Vittert: Elon, please run Twitter into the ground


WASHINGTON – APRIL 5: Elon Musk, CEO of Space Exploration Technologies Corp, pauses while speaking during a news conference at the National Press Club April 5, 2011 in Washington, DC. Elon Musk, CEO of Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX) and Tesla Motors, held the news conference to announce SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket which could complete missions to the International Space Station and Moon and should be ready for use by the end of 2012. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

(NewsNation) — Turns out Elon Musk buying Twitter might actually save humanity. Well, not really. But it could rid of us Twitter, and Twitter is perhaps the entity most responsible for the terrible state of American political conversation.

Farhad Manjoo wrote a column titled “Elon Musk Has No Idea What He’s Doing at Twitter” in the New York Times. His well-researched piece lays out a damning case.

Their reporting shows Musk running Twitter the way Kevin McCallister ordered room service in “Home Alone 2.”

Musk paid $44 billion, fired people, then had to unfire them, lost advertisers by the dozens and manages by creating a bizarre culture of fear.

Fine, he paid $44 billion for the right to do it.

Twitter is the cesspool of political conversation, but the media, political and financial elite of America all use it because that’s where they talk to each other. Imagine Twitter like all the bullies in high school locked in the sandbox together — and they just continue to fight.

Now imagine all those bullies are the ones controlling our lives. That’s Twitter. So forgive me for saying please, please, Elon — run it into the ground.

The Times reports he might actually bankrupt the site. They make money only through advertisers, but there are no advertisers.

The Times quotes Musk as saying on an internal call, “There’s a massive negative cash flow, and bankruptcy is not out of the question.”

So Musk is now offering verification on Twitter for $8 per month. Originally, Twitter verified accounts to tell people they were real — the @POTUS account is actually the president, @LelandVittert account is actually me, the @Oreos account is actually run by the company that owns Oreos, etc.

Well, as soon as you could pay for the check mark, the internet did its thing.

Eli Lilly, for example, didn’t tweet, “We are excited to announce insulin is free now,” but an account claiming to be them did, and it had a blue check mark.

The stock tanked and cost shareholders $20 billion in one day.

“George W. Bush” tweeted “I miss killing Iraqis,” except he didn’t.

“LeBron James” asked for a trade, except he didn’t.

It’s all kind of funny until a company’s stock tanks or people get hurt. Wait until someone verifies a fake police department and puts out fake mug shots of wanted child molesters. I could go on, but you get the idea: This is going to get dangerous quickly.

Musk’s tweeted he was buying Twitter because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence. “I did it to try to help humanity, whom I love,” he wrote.

Uh huh. So far, it’s not working out so well. To be fair, Twitter before Elon wasn’t much better.

The bankruptcy of Twitter and its spontaneous combustion is unlikely but possible. We can pray.

But what if the financial destruction of Twitter could bring about the destruction of Elon Musk and banish him, too?

To be fair, maybe that is indeed asking too much. But we can all hope.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and not of NewsNation.

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