Twitter consequences; not just for little people

by Maria on November 4, 2022

It’s been a week since Elon Musk, funded by a distasteful assortment of backers, bought Twitter. In no particular order, some thoughts on what it means for various groups.

Predictably, swaths of US employees have been sacked without notice or compensation, in contravention of Californian law. Many of them were sacked soon before share ownership rewards were to deliver. All of them were ordered a week ago to work “24/7” on objectives the new management deemed urgent. For the several hundred at-risk or sacked employees in the UK and Ireland, there are legal protections which may be harder to ignore. But breaking labour law is at worst subject to fines, so simply a cost benefit operation for firms who can break the law with impunity. (Following a UK ferry operator sacking all its ship workers and immediately employing agency staff earlier this year, there is a growing case for strategic and profitable law-breaking on this scale to be criminalised to create a genuine disincentive. I don’t see the next Labour government having the backbone to do it, however.)

The US employees will find themselves out on the street with no health insurance. That’s catastrophic, and stop-gap insurance cover is prohibitively expensive. I availed of it myself over a decade ago, and it was more than a thousand dollars a month – not the kind of money you have lying around when you’ve just been sacked. Many senior Twitter managers resigned before they were sacked, and the mass lay-offs were clearly in the post, so many employees – the ones with the sense not to work 24/7 to keep a job they were likely to lose, anyway – will have taken steps to stay in contact with former colleagues once they’re locked out of their work messaging channels. The levels of chaos and dysfunction inside Twitter right now can only be imagined. Relatively few workers are unionised, and in these situations many people think they can keep their jobs by screwing their co-workers or just ignoring abuse, so those who remain will be in an increasingly toxic situation. It can be fifty-fifty as to whether the lucky ones are those who got sacked or walked early on.

I’ve been through a narcissist takeover, so my heart goes out to Twitter’s current and former workers. It’s very tough to be sacked not because you did anything wrong, but because your face doesn’t fit (or some xenophobic shit like you have the wrong passport). When you’ve worked for one of these organisations that demand your heart and soul and all your waking hours, and get canned for no reason, it’s brutal. It’s also tough to see how some colleagues act. I cut a deal where I was a dead man walking for a few months so I could avoid being legally required leave the country by midnight of the day I was sacked, and one person in a tiny office suddenly found me invisible. Awkward. I did not become visible again until I was gainfully employed and ran into them a couple of years later, when they were effusively friendly. Ugh.

On top of the financial pain and medical catastrophe that many ex-Twitter employees and their households will be facing, there’s the post-burnout comedown from a demanding employer, the months of anxiety as the takeover was on and then off again, and the final trauma of the last week or so. There’s also losing the teams they were part of and the purpose they felt they were working to achieve. As Musk torches everything Twitter was trying to do to improve the global political shitshow it’s at the heart of, sacked employees must also witness the destruction of any possibility for change. The disbanding of teams that have tried everything on content moderation and come up with hard-won if imperfect practical knowledge is a loss for them, but also for us. The destruction of firing the whole team working on algorithmic transparency and choice, for example, is a harm, too. Nobody thinks new Twitter wants any real agency or choice in the hands of users.

I hope the ex-Twitter workers find new ways and places to apply what they’ve learnt on the planetary-level hard problems of ad-monetised fascism. And also, perhaps, that some of them take from this the insight that there are no rewards for loyalty to employers, no long game you can play in someone else’s playpen, and the extreme urgency of using whatever position you have to push as far and as hard as you can, because no one is coming to save any of us.

People who understand finance better than I do can speculate about whether the deal’s backers will make their money back. They don’t deserve to, as their ‘due diligence’ was unmasked by the publication of Musk’s messages as little more than tech bro arse-licking. I’ll just say that it’s clear that the banks involved don’t expect to keep their shirts, can’t sell the debt to clients amidst the very public shitshow, and at best will try to offload the debt next year when the dust settles. I have no idea what dust settling means in this context. In contrast to his other privately held, publicly subsidised companies, Musk’s psychological fragility and vast Dunning Krueger deficit are now playing out in public. It will only get harder to convince potential buyers of the debt that Musk knows what he’s doing.

I’m increasingly concerned that state investment fund backers – specifically Saudi Arabia and Qatar – will use their leverage and access for nefarious political purposes. Two Twitter employees infamously used their access to spy on Saudi activists in the past couple of years, and passed the information to the kingdom’s ruler. I gave Twitter the benefit of the doubt and assumed they were infiltrators. None of us should do so again. Already, content on the platform has been manipulated to suppress information about Twitter’s labour practices, and users have had their accounts torched for jokingly mimicking Musk. The platform’s content and users will continue to be manipulated to further the ends and ego of its owner. We should also assume that there is now no bright line between the interests and wishes of its financial backers and the content and moderation policies of the company itself. Access by backers to user-data cannot be ruled out, whatever the likely denials. Activists using the platform are now at significant risk of the exposure of their identities and private correspondence to the authoritarian backers of Musk’s deal. The moral and legal boundaries that Twitter was governed by before can no longer be assumed to rule its conduct.

Related, the significant financial role of Binance, the crypto-currency platform, will also have consequences, not all of them as obvious as the constant stream of crypto-related spam on the platform. Bright lines and clear boundaries are going away, and I would not be surprised to see Binance using its stake to push content supporting the financial regulatory recognition it craves.

Advertisers are pulling back from the platform, at least for now. General Motors and other US blue chip firms have paused advertising on it, and the collective organisation of advertisers has taken note of the resignation of their key contact at Twitter. The immediate cause is the huge influx of emboldened Nazis on the day Musk took ownership, and his previous veiled promises to bring back Trump and other extreme right figures. That kind of toxicity is unattractive to brands. I’ll admit to a certain amount of schadenfreude on this one. Musk has never faced consequences. The racist and profoundly misogynist culture and labour practices of his other companies are well-documented, and have had no impact. The SEC wobbled and ultimately failed to sanction him for share-price manipulation done in broad daylight. He has never faced a problem that could not be solved by asking friends for money. So it’s gratifying to see that consequences in the form of lost advertising revenue have suddenly materialised.

Advertisers don’t fuck around. They’ll extract their pound of flesh. However, I strongly suspect this is an opening stance which can change if they feel he can be brought to heel just a little. There is a level of abuse and Nazism on the site that advertisers can tolerate, especially if Musk’s risible claims of future tiered access and moderation can buy them off. Still, watching him try to square the circle of free speech and advertising revenue is fun. Far better and smarter people have failed. And watching him try out in realtime all the stupid ideas everyone else tried and discarded – because he is quite incapable of learning from others – further deflates the heroic genius bubble in full public view.

Advertisers will also continue to be turned off by Musk’s own tweeting. Saying you’ll fight toxic disinfo while actively spreading it (i.e. the Pelosi conspiracy theory Musk circulated earlier this week) is hard on credibility. Sure, the commercial success of the Murdoch organisation shows us advertisers will happily support far right content if it gives them access to a desirable demographic. But it’s worth going back to the immediate cause of Musk’s decision to buy Twitter – his pain at being publicly scolded by Twitter’s CEO for denigrating a company on whose board he sat. Musk cannot cope with rejection or slights to his intelligence. His ego simply cannot tolerate it and must always find another way to distract itself from pain or doubt. He’s not just driven by animal cunning to distract people from his business problems with outlandish tweets on, say, foreign policy. He needs to create perpetual new spectacles to distract himself from the possibility that he’s not as smart as he wants to believe he is. He seeks the attention and regard of the leaders of hostile countries. Anyway, I have no fucks to give about the psychological frailty of this man – except to observe how many billionaires’ fathers despise them. Rather, he will just keep on doing this stuff, and advertisers cannot and will not accept it. And he can’t buy them. Unlike every other thing Musk wants to absorb into his hierarchical stack because he can’t deal with uncertainty and rejection – a while back it was Glencore, FFS – advertisers cannot be bought and must be serviced. Forever. A novel idea. Consequences, so. Not just for
little people.

Which is why I also think he won’t last, and will burn Twitter down then throw it away, blaming others for everything that went wrong. Clearly, he and his backers will do severe damage in the meantime. At the very least, they’ll excise the vanishingly small amount of things that made Twitter useful and enjoyable. At worst, they will be directly responsible for the deaths of activists around the world, and the re-entry of fascists into the platform and into political office.


And it’s a very small but. There are now tens of thousands of journalists, policymakers, academics and various other thought-leader types who viscerally get what it is to be trapped inside a monopolistic tech platform, and for it to be costly and painful to leave. I’ve seen people who never thought about this stuff before plaintively ask ‘but what about interoperability?’ or say surely there’s some way to bring their followers with them elsewhere? A week ago, almost none of Twitter’s elite had ever thought about platform lock-in or federated social spaces or decentralisation. (Or about how the status symbol of the blue tick is also a lifeline and protection for people dealing with real jeopardy.) A bit like Musk himself, they seemed to think being on top – whatever that means – was something inherent to them, not something that could be taken away on a whim. As well as an exercise in humility and a lesson in how elite markers like blue ticks truly function, lots of real-life influential people now understand in their bones why platform concentration and monopoly is a terrible, terrible thing. It makes them subject to the whims of one rich man. It makes them and their communications and everyone in their networks vulnerable to exploitation and threats they probably thought were just for activist-types or far away people in oppressive, foreign lands. Consequences, not just for little people. But more importantly, an experience-based understanding that Internet infrastructure chokepoints are political, and the politics can really hurt.



Sasha 11.04.22 at 2:50 pm

One note on California employees being fired: the law requires 60 days notice for large layoffs. When it’s happened to me before there was no notice, the company took all my computers and access away, but still paid me and kept me on health insurance and whatnot for 60 days. That is likely what is happening here (although we’ll find out in an hour or two!)


Anarcissie 11.04.22 at 3:55 pm

As I don’t use Twitter, regarding it as a sort of discursive sewer (from a considerable distance) it came to my attention only recently as an Issue. People have been very troubled by its purchase by Mr. Musk. Before that, there was some public noise about how its content was being manipulated or censored by government or government-influenced entities., which would put it on the same boring level as the New York Times. What I would like to know is, what was so good about it before? There have been plenty of noxious publications (if that’s what it is) before Twitter. Can someone give me a précis of the problem? I don’t want to miss out on a national crisis of one-liners, or whatever’s going on.


John 11.04.22 at 6:24 pm

In terms of the recognition of vendor lock-in, I really wonder if this will be enough to drive people to consider where else their livelihood is locked into a private platform? The cynical side of me says Instagram and TikTok will not see a cascade from it, though they probably should.


kent 11.04.22 at 7:15 pm

I de-activated my twitter account today and used a browser extension to block myself from using the site at all. I’m sad to be leaving it but also looking forward to having an extra 60-90 minutes a day to spend on other things.


Robert Weston 11.04.22 at 8:50 pm

As I don’t use Twitter, regarding it as a sort of discursive sewer (from a considerable distance) it came to my attention only recently as an Issue….What I would like to know is, what was so good about it before?

Ultimately, any social media platform is what you make it. Like – I suspect – most Twitter users who read this blog, I primarily follow academics, journalists and think tankers. If, in fact, I do end up leaving, I’m not entirely sure how I’ll replace the sources of information and commentary I’ve found there, as well, in some cases, of the relationships I’ve formed.


Zora 11.04.22 at 9:39 pm

I was a minor user of Twitter. I followed very few people, people whom I knew to be interesting and KIND. I rarely tweeted anything, unless it was a follow-up to be helpful. What I got from it: news on the Carolina household of Ursula Vernon, her husband, her chickens, and her plants. Plus updates on a few other people. I didn’t run into toxicity because I avoided it.

I deactivated my account as soon as Musk took command.


nastywoman 11.04.22 at 9:48 pm

we like to play twitter and it definitely is a lot more fun than most other US Internet platforms BUT how anybody in this World could think it could be more than just what Jon Stewart a few times called – it is completely beyond US?


Alex SL 11.04.22 at 11:18 pm

Twitter has been the preferred social network of the scientific and science communication community for the last few years. It allowed people from all over the planet to connect with each other and share links to their latest publications, share links to job vacancies, announce their new job or success at getting a grant, ask each other questions, discuss controversial topics, or simply post photos or stories ranging from “look at this beautiful orchid species we found during field work” to “I am an expert in this area, so let me explain why this story in the newspaper is nonsense”.

Admittedly, I am privileged never to have been harassed or otherwise been exposed directly to the dark side of social media, but my understanding is that despite continuing to make mistakes, Twitter has at least made a bona fide effort to clear that up. And, it seems, Musk is firing much if not all of the relevant staff, surprising no one, given his ideology.

The most puzzling question currently seems to be if Musk is destroying Twitter deliberately or by accident. Looking at him tweet, I believe the latter; I think he genuinely enjoys tweeting himself and thinks he is going to improve the network by chucking out everything he misunderstands as dead wood and “bringing back free speech” (AKA allowing people to be abusive to others), thus making it more profitable. The problem is that he is perhaps the most overrated intellect, and I am using this word in the loosest possible sense, in the public space. He understands nothing about anything, not the physics and biology of living on Mars, and certainly not the incentive structures and dynamics of social media, and what makes this worse, he is completely unaware of his own ignorance and thinks himself a genius.

His advantages have always been (1) being so well-connected to other rich people that he can insulate himself from the consequences of his mistakes, (2) having enough money to employ others who actually are competent, and (3) having a large army of fanboys who tickle his ego but also advertise for free and, where applicable, buy his company’s products. But, in this case, the benefit Musk fanboys get from being on Twitter is the same benefit that every right-wing troll gets from being on any social network: the ability to be cruel to the people they hate. Once the people they want to insult and harass have left Twitter, they will get bored, and then it all falls apart.

At any rate, coming from that perspective as a scientist, I agree with everything in the OP except for the sentiment at the end: “almost none of Twitter’s elite had ever thought about platform lock-in or federated social spaces or decentralisation.”

Being all locked into a single, centralised platform is desirable. It is a feature, not a bug. As mentioned above, it allows everybody in a community to converge on a single point and find each other easily. The disadvantages of Mastodon that are most frequently mentioned are precisely how convoluted it is to interact with and how poorly it works, and they are both due to its decentralisation. The learning I would take away from the Twitter takeover is therefore not the danger of having a single network, but the danger of a utility being private and poorly regulated and thus easily purchased and destroyed by a malevolent rich person.

We need to understand that a public forum in the shape of Twitter (and, similarly, search engines and operating systems) is such a critical piece of infrastructure that it should at the very minimum be regulated so tightly that it cannot simply be taken away or made unusable at the whim of a billionaire or group of investors, but ideally be managed as a publicly owned utility.

No chance, of course, that that will happen under the prevailing ideology of “if the government does something objectively good, it is tyrannical, but if a billionaire does something objectively bad, that is just the free market working as intended, so no problem whatsoever”.


reason 11.04.22 at 11:44 pm

Anarcissie – it seems to me the real problem is that twitter has become a go to source for journalists. That is the perhaps the real issue. The decline of journalism.


Anarcissie 11.05.22 at 1:36 am

This is very interesting. I see that many of the problems which plagued USENET 35 years ago have recurred with dreary persistance, so maybe they’re not so easy to solve. (It does confound me that respectable, serious scientists would hang out on Twitter, but to each their own.) What I still don’t get is the special awfulness of Elon Musk. The tech bro community is full of jerks. So is he really substantially worse than Gates, Zuckerberg, Bezos, and their all-too-numerous kind?

@reason — I think journalism has become “content”.


J-D 11.05.22 at 2:41 am

We need to understand that a public forum in the shape of Twitter (and, similarly, search engines and operating systems) is such a critical piece of infrastructure that it should at the very minimum be regulated so tightly that it cannot simply be taken away or made unusable at the whim of a billionaire or group of investors, but ideally be managed as a publicly owned utility.

No chance, of course, that that will happen under the prevailing ideology of “if the government does something objectively good, it is tyrannical, but if a billionaire does something objectively bad, that is just the free market working as intended, so no problem whatsoever”.

Supposing just for a moment, per impossibile, that there were support for government-owned and -operated Internet infrastructure, it would still be necessary (and not straightforward) to resolve the question ‘Which government?’


John Quiggin 11.05.22 at 4:45 am

” Many of them were sacked soon before share ownership rewards were to deliver.”

This seems like a recipe for (even more) exploitation. Shouldn’t the contract specify that if the worker is sacked due to (claimed) redundancy, they get at least pro-rata share rewards?


John Quiggin 11.05.22 at 4:48 am

I’m enjoying Mastodon so far, despite (because of) the fact that the people I’ve found to follow have very disparate interests. Economics twitter is not that well organised (or maybe I never found the right club), so I’m hoping just to persuade a few of my contacts to migrate.


J-D 11.05.22 at 6:54 am

What I still don’t get is the special awfulness of Elon Musk. The tech bro community is full of jerks. So is he really substantially worse than Gates, Zuckerberg, Bezos, and their all-too-numerous kind?

Suppose he isn’t: wouldn’t he still be bad enough?


Alex SL 11.05.22 at 9:17 am


Very good point. Then again, at least there is precedent in the really big players – in particular USA and EU – setting up and maintaining public utilities e.g. for the global scientific community, such as DNA sequence databases. The idea that they could set up a global forum isn’t totally crazy, I think, but the next problem is then that something like Twitter would be much more politically charged than those other utilities. It would soon be attacked like Twitter was, as being tyrannical because it censured Joe26792763 for spreading hate or for running a fraudulent enterprise. Or perhaps a better comparison would be the permanent attacks on public broadcasters for supposedly having a left-wing bias.


What makes Musk stand out among billionaires are his army of fanboys on social media and his strong presence on social media, allowing everybody an insight into his level of intellectual sophistication that has few if any parallels apart from Trump.


Orange Watch 11.05.22 at 12:42 pm


I’ve seen claims (to include screenshots of termination emails) suggesting that’s exactly how the layoffs were handled. Leave the building/company network immediately, but the actual termination date is 23 February 2023.


engels 11.05.22 at 1:30 pm

Gerry Canavan @gerrycanavan
Elon Musk destroying Twitter for all of us who weren’t strong enough to delete our accounts on our own is basically a shot-for-shot remake of Gollum stealing the Ring from Frodo and falling into Mt. Doom
Nov 5, 2022 · 1:19 AM UTC · Tweetbot for Mac


shonin 11.05.22 at 2:11 pm

The worldwide community of service actors: scientists, academics, journalists et al. do need a forum such as they hoped Twitter would be, but nationalizing it as a property of a single nation potentially subjects it to coup-like stresses. The “obvious” answer would be to place it in the hands of the UN, if the UN we have were the UN we hoped to have, which it currently is not. Sigh. This collapse will have to go on the same shelf as efforts to hold warming below 1.5C. “Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight things was ever made.”


Anarcissie 11.05.22 at 4:19 pm

J-D 11.05.22 at 6:54 am: “Suppose he isn’t: wouldn’t he still be bad enough?”

Not enough for all the excitement, no. Not given his context, his peers, his audience. People who wanted a more respectable medium could have built one long since. Indeed, found one, since several already exist. I want to know what his special evil is. It must be pretty juicy.


SusanC 11.05.22 at 6:30 pm

Even before the Musk takeover, Twitter was home to people like Glenn Greenwald, who appears to have gone full conspiracy theorist. E.g. Greenwald is currently trying to insinuate that there is something suspect about the official account of the assault on Paul Pelosi. As far as I can see, there is no evidence to doubt the official account here. I offer this as an example of Greenwald peddling Stupid Stuff, and more generally, Twitter being full of people who are peddling Stupid Stuff.


Wesley Sandel 11.05.22 at 7:35 pm

Kroger bought Albertsons/Skaggs recently creating a virtual grocery monopoly in my small city. Capitalists HATE competition.


Bart Barry 11.05.22 at 8:21 pm

I keep hearing about the $44 billion Musk paid for Twitter, an amount apparently vastly more than its true worth.

Where did the $44 billion go? Did he buy up all the outstanding shares of the company? Who owned it before? Did Jack Dempsey just haul in tens of billions?

Thanks for clearing this up for me.


Bart Barry 11.05.22 at 10:42 pm

My previous comment is in moderation. I think I wrote “Dempsey” when I meant “Dorsey.”


J-D 11.06.22 at 4:39 am

“Suppose he isn’t: wouldn’t he still be bad enough?”

Not enough for all the excitement, no.

So what level of response do you think is justified by his actual badness?


Anarcissie 11.06.22 at 5:44 am

SusanC 11.05.22 at 6:30 pm:
“I offer this as an example of Greenwald peddling Stupid Stuff,”

Peddling Stupid Stuff obviously falls well within the area of protected free speech and free expression, as interpreted by US courts in the 20th and 21st centuries and as practiced by innumerable persons of the media, government, academia, military, industry, etc. etc. etc. to say nothing of the public in general. I suppose it is Mr. Musk’s brash naiveté that now leads us to the obvious conflict: whether to shut Twitter down forthwith or continue to at least wave at the First Amendment from a safe distance. Are are we done with all that sort of thing now, or what? What rules will be given to those who twit, and by whom?


engels 11.06.22 at 9:35 am

I want to know what his special evil is. It must be pretty juicy.

He has a sort of inchoate (moderate right) populist agenda (eg “free speech”) that puts him at odds with the mainstream of US capital and its corporate minions.


SusanC 11.06.22 at 1:39 pm

Stupid Stuff is indeed mostly protected by the first amendment (some of it isn’t, e.g. libel) and there is clearly a big market for it….


Anarcissie 11.06.22 at 5:10 pm

@Engels — So, what happened to the liberals?


Doug K 11.08.22 at 6:03 pm

like Zora I was the opposite of a power user (there isn’t a good antonym for ‘power’ I find), getting small news from kindly generous SFF authors, wildlife biologists, AI unbelievers both technical and sociological, economists etc. I’m really going to miss it.

Frankly I’m startled the site is still up. The remaining engineers are on-call for systems they haven’t seen before, and on-call for ridiculous hours. It’s not sustainable.

Then as you say, what were these banks thinking ?
Joint loan arrangers
Bank of America
BNP Paribas
Morgan Stanley
Societe Generale
$13 billion debt financing package, comprised of
$6.5 billion term loan facility
$500 million revolving loan facility
$3 billion secured bridge loans
$3 billion unsecured bridge loans

They lent $13 billion to buy a website that has been profitable in two years of its existence, and then not by much. With your average leveraged buyout there are actual assets to loot once you’ve loaded the company with crippling debt. In this case there is nothing but a few databases, servers, and a user community which was predictably instantly alienated. I’d love to see the bank’s analyses which concluded a profit could be made. They seem to be doing some kind of supernatural mathematics.


TM 11.09.22 at 9:12 am

“The problem is that he is perhaps the most overrated intellect, and I am using this word in the loosest possible sense, in the public space.”

He’s the poster child of “The emperor has no clothes”. It will be interesting what happens when his genius enterprises turn out to be far less profitable than investors thought they were (e. g. valuing a car manufacturing company with almost no market share at more than all others combined). It would be healthy if this particular hype ended up debunked. (Tesla shares are currently down more than 50% from their peak). Perhaps fairy tales sometimes do come true. More likely, his fanboys will just spin some more conspiracy stories and end up finding out that the Elders of Zion are behind Musk’s entrepreneurial failures.


Alex SL 11.11.22 at 12:12 am

Sorry – this thread is probably going to be closed soon, but I wanted to add one last thing regarding the consequences and Anarcissie’s “so what?” comment.

Just from my personal and direct experience, Twitter has over the last few years been important for:

Scientists networking with each other (see previous comment).

Journalists networking with experts on whose input they depend.

The public being able to follow updates scientific or economic experts, journalists, or celebrities, ranging from info on Covid to tour plans or new novels being published.

Police asking for assistance to find missing persons, emergency services broadcasting flood, bushfire, and hail warnings, politicians addressing the public, government departments communicating rule and policy changes, etc.

The public being able to trust that people and institutions they follow are who they claim to be, because, well, verification by the blue tick.

And now one single person was able to just buy it and is well on his way to destroying it singlehandedly, simply because he has become obscenely rich by skimming off for himself most of the value his employees created, as is customary in this economic system. And yes, he is on his way to destroying the network. He is being quoted today as having sent an internal email to the effect that if Twitter can’t become 50% subscription-based, it is unlikely to survive economically. (Spoiler alert:) It is not going to become 50% subscription-based. People used to getting a service for free are not going to switch to subscription in sufficient numbers. Even if he somehow should manage to keep a husk of what is now Twitter running, he has already destroyed the verification mechanism.

An astonishing number of people seem perfectly fine with a single billionaire being able to buy and destroy what has effectively become a piece of public infrastructure. And I get why they have to believe that, given their ideology. But what is happening now is equivalent to a billionaire walking into a town, buying its only school and only hospital, firing everybody, and then burning both down for his amusement, while the townsfolk look on and sagely say, “well, that is just the free market working as intended, and if you don’t like it, you can move to another town”. I can’t help but think that a complex civilisation that considers this to be normal and acceptable is already on its way out.


engels 11.11.22 at 9:05 am

Twitter has over the last few years been important forbroken the brains of: Scientists… Journalists… The public…

what is happening now is equivalent to a billionaire walking into a town, buying its only school and only hospital casino and crack den, firing everybody, and then burning both down for his amusement



engels 11.11.22 at 9:08 am

what happened to the liberals?

MIA since 2006:


engels 11.11.22 at 9:18 am

You’re also leaving out that the SMT forced him to buy the “school” after he changed his mind.


weichi 11.11.22 at 11:01 pm

I’m with engels. The best thing Musk could do with twitter would be to totally destroy it. It’s obviously terrible for public discourse. I mean, Donald Trump was a master of the medium! What else do you need to know?


nastywoman 11.12.22 at 5:58 pm

as we always had this theory that comedy will solve ALL of these problems –
and as now Comedy is ALIVE to such a dimension that we now have solved the TwitProblem and it is slowly ‘thinking in’ how we can deconstruct ALL of the Right Wing Racist Science Denying Stupid Philosophy -(and still working on lowering the price of Insulin) – couldn’t you guys help US to – and y’all don’t need to tweet as George W Bush –
just tweet as –


Terry Fletcher 11.12.22 at 8:13 pm

Ironic that the way to share this informative article is via a TWEET! However, here is an interesting take on why Musk may have bought Twitter. Makes sense to me


Cranky Observer 11.12.22 at 10:37 pm

“Twitter has over the last few years been important forbroken the brains of: Scientists… Journalists… The public…”

I’m just not seeing how with just a little verification and judicious use of the block button my having found interesting networks of science fiction writers, feminist political analysts, feminist science fiction writer, pastry bakers, etc to follow on twitter, many of whom use it to post links to their long-form works on blogs and in journals and general interest publications, has “broken” my brain. You be you I guess, but please don’t assume that everyone else has the same difficulties reasonably consuming online media that you do.

(I did start using Tweetbot before Twitter Inc started trying to destroy it, and perhaps I am grandfathered into being able to use that tool, but even when I read Twitter directly on the corporate web version I don’t feel particularly “broken”).


Alex SL 11.12.22 at 11:08 pm


I have absolutely no idea how the ability to follow my colleague’s updates on their field work, publications, job advertisements, movements to new jobs, conference participations, or funding successes, has broken my brain. You do you, but I hope you don’t vote for abolishing all public transport or the power grid after you find out that frauds and criminals use those too.

Terry Fletcher,

Certainly he has bigger plans than just “make it more profitable” – he keeps talking about how it is part of his grand design to extend the light of consciousness and other such self-important nonsense. But, you know, I could also buy a used car because I have a plan to rebuild it into a spaceship; that doesn’t mean I can feasibly pull that off or that the plan ever made any sense whatsoever.


engels 11.12.22 at 11:58 pm

Yes, you can use Twitter for serious discussion just like you can use cocaine for medical vasoconstriction.


nastywoman 11.13.22 at 12:01 am

as GOD
just tweeted:
God (Not a Parody, Actually God)
I’m not a parody account. You’re a parody species.


engels 11.13.22 at 12:28 am

The problem isn’t who uses it but how it’s designed: to be addictive, to incentivise glib, reactive, narcissistic tribalism.


engels 11.13.22 at 11:27 am

Basically, Twitter is a game where you compete with everyone else to produce attention-grabbing garbage, in order to addict others to the site and boost the company’s ad revenues, and the prize is that more people see your garbage.


Elliott Bignell 11.13.22 at 4:19 pm

The only option to share is “Tweet”. I find this lack of variety … disturbing.

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