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Home/The State of the Union/Twitter Slips the Poison Pill

Twitter Slips the Poison Pill

Elon Musk should run the platform into the ground.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is pictured as he attends the start of the production at Tesla's "Gigafactory" on March 22, 2022 in Gruenheide, southeast of Berlin. (Photo by Patrick Pleul/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

Twitter is countering Elon Musk’s planned takeover of the company by deploying the “poison pill” strategy—flooding the market with discounted shares to dilute the value of Musk’s holdings, in effect making it more expensive for the African-American entrepreneur to buy out the company.

The move came just one day after news broke that the Department of Justice and Securities Exchange Commission were conducting a joint investigation into Musk’s Tesla firm, citing supposed “regulatory issues.” The investigation was made public just days after Musk signaled his desire to buy out Twitter.  When one of its instruments of cultural control is under threat, “the Cathedral” circles the wagons.

Musk has said he thinks Twitter is “failing to adhere to free speech principles.” That’s true. It kicked off the Babylon Bee for a joke about Admiral Levine. It deplatformed the Libs of TikTok account, which reposts insane left-wing videos from TikTok, for supposedly “hateful” conduct. But Musk’s critique is only half-right. Public debate should have limits and guardrails. The problem with Twitter’s content policies is not that they exclude people per se—certain views really are beyond the pale and the people who express them deserve to be deplatformed—the problem is it excludes the wrong people. Twitter bans users who say men are not women and allow other users to promote the use of puberty-blockers for confused children. Justice demands the opposite.

I should say I don’t care what happens to Twitter. I have an account—I have to for work—but I’d happily see the entire thing shut down and its owners made to parade around in sackcloth and ashes. It is a malign influence in our politics and our country. You can draw a straight line between the rise of Twitter and the general nastiness of people—not just in politics, where civility is a secondary concern, but in the grocery store, in the library, on the train. People, myself included, if I’m being honest, are crasser and cruder than they used to be. You can’t blame it all on Twitter, but it certainly can be blamed for some of it. Elon Musk taking over Twitter would be a net benefit to the platform and the country, but we’d all be better off if he simply ran Twitter into the ground.

about the author

John Hirschauer is assistant editor of The American Conservative. He was previously a William F. Buckley Jr. Fellow at National Review and a staff writer at RealClear.

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