemnation of people who comment on Emmanuel Macron’s World Cup photos. .
There’s only one thing to hope for: Elon Musk ends up hacking Twitter.
Let the fallen Internet users take their rafts and leave to be stranded in the many small islands called Discord, Mastodon, Reddit or even the smallest thematic forums. Quieter, softer places. Even if the Great Migration isn’t for now, it’s the first time since the dawn of web 2.0 that users are taking seriously the possibilities of an alternative digital world.
Molly White, the researcher and engineer behind the 3 Is Going Just Great website, says: Despite the urban legend that people are chained to web giants, creating and hosting your own site or blog has never been easier or cheaper than it is now, and that’s heartening.e. So let’s fly.