The criticism of Elon Musk’s employee communique advising exceptional work will now be the minimum standard for those who work at Twitter has produced another round of resignations rocking the social media platform.
Musk’s takeover of the online giant has not gone smoothly. Those remaining at the company after the $44 billion deal to acquire one of the world’s most influential communications companies appear discomforted there’s a new sheriff in town because of the effect on the corporate culture.
Is it all theater, designed to bring attention to an attention-seeking billionaire? When Musk tweeted just before the election that independent-minded voters might be better off voting Republican, it looked like that might be the case. After all, he’d bought the platform to further the cause of free speech.
That put a thumb in the eye of the culture cancellers, but they can and are fighting back. Celebrities quit the platform. Companies withdrew their ads. Pressure is being applied but Musk presses. Remember, he’s a businessman who wants to make money.
That’s what allows him to do all the things he cares about. He’s a global, generational agent of transformative change, a job usually reserved for people who, like him, have ten or even hundreds of billions of dollars at their disposal. Kind of like Tony Stark without the suit.
It’s important to remember that as the realities of the marketplace take hold. What Twitter 2.0 — his phrase — will look like is probably not something the rest of us can imagine. One hopes it will be a haven for free speech — which probably means we’ll all have to increase our tolerance for what the left likes to call “hate speech.” That’s because thought, debate and inquiry are good. We all profit when the debate is robust, contrary to what the speech suppressors claim.
He may disappoint many of the people now cheering him on. It’s probably inevitable. Things will happen that will force him to make hard-headed business decisions instead of keeping his focus on altruistic interests and philanthropic motives. What those might be we can’t predict but suspect they’ll probably involve the threat of government regulation or intimidation.
Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rogers of Washington, is taking the lead on legislation to establish a Hatch Act-like prohibition for government workers seeking to use their positions to influence social media platforms and search engines that should have legs in the new Congress. Better that than the ham-handed, bi-partisan effort by Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, to give the Federal Trade Commission the power to break up the companies collectively called “Big Tech.”
For now, Musk should continue as he has but should keep O’Sullivan’s Law in mind.
Coined by former National Review and UPI editor-in-chief John O’Sullivan, it states that any entity that is not explicitly right-wing will, over time, move to the left. If Musk doesn’t keep at least one finger on Twitter’s management once he’s got things running the way he wants, the people he depends on to keep the platform up and running — many of whom happen to lean hard to the left as much of tech world does — they may start to infuse their professional responsibilities with their personal views.
That would create a conflict between their vision and his. As the owner, his should prevail.
As Twitter seeks its new operational center, anything less would interfere with his primary goal: to make money. In case you’ve forgotten in the age of wokeness, that’s a good thing.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.
A former UPI political writer and U.S. News and World Report columnist, Peter Roff is a Trans-Atlantic Leadership Network media fellow. Contact him at RoffColumns AT mail.com and follow him on Twitter @TheRoffDraft.
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