We have seen that something which has been the talk of the town on the internet becoming ‘trending’ on Twitter. But today, Twitter itself has become a trending topic of discussion among the masses because of the restructuring measures that has been carried out in the name of ‘Twitter 2.0’ by Elon Musk, the world’s richest man who recently took over as CEO of Twitter.
On last October, Elon Musk took full control of Twitter by buying majority stake in Twitter for $44 billion. The seizure of a company by a corporate capitalist has never been discussed with such significance. But Elon Musk’s taking over of Twitter has grabbed attention internationally.
As soon as he took over, Musk posted on his Twitter page, “The bird is freed”. He also declared that he wanted to create a common digital platform for future generations; and that he had purchased Twitter only to assist humankind and not for earning money.
But, Elon Musk is fundamentally known as an extreme right-winger; he is an anti-democratic, who censures even the parties that advance reformist policies as ‘left-wing danger’; white racist; an ardent supporter of the Republican and fascist Trump. For these reasons, his seizure of Twitter is viewed as a political move rather than just a business expansion measure; Moreover, even the liberal democrats around the world see this event as dangerous and as a threat to the freedom of expression.
The reason behind restructuring Twitter
After Elon Musk took over as the CEO of Twitter, thousands of employees, including those who served at the company’s top post, were laid off. The entire weekdays (7 days) were made into working days and the working hours were changed to 12 hours. It was announced that no questions should be asked about salaries, overtime, job guarantees, and those who do not want to abide by the new rules can resign within 36 hours. These actions sent shockwaves among the employees. So far, more than 1,000 Twitter employees have quit their jobs following the announcement.
Such actions by Elon Musk have been criticised worldwide as it will ruin Twitter, which is known as a significant social media. The hashtag #riptwitter was trended by the Twitter users.
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Another move of Elon Musk was the announcement that the users will now have to pay a fee of $8 for the ‘blue tick’ sign, which has so far been given to the official Twitter accounts of celebrities; and all those who pay that amount will be given blue tick recognition. As soon as the subscription service was launched, Twitter was flooded with fake accounts. Therefore, the service has been temporarily suspended.
It is commonly understood that these stupid actions taken by Elon Musk are for profiting. There is no denying this. From another perspective, if one learns about the working conditions of the companies owned by Elon Musk, it can be understood that the move is also a reorganising measure by Elon Musk to achieve his political aim.
Just as Elon Musk being a white supremacist, so many of those who hold high positions in his companies are also white supremacists. Several cases have been filed against Musk’s companies and factories for discriminating blacks. Many of those who previously worked in Musk’s companies and resigned because of ethnic and racial discrimination have also written articles exposing the working environment. Judging from this, it appears that Elon Musk’s disproportionate firing may be part of bringing Twitter under the influence of white supremacists.
Whose ‘Freedom of Speech’ is Musk advocating?
On November 18, Musk announced a new policy entitled “freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach”. According to this policy, tweets that spread hatred will be removed from Twitter and Twitter does not want the revenue generated from such posts, Musk announced.
While it was fascinating to hear, Musk’s subsequent actions have called into question, the policy he announced and exposed for whose freedom of speech Musk is advocating for. One of the most important decision was the re-activation of Donald Trump’s Twitter account, which had been banned.
Following Trump’s defeat in the 2021 US presidential election, the White House was attacked by his supporters. Trump’s account was banned by the then Twitter management as he called for a coup d’état through his posts. Today, Trump has got ‘freedom of speech’.
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Like Trump, Musk has now reactivated a number of Twitter accounts that have been banned due to violence and hate speech. Notable among them are the Twitter accounts of Babylon Bee – a satirical website that spreads Christian fanaticism, Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson, who made derogatory remarks about the transgender people, American singer Kanye West, who has been criticised for his anti-Semitic speech, and Andrew Tate, a former British boxer who has made derogatory remarks on women.
The Centre for Countering Digital Hate, an organization which reviewed Twitter’s operations for over a week since Musk’s acquisition, said there has been a steady rise in the number of hate mongers on Twitter.
On the other hand, media accounts that raise their voices against fascist-dictatorial States are being blocked. Recently, a Twitter media account operating in Palestine against Israeli occupations has been suspended.
Fascists celebrating Elon Musk!
Twitter has about 40 crore (396.5 million) users worldwide. While this is less than other social media platforms, Twitter is the main medium for political commentary. Sportspersons, actors, politicians and intellectuals are the major users of Twitter. Twitter has a facility called ‘Trending’, which popularly promotes ideas that are discussed by many on the internet.
Twitter has been used to a certain extent by democratic-minded petty bourgeois forces to expose the reactionaries and to comment against the oppression of fascist-dictatorial States. At the same time, Twitter was more proactive than other social media platforms in taking action against those who post hate speeches and posts inciting violence. It is for these reasons that right-wing reactionaries around the world have attacked Twitter; but today, they are all rejoicing over Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter.
Following Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, Trump said, “I am very happy that Twitter is now in sane hands, and will no longer be run by Radical Left Lunatics and Maniacs that truly hate our country”. Twitter 2.0 has been welcomed not only by the fascists of the West, but also by the fascist gang of our country, including Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri (one of the Goebbels of the Sangh Parivar) and Kangana Ranaut.
We do not have to try hard to understand the reasons and causes of this. It’s very easy. With white supremacist and conservative Elon Musk taking over Twitter, fascists of all colours are thrilled that they have now found a propaganda machine to spread their ideas seamlessly.
Preparations for a fascist rule
On last May, Musk said, “I can no longer support the Democrats and will vote for the Republicans (i.e., in the next election)”. Within a few weeks of Elon Musk’s taking over of Twitter, Trump has announced that he will be contesting in the next presidential election. Let’s understand without saying that the US election campaign has begun.
Adani’s conspiratorial takeover of NDTV and Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter are of the same nature. The fascists want to conceptualise the people in their favour by turning the media into their mouthpiece.
Today, the imperialist world order is mired in an unsolvable political-economic crisis. The ruling classes were pushed to the extent that they can no longer be able to carry out their exploitation under the disguise of democracy. Therefore, one of the most reactionary sections of the ruling classes is nurturing fascist groups; they are also trying to bring fascist fanatics into power. Elon Musk is a notable corporate capitalist belonging to such a section of the ruling class.