The growing consensus on Twitter – even among those who initially thought the changes Elon Musk would bring would make it a better place – now seems to be that he’s taking it in the wrong direction and that there’s no turning back, first with the decision he announced last week on the “block” feature and then with one he casually announced on “X” Tuesday.
When last we left you regarding Musk, he tweeted Friday that “Block is going to be deleted as a ‘feature’, except for DMs,” something that presumably will take place sooner rather than later.
As we reported at the time, Musk’s decision sparked near universal agreement from all corners of the Twitter machine, with actor James Woods sparring with Musk by pointing out the flaws in his argument and finishing their discussion by posting a screengrab of how Musk had, surprise surprise, blocked him.
Here we are just a few days later, and Musk has caused waves once again after it was reported that he wanted to remove the headlines from the links shared to Twitter so only the image was viewable, something that is sure to confuse readers and which has already outraged legacy media journos and independent journos alike:
This is coming from me directly. Will greatly improve the esthetics.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 22, 2023
What else will it do? Allow people to completely misrepresent a story by putting their own headline on it in the tweet without the headline that normally would appear below the tweet that the publisher themselves created:
BTW, this will just further disinformation b/c it will allow people to post links to articles and essentially substitute their own headline/information in for it…whether it accurately reflects the article or not, without the website being able to display it’s own headline https://t.co/VtA2T6dTSM
— Fleet (now on BlueSky) (@fleetadmiralj) August 22, 2023
Some, like Newsbusters news analyst Kevin Tober, ripped into Musk in the aftermath of the news.
“This guy makes Joe Biden look competent. Stunning how fast he’s destroyed this site,” Tober opined.
Most journalists prefer Twitter to other outlets, but the reality is for non-NYT, WaPo, etc. outlets, Twitter isn’t an effective click through platform. WAY more people get their news from Facebook. This will only exacerbate this. Twitter is not real life and it shows.
I don’t think there’s any coincidence that Musk said he was going to do this at the same time he’s encouraging writers to make his platform their writing home. On Monday, Musk tweeted, “If you’re a journalist who wants more freedom to write and a higher income, then publish directly on this platform!”
“More freedom to write”? The gaslighting was a bit much for yours truly:
“wants more freedom to write” -LOL, so says Mr. ‘Freedom of Speech but not Freedom of Reach.” SMFH. https://t.co/Trci3rvCTa
— Sister Toldjah 💙 (@sistertoldjah) August 22, 2023
Flashback to April 2023, to Twitter’s updated “enforcement philosophy”:
Our mission at Twitter 2.0 is to promote and protect the public conversation. We believe Twitter users have the right to express their opinions and ideas without fear of censorship. We also believe it is our responsibility to keep users on our platform safe from content violating our Rules.
These beliefs are the foundation of Freedom of Speech, not Freedom of Reach – our enforcement philosophy which means, where appropriate, restricting the reach of Tweets that violate our policies by making the content less discoverable.
As I’ve said before, Musk is – in my very humble opinion – a bored billionaire playing with his shiny new toy, because he can, and that’s fine. But Twitter was an expensive toy, and one that needed valuable user input, which Musk once said he would respect, to make it work at its best.
Musk may find out if he keeps this up that even his staunchest defenders will abandon ship, leaving Musk to sit alone on the floor with his phone-shaped rattle, shaking it to try and figure out what exactly went wrong.