In 2012 when Twitter hit its ultimate high Twittery, the company was called by executives “the free-speech wing of the free-speech party.” Those were the years when many believed that by allowing everyone to voice their opinions about the Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street movement, there was the possibility of righting the wrongs of neoliberal capitalism and overturning dictatorships. Little did future employees know they would be in tears just before a brand new Musk take-over.
Twitter gained popularity and became one of the biggest companies in the tech industry and for those that were interested (or working) in journalism, sports, and politics, it became an all-consuming obsession. It was a social platform that transformed nobodies into somebody. Twitter lacked profits at the time but made up for it substantially in influence.
In 2016 Donald Trump weaponized this influence by harnessing vitriol and hate via his feed. At the time, Bob Iger, Disney CEO, removed himself from the bid to acquire Twitter, stating that the “nastiness” was extraordinary on the social network. That is when Twitter filled vacancies in its trust and safety team, committed to fostering “healthy conversations,” and restructured its content-moderation policies.
And this is when Twitter infuriated Elon Musk and convinced him that the only thing for him to do is to buy the social platform. According to Musk, the company became corrupted by 2022 – duty-bound to the liberal media elite and the notion of governments. Who better to get Twitter back on track to its former glory than the wealthiest entrepreneur with the Midas touch?
However, since purchasing the company, an integer equal to former and current Twitter employees commented that Musk has an exceptional lack of interest in the processes and people that make the company what it is. He dismissed thousands of staff, infuriated some of his most loyal followers, and implemented ill-considered policies. There appear to be two groups of employees that remained at the company: cold-eye hirelings hoping to soar in his power and those trapped by the need for visas and health care.
Now Musk has become renowned for the speech he extinguishes instead of what he allows, momentarily limiting users to linking to their accounts on Mastodon and Instagram to revoke journalists from tweeting links to his tracker projects.
It’s only taken Musk three months to destroy much of his wealth and the net worth of Twitter. He has suggested the possibility that Twitter could declare bankruptcy and that while he was focused on running the company and caused a drop in Tesla stock, that set him back $200 billion.