Since the official takeover of Twitter for 44 billion dollars on October 28 after months of procrastination, Elon Musk has become the main political and media attraction in the United States. strong of nearly 120 million subscribers on one of the most important social networks, the billionaire multiplies controversial announcements and releases, so much so that his compulsive use of the platform is reminiscent of that of the most famous ex-twitto – Donald Trump – and worries shareholders of Tesla.
The one who explained a few weeks ago that he had made this acquisition to help humanity, as a good messianic techno-solutionist, is gradually revealing another objective: the fight against everything that directly or indirectly relates to progressivism and the promotion of confusionism appreciated by alt-right circles.
If all this was expected, as long as one is interested in the evolution of the character, the speed of implementation is surprising. This online hyperactivity coupled with chaotic management seriously tarnish the image of visionary genius that he had succeeded in shaping over the past fifteen years.
Twitter favorable to the left, a deliberate error of analysis
One of Elon Musk’s first announcements was the promise to restore a political neutrality on Twitter, which he considered plagued so far by wokism and far-left ideas. If the political proximity of tech employees with the Democratic Party is rather true, its caricatural postulate is largely contradicted by the large study carried out by the network in 2021 in seven countries and on millions of tweets.
This indeed demonstrates that the algorithm unwittingly favors right-wing political content and conservative media in all the countries studied except Germany (United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Spain).
By openly freeing himself from these conclusions, the new owner of Twitter favors his perception and makes an opinion a fact to justify a sudden change of course, even if it means endangering the durability of his new toy.
This deliberate error of analysis, which could easily be described as manipulation, has largely guided Elon Musk’s risky and biased strategy for almost two months now. It also explains why all the measures announced seem to be overwhelmingly favorable to the radical right.
From the reinstatement of accounts banned in the wake of an online survey, to the desire to reduce moderation to a strict minimum, to paying certification at $8 per month without identity checks, and the suspension of journalist accounts. covering his news, the “Chief Twit”, as he calls himself, gives all the tools to extremist and/or conspiratorial movements to fully flourish on the platform and reinforces disinformation (already very present in the past).
A leader far from impartial
The woke mind virus is either defeated or nothing else matters
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 12, 2022
The political positioning of Elon Musk is no longer in doubt since he came out in favor of the presidential candidacy of the Republican governor of Florida and ex-protege of Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis. A change of camp for the one who claims to have always voted Democrat but who says he is disappointed by the too leftist anchoring of the Biden administration and repelled by wokisma portmanteau word that he never defines.
His attitude could be explained, at least in part, by the fact that the White House snubbed Tesla during a ceremony promoting electric cars in August 2021, but also by the fact that one of his daughters does not don’t talk to him anymore “because of the ‘neo-Marxists’ in the universities”.
This support and these criticisms are questionable, while Elon Musk daily attacks the old leadership for its supposed bias. In addition to leading a policy that is rather favorable to the reactionary sphere and supporting an ultra-conservative candidate, the billionaire seems to welcome anything that could negatively impact the Democratic Party.
For example, he recently welcomed the label change of the very controversial Arizona senator Kyrsten Sinema, who became independent after being elected in 2018 with the Democratic logo and on positions marked on the left, which she then renounced to satisfy her donors. A decision “in the interest of the people”, according to him.
The “Twitter Files”, a tool at the service of a narrative
But that’s not all. The saga of the “Twitter Files,” a so-called transparency operation aimed at making the former leadership’s internal documents about moderation public, also appears to have been designed – in part – to destabilize the Democrats. If they reveal absolutely nothing that could directly put them in difficulty, the serialization, promotion and orientation of these “Twitter files”, as well as the innuendoes of Elon Musk, make them political tools made available to them. disposition of the opposition to corroborate the narrative of pro-left censorship.
When studied a little more closely, they show above all the difficulties faced by the moderation teams during the 2020 presidential election campaign, in an unprecedented context of conspiracy, misinformation, threats and attacks. incitement that culminated in the attack on the Capitol. If one can legitimately question or criticize the decision-making process and the moderation architecture of the post-Musk network, the silence of the events that led to certain censorships, by the journalists selected by the new boss of Twitter to publish this series, questions.
It should also be noted that the employees still in place after the great wave of layoffs are now threatened with legal action if they deliver information to the press on the management of Elon Musk. Total transparency, yes, provided that it does not concern the current management.
To get an overview of Elon Musk’s report on information, the press and disinformation, just regularly consult the tab “tweets and replies” of his profile. Thus, we quickly notice his aversion to the major American dailies and journalists. Conversely, he appears very receptive to the narrative of many highly controversial political influencers and sometimes favors alternative facts.
The most striking recent example of this is the publication of an article from an openly conspiratorial blog, the Santa Monica Observer, in response to a tweet from Hillary Clinton about the attack on the husband of the elected Democrat. Nancy Pelosi by a conspiracy theorist in San Francisco.
In it, Paul Pelosi is portrayed as an alcoholic who often uses male prostitutes and is said to have had a fight with one of them. A counter-narrative straight out of the imagination of the author, already known for his propensity to create grotesque false information worthy of the QAnon movement. The relay of this article, having resulted in tens of thousands of shares, has largely contributed to the conspiratorial effervescence around this affair.
Already pinned down for several months – even years – for his problematic relationship to the facts, Elon Musk has accelerated his confusionist mutation since he took the reins of his new company. His latest target is none other than Doctor Anthony Fauci, former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and health adviser to Presidents Trump and Biden.
Hated by the conspiracy and the far right since the start of the pandemic, Fauci is regularly threatened with death and lives under police protection. By sharing dubious photomontages with his 120 million subscribers, suggesting through a tweet that he deserves to be dragged before the courts and by using extremist language, Chief Twitt excites a little more the most radical fringe of the American right. Above all, he gives him the green light to continue his campaign of harassment.
This method was also used against the former security director of Twitter, Yoel Rothwho had to move after Elon Musk implied that he had argued for the sexualization of children in his university thesis, which is not true.
To conclude, remember that in 2018, the main character of this article said he was in favor of the regulation of social networks to fight against misinformation: “Normally I am not an advocate for regulation and supervision, but this is a case where there is a very serious danger to the public. Whenever there is something that affects the public good, there needs to be some form of public oversight. It is madness to allow misinformation to proliferate in this way.”
While wine is said to improve with age, it’s hard to say the same for Elon Musk. Since he took out the checkbook to acquire Twitter, the platform has gradually become the new Eldorado of American extremist conservatism, whose appetite for disinformation and hate speech is well established.