Does Elon Musk Have Any Business As “Chief Twit”?


Elon Musk updates his Twitter bio upon buying the platform. (Source: Esther Rosi-Kessel (I))

democracy, Elon Musk’s recent purchase of social media platform Twitter is merely another publicity stunt by the billionaire industrialist. Capitalists today have an insatiable hunger for media attention and praise that causes them to make extreme and rash decisions that yield very little benefit, and no one demonstrates this better than the richest man alive: Elon Musk.

Musk has a long history of controversy, which includes allegations of sexual misconduct and refusals to abide by COVID-19 regulations. His 44 billion-dollar splurge to purchase the San Francisco-based social networking service marks one of his most questionable decisions to make international headlines.

Although Musk claims that he purchased Twitter for “the sake of humanity” and to “protect free speech,” it is important to go beyond the surface level and remember that Musk may have less altruistic personal motives. In fact, Musk’s first order of business as the self-proclaimed “Chief Twit” was to fire Twitter’s board of directors, giving him the reins to the chariot.

Musk’s vision of Twitter as “a common digital town square where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner” is nothing but an empty message meant to attract advertiser trust and a loyal base of consumers, as well as generate more praise to fuel his ever-growing ego.

Evan Oicle (II) believes that “Even though Elon Musk is claiming […] free speech and won’t regulate it, he’s going to have to. He’s going to see the error in his ways.” The consequences of this attitude are already apparent: as soon as Musk opened the floodgates, a series of internet trolls immediately started spewing racist slurs and Nazi memes across the social media network. Musk has even lifted the permanent ban of former president Donald J. Trump. Clearly, Musk has yet to acknowledge the detrimental results that his narcissism will lead to.

At the moment, Musk and his Tesla engineers, who have become his advisors for Twitter, are working to fire all engineers who have not contributed to the code base. Furthermore, with the new Twitter Blue subscription, Musk is planning to start charging Twitter users 19.99 dollars per month for verification. Those who do not subscribe within 90 days will lose their blue checkmark.

It is very strange that Musk is announcing such major decisions whilst also begging advertisers to stay on the site. Ever since Musk officially took over the company, numerous companies including General Mills, Pfizer, Audi and Volkswagen have decided to pull ad spending from Twitter in fear that their brands’ association with the platform will cause consumers to be uninterested in their products.

Advertisers abandoning Twitter spells disaster for the app, furthering the economic detriment that the purchase has already caused for both parties.  Running such a massive company into the ground is an embarrassing failure Musk cannot have tied to himself. Regardless, he seems to be sending Twitter in that direction.

Maya Koreth (III) states that she “honestly cannot see this purchase being financially beneficial. Elon Musk paid 44 billion dollars for Twitter […]and it will be a long time before he gets any of that money back in revenue. He also loaded about 13 billion dollars in debt on the company, which has not turned out a profit for eight of the last ten years.”

Now, it is important for everyone to take into account that Musk is not at all worried about financial loss — he is the richest man on Earth who has hundreds of billions of dollars to spare. Time and time again, Musk demonstrates that he is a capitalist who seeks praise, power and influence. The main reason Musk wants Twitter to survive is because he needs to protect his fragile ego and overcompensate for his insecurities.

Boston Latin School economics teacher Mr. Dominic Rinaldi believes that Musk’s actions are “fast tracking either one of two scenarios: either the demise of Twitter, and then they’ll break it up and sell it for parts, or it’ll become just a niche kind of social media website like Facebook, which caters to a very increasingly small and specific demographic, and it’ll just sort of fade closer into […] irrelevance.”

In this capitalistic society, billionaires and others with affluent backgrounds sit in the driver’s seat, engulfed by their ambition, blinded by their egos and incapable of realizing the severity of their actions. Elon Musk’s endeavors to fulfill his role as a self-described “free speech absolutist” undermines the efforts put in place to uphold this multi-billion-dollar corporation. His actions are driving the social media platform into a state of financial collapse and irrelevancy while threatening the essence of democracy. In order to preserve it, the power of people like him must be kept in check.