Elon Musk perks ears with ‘free speech’ poll and cryptic message on ‘consequences’

If there’s one thing guaranteed to get the Twittersphere buzzing, it’s a cryptic poll by Elon Musk.

The flamboyant billionaire and founder of avant-garde tech companies SpaceX and Tesla has a long and distinguished history of making waves with his Twitter polls. For instance, he famously tweeted a poll in November of last year asking his followers if he should sell off 10% of his stake in Tesla. The answer was a resounding “yes,” and the result was a 4.7% slump in Tesla’s shares.

He also asked if Tesla should accept the little-known cryptocurrency Dogecoin as a form of payment. And in 2018, Musk polled his fans about whether they thought he should “create a site where the public can rate the core truth of any article & track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor & publication.”

Now, Musk has released a new poll that has many people wondering what the tech genius will be up to next.

“Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy,” Musk tweeted. “Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?” Then he followed this up with another, more mysterious statement: “The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully.”

On its face, the Twitter poll is innocuous enough. But talk of important “consequences” has many wondering if Musk might be thinking about channeling his innovative genius toward the problem posed by social media. In a recent response to a tweet by Dinesh D’Souza, Musk even suggested that he found the idea of acquiring a major social media network “interesting.”

All of this comes in the wake of a recent spate of anti-free speech activities by Twitter.

On Sunday, for instance, Twitter suspended The Babylon Bee’s account for “hateful conduct.” What crime did the satirical news site commit? Satirizing USA Today, which recognized transgender U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health Rachel (née Richard) Levine as a “Woman of the Year,” the Bee linked to their story naming Levine their first annual “Man of the Year.”

Twitter followed that up with another ban, this time on TPUSA founder Charlie Kirk, who had merely tweeted the objectively accurate statement that “Richard Levine spent 54 years of his life as a man.”

Ironically, Musk sat down with The Babylon Bee in December of last year to discuss, among other things, the dangers of “wokeness,” which he declared to be “one of the biggest threats to modern civilization.” The billionaire spoke at length about the “woke mind virus,” and how it poisons free speech and has virtually destroyed mainstream comedy.

Despite his often flippant tweets, freedom of speech is something that Elon Musk seems to take very seriously. As one example, he’s sparred with the SEC in the past over their attempt to exert undue control over his tweeting, accusing them of “harassment.” That was during a contretemps that saw Musk step down as chairman of Tesla and fork over $20 million in a civil fine.

Needless to say, we’re all very interested to see what Musk’s next business enterprise will be. As for his poll, the results so far are already instructive: 69% voting “no” out of over a million votes.


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Todd Jaquith


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