by S. E. Williams
$44 billion is certainly enough to control a conversation especially in America where everything is for sale.
When the wealthiest person in the world (as reported by both the Bloomberg Billionaires Index and Forbes’s ‘Real-Time Billionaires’), Elon Musk, closed his acquisition deal of the popular social media platform Twitter last week, he announced plans to delist the company’s stock and take it private. In the process, he would remove it from the hands of public shareholders.
Why would he do this? Well, according to the New York Times report, it provides Musk with several advantages. First, as a privately held firm he is not required to make public disclosures about the company’s performance on a quarterly basis. In other words, we will just have to take his word for it. Another benefit is that Musk will not be subjected to regulatory oversight to the extent he would were Twitter to remain publicly owned.
Perhaps the biggest advantage, however, is that it gives Musk tighter control over the rules that govern Twitter’s content as well as its priorities—in addition to its finances without having to worry about what his investing public might think about his decisions. For example some might be against the biggest consideration hanging in the air: whether or not former President Donald Trump should once again have free reign to spew his nonsense on the platform and expand the spread of fake news and other disinformation. With shareholders out of the picture, Musk will not need to trouble himself with their disapproval.
Admittedly, social media is a dynamic force in people’s lives today as evidenced by the near 4.65 billion social media users worldwide. And reports indicate that 84% of Americans use at least one social media platform. One would think with all the hype about the Musk takeover of Twitter, it is the most popular social media platform around. In reality, however, it ranks a distant 10th in the number of monthly active users (mau’s) worldwide with 217 million mau’s compared to Facebooks’s 2.9 billion mau’s and YouTube’s 2.2 billion mau’s. Even Tik Tok, Snapchat and Pinterest have more users than Twitter.
Even though it is not the most popular, it still has enough subscribers to influence conversations across the country. Just as it is easy to see Musk’s desire to use his money to control the conversation in America, there is little doubt regarding who Musk is—a thinly veiled racist with right leaning tendencies. The question is, do we as individuals and business users of Twitter have the courage to switch our social media traffic away from his social media platform, a platform that has already ratcheted up racism and is fanning the flames of anti-Semitism by spewing hatred and mind bending rhetoric that will further split the people of this nation.
One way to fight back against such use is to delete our Twitter accounts. It is easy to do. Simply go to <twitter.com> and log into your account. Then go to your account settings, scroll down to deactivate my account and then hit the delete button at the bottom of the screen. If you change your mind (and I hope you don’t) you have up to 30 days to reactivate your account.
We can continue to enjoy Twitter while we complain about the racist, anti-Semitic, ongoing disinformation that will find more and more space to live on the platform or we can stop fueling it by unsubscribing to platforms that work against our greater good as a people, a community and a nation. Sometimes it is not the big things that make a difference in creating the kind of change we want. But as the Taoist would remind us, it’s the 10,000 little things than matter.
Deleting our Twitter accounts is one small way to help stop the insanity that has certainly set this nation on a dangerous course.