Twitter founder Jack Dorsey is not happy with current Twitter owner Elon Musk’s leadership.
Speaking this Friday on Bluesky, a new social media network reportedly similar to Twitter, he was asked whether he believes Musk is the right guy to lead Twitter.
Dorsey replied with an emphatic no.
NEWS: Jack Dorsey on Elon Musks Twitter Takeover. pic.twitter.com/ZISDinUwBD
— T(w)itter Daily News (@TitterDaily) April 29, 2023
“No. Nor do I think he acted right after realizing his timing was bad. Nor do I think the board should have forced the sale. It all went south,” he wrote.
He added that he’s glad new competitors like Bluesky are beginning to emerge on the market.
As previously reported, Musk’s love affair with Twitter started when he bought a significant stake of its stock in early 2022. This led to him being offered a board seat. Though he initially accepted the seat, he later reneged on it and made an attempt at a hostile takeover of the whole company.
Long story short, Twitter’s board eventually accepted a buyout offer from Musk, after which the eccentric billionaire took over and became the company’s CEO in October of last year.
“Since Musk’s takeover, Twitter has undergone significant changes, including steep job cuts, an intense work environment, and a wholesale overhaul of the site’s user experience,” according to Business Today.
“Twitter has increasingly embraced a subscription-based business model and personalized feeds that strive to present users with content that aligns with their interests and preferences. According to multiple reports, Twitter’s staff has been reduced by around 80 percent under Musk’s tenure.”
Musk blasts 4-word message to world, fires execs, lifts bans on day one of Twitter ownership https://t.co/au4V2seUmj pic.twitter.com/qdhbyYVGJG
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) October 28, 2022
Not everybody’s been happy with the changes Musk has made, including the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE).
“Hopes were high for many proponents of free expression when Elon Musk purchased Twitter back in October 2022. A self-proclaimed ‘free speech absolutist,’ Musk was seen as a welcome alternative to Twitter’s censorial prior management, and many felt he would usher in a true ‘digital town square’ where free expression would reign,” FIRE wrote in a recent press release.
FIRE added that its own president and CEO, Greg Lukianoff, had written a “hopeful open letter” to Musk detailing suggestions on how he can make Twitter into more of a “digital town square.”
“These suggestions were to look to First Amendment law to guide free-speech friendly policies, eliminate viewpoint-discriminatory practices, and use categories to clearly define sanctionable speech. Unfortunately, Musk has managed to flout all three since he took over Twitter,” the press release continued.
As an example, FIRE pointed to the time in December when Musk suspended the accounts of journalists who’d “reported on Musk’s suspension of Twitter accounts sharing the locations of his and others’ private planes, written critically of Musk in the past, or both.”
In fairness, Musk pushed back on the criticism at the time by arguing that the journalists had broken Twitter’s rules, plain and simple — and that they were not special:
Elon Musk jumps into a Twitter space of media journalists and tells them “you’re not special because you’re a journalist…no special treatment”
A twitter space hosted between journalist & Elon Musk about suspending the account that tracked his plane (1/2) pic.twitter.com/bXHoFcRs2v
— LockharTVMedia (@LockharTVMedia) December 16, 2022
FIRE also pointed to Musk’s attempts to prevent Twitter users from linking to the social media network’s competitors: “Musk has banned or throttled links to competitors like Mastodon, Instagram, and most recently, Substack — which also caused a rift between Musk and journalist Matt Taibbi.”
Over at Newsweek meanwhile, columnist Brad Polumbo recently published a column also complaining about Musk’s alleged betrayal of free speech. He cited many of the same examples as FIRE, in addition to a couple of new ones.
For example, Polumbo pointed to Musk’s decision to ban rapper Kanye West from the platform for tweeting a swastika-shaped Star of David.
“While Ye’s tweet was vile and antisemitic, it would absolutely still be considered ‘free speech’ under the kind of First-Amendment standard Musk originally promised to uphold. Yet Musk not only removed the tweet; he banned Ye entirely over it, claiming the tweet was against their policy of ‘incitement of violence,’ an incredulous claim contradicted by former Twitter insiders,” he wrote.
“While undoubtedly hateful, Ye’s tweet objectively comes nowhere close to reaching the very high First Amendment threshold for ‘incitement of violence’ as a free speech exception,” he added.
This is true.
Polumbo also drew attention to the way Musk has been bending the knee to governments.
“Twitter under Musk has complied with demands from the Indian government to censor a BBC documentary that’s critical of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. So, too, Twitter has recently reportedly started blocking access to certain tweets globally—not just in India—in response to demands from the Indian government,” he explained.
He also pointed to Musk blocking accurate reports about the infamous “transgender day of vengeance”
“More recently, Twitter blocked accurate reporting on mass shooters and also recently removed thousands of posts discussing a planned protest in DC, the so-called ‘transgender day of vengeance.’ It even locked many journalists out of their accounts, myself included, for simply reporting on the planned protest,” Polumbo reported.
Twitter silenced prominent conservative accounts over tweets about ‘Trans day of Vengeance’https://t.co/bArGRd5mXs
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) March 29, 2023
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