More than 100 brands have “fully paused” their ads or left the social media platform once known as Twitter, following an important report by Media Matters on how advertising from prominent corporations appeared next to pro-Hitler, Holocaust denial, white nationalist, pro-violence, and neo-Nazi posts and accounts. Media Matters, a not-for-profit organization, has since been sued by Musk and “investigated” by the Texas Attorney General’s office, ostensibly for doing their job well.
Elon Musk—like any American eighth-grader who ought to know better—sees the infringement on his company’s earnings as a violation of his First Amendment rights*. That’s not what The U.S. Constitution says about freedom of speech. In addition, he claims that he’s being blackmailed by the advertisers. To complicate the matter, the billionaire megalomaniac showed up at a media industry event and used the opportunity to run down his platform’s former advertisers, in a foul-mouthed, vindictive, intentionally personal tirade.
Yet, I wonder if Bob Iger or any of the other advertisers had their feelings hurt by Musk’s rant. I also wonder if running Twitter into the ground was always the plan (maybe not Musk’s plan, but someone’s plan, nevertheless).
While I don’t want to dwell on what this rich man might think, I am intrigued by Musk’s reference to Earth in this context. “Let’s see how Earth responds to that,” he says when challenged by Andrew Ross Sorkin. Does he mean the people of Earth are on his side and want more ads from Disney, et al? Or does he mean the actual planet (that he seemingly wants to rocket away from) is on his side?
In other news from Musk’s special orbit, Tesla released its Cybertruck on Thursday after much delay and a lot of hype. Ben Rose, president of Battle Road Research, told The New York Times, “It looks like something lowered from the lunar module to collect rocks on the moon.” The first buyers are likely to be well-to-do technology savants and collectors, he reasons.
*Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.