Technology

Elon Musk’s Past Tweets Offer Clues About Twitter’s New Owner

He could also be good with rockets and electrical automobiles, however don’t flip to Elon Musk for public well being predictions.

“Probably close to zero new cases in US too by end of April,” the world’s richest man tweeted about COVID-19 in March 2020, simply because the pandemic was ramping up.

It’s certainly one of many tweets that supply a glimpse into the mind of Twitter’s new owner and moderator in chief. Playful, aggressive and generally reckless, Musk’s previous tweets present how he has used social media to tout his companies, punch again at critics and burnish his model as a brash billionaire who’s unafraid to speak his mind.

Musk joined Twitter in 2009 and now has greater than 112 million followers — the third most of any account after former president Barack Obama and Canadian singer Justin Bieber. He had long mused about purchasing the platform earlier than the $ 44 billion deal was finalized final week.

Musk hasn’t detailed the modifications he intends to make at Twitter, although he wasted no time in making widespread layoffs. But he has stated he desires to make Twitter a haven without spending a dime speech. He’s stated he disagrees with the platform’s resolution to ban ex-President Donald Trump for inciting violence forward of the Jan. 6, 2021 assault on the U.S. Capitol.

“I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means,” Musk tweeted earlier this year when he introduced his intention to purchase the platform.

As the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Musk makes use of his Twitter account to make business bulletins and promote his enterprises. He muses about technology and commerce, however has additionally posted jokes about ladies’s breasts and as soon as in contrast Canada’s prime minister to Hitler. He recurrently weighs in on international occasions, as he did in March 2020 when he tweeted that “The coronavirus pandemic is dumb.”

That similar month, he tweeted that kids have been largely immune from the virus and predicted that circumstances would quickly disappear.

Musk has additionally used his Twitter account to weigh in different massive information occasions — with combined outcomes.

This fall, Musk infuriated leaders in Ukraine when he went on Twitter to drift a possible peace deal. Under Musk’s plan, Russia would get to maintain Crimea, which it seized from Ukraine in 2014, and Ukraine must drop its plans to hitch NATO.

Musk additionally instructed that folks residing in different areas illegally annexed by Russia ought to vote on whether or not Russia or Ukraine ought to get management over the territories — a transfer that Ukraine supporters stated would reward Russia for its unlawful aggression.

“The danger here is that in the name of ‘free speech,’ Musk will turn back the clock and make Twitter into a more potent engine of hatred, divisiveness, and misinformation,” stated Paul Barrett, a disinformation researcher and the deputy director of New York University’s Stern Center for Business and Human Rights.

Stern singled out Musk’s feedback about Ukraine as notably regarding. “This is not going to be pretty,” he stated.

Just days after buying Twitter Musk waded into yet one more firestorm when he posted a hyperlink to an article advancing a bizarre conspiracy theory about the attack on the husband of U.S. Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The article instructed that Paul Pelosi and his assailant have been lovers, regardless that authorities stated the suspect confessed to focusing on the speaker and didn’t know her husband.

Musk later deleted the tweet with out rationalization.

Musk has lengthy used the megaphone of his Twitter account to punch again at critics or individuals he opposes, reminiscent of when he attacked a diver working to rescue boys trapped in a collapse Thailand by calling him a “pedo,” brief for pedophile. The diver had beforehand mocked Musk’s proposal to make use of a sub to rescue the boys. Musk, who gained a defamation swimsuit filed by the diver, later stated he by no means supposed “pedo” to be interpreted as “pedophile.”

Three days earlier than Elon Musk agreed to purchase Twitter, the world’s richest man tweeted a photograph of Bill Gates and used a crude sexual time period whereas making a joke about his stomach.

Earlier this year he criticized the Twitter govt in control of the platform’s authorized, coverage and belief divisions. In response to his tweets concerning the govt, a lot of Musk’s followers piled on with misogynistic and racist assaults, along with requires Musk to fireside her when his buy of Twitter was accepted.

Musk fired the chief on day one.

Musk’s use of Twitter has at occasions led to problems for his own companies. In one August 2018 tweet, for example, Musk asserted that he had the funding to take Tesla personal for $420 a share, though a courtroom has dominated that it wasn’t true. That led to an SEC investigation that Musk remains to be preventing.

Last year one other federal company, the National Labor Relations Board, ordered Musk to delete a tweet that officers stated illegally threatened to chop stock choices for Tesla staff who joined the United Auto Workers union.

Those tweets helped cement Musk’s popularity as a brash outsider. But that doesn’t imply he’s geared up to run a social media platform with greater than 200 million customers, stated Jennifer Grygiel, a Syracuse University professor who research social media. Grygiel has assigned Musk’s tweets as studying materials for college students.

“Look at the feed: It’s all over the place. It’s erratic. At times it’s pretty extreme,” Grygiel stated. “It paints him as some sort of rebel leader who will take control of the public square to save it. That is a myth he has constructed.”

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