It has been a little over six months since Elon Musk took over Twitter. In this short duration, he has fundamentally transformed the popular social media platform.
He fired most of the site's employees, including members of the so-called Trust and Security team, reducing headcount from over 7,500 to about 2,000. He has won every court case thus far about wrongful termination. He weathered the initial exodus of advertisers boycotting the site to appease the Left. Now, the advertisers are returning, and to help solidify the welcome, he appointed Linda Yaccarino, the veteran former advertising chief of NBC Universal, as the new CEO. Ms. Yaccarino is a power player in media circles for knowing how to attract and manage advertisers.
On the product front, Musk has added new features to the platform, including opportunities for users to chat with each other and make payments, borrowing from his time when he co-founded PayPal. He has removed the many bots that plagued the site and stepped up account authentication. He has changed the user's newsfeed experience altogether, borrowing from TikTok. The "For You" feed now includes tweets from people users do not follow - gripping users to scroll down the list to discover new ideas, opinions, and interests. His goal is to get Twitter users to stay on the platform, and judging by the data he has released, he is succeeding. In March, people spent over 8 billion minutes daily on Twitter, a record.
But the real reason people are warming to the platform is that it is a lot freer now. A couple of weeks ago, Musk appeared on Bill Maher's program, reiterating his vision for free speech. "I really can't emphasize this enough. We must protect free speech - and free speech only matters, it's only relevant, when it's someone you don't like saying something you don't like. Because, obviously, free speech that you like is easy. So the thing about censorship is that, for those who would advocate it, just remember at some point that it will return on you.'
Yesterday, in a candid exchange on CNBC, Musk defended his use of Twitter, even though some people were worried about how it might affect Tesla. Musk compared a famous scene from "The Princess Bride" and said he was ready to put free speech ahead of possible financial consequences.
As the mainstream media continues to censor and not cover stories it doesn't like (for example, the Durham report), Twitter remains the only platform where people can find all kinds of stories, opinions, and comments, with practically no content moderation imposed. The site has thrived as a result, giving voices to millions of people that had been mercilessly axed under the prior regime. In re-engineering Twitter's algorithms, Musk has fully embraced the opinion of Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis from 85 years ago. In Whitney v. California (1927), Justice Brandeis observed: "If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies ... the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."
And there is so much more speech now. Just clicking on a media report, even from a liberal outlet, shows the entire suite of responses to that story, always uncensored. The diversity of opinions, including links provided to other sources that further strengthen or debunk the original story, has brought back Twitter's original promise: create a global public square where all views are equally respected; leaving users to make the judgment of what to believe or what not to believe.
Liberal critics argue that Musk's relaxed moderation rules bring about imminent harm by "spreading misinformation," the Left's favorite excuse to push through censorship. Musk's stewardship of Twitter over the last seven months has convincingly dismissed this claim. While misinformation continues on Twitter, there is no evidence that anybody has been harmed. On the contrary, Twitter‘s policies to interfere in the 2020 election handed the White House to President Joe Biden, whose actions have weakened America and thrust the country into a dangerous conflict with Russia. Had the New York Post's reporting on the Hunter Biden laptop been allowed to stay on Twitter in October 2020, Americans would probably have never voted for Biden. America could have then been saved from the disaster that has been the Biden presidency, as we captured in 13 TIPP charts.
The new Twitter has also forced changes in the behavior of the mainstream media. CNN offered President Trump a chance to appear at a New Hampshire town hall last week. Clips of Trump taking down the hostile host in a vibrant exchange that freely circulated on Twitter showed the world how mentally sharp Trump is compared to President Biden. Under the old Twitter regime, all of these clips would have been censored and never allowed to be retweeted.
The world will never forget when on January 8, 2021, Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's senior policy executive, forever banned Trump, with his following of 88 million he had built throughout his presidency. The reason for Gadde's action? According to the Washington Post, Gadde was responding to some Twitter employees' concerns about their colleagues' safety because some had already received security threats. But they were also angry that Gadde's team had let President Trump's account back onto the service after a 12-hour ban for appearing to encourage (TIPP emphasis) the Capitol rioters on the day "of the failed insurrection," the Post's preferred words to describe the events of January 6. That's right. Ban an entire movement protesting deep election irregularities because a few employees in Twitter's San Francisco headquarters felt unsafe.
So, Mr. Musk, here is our shout-out for returning free speech to the American public square. In the coming elections, probably the most critical vote in our lifetime, every aspirant to public office has an equal chance to get elected because no voice will be censored, at least on Twitter. People will judge candidates' electability and solely vote on their merits. Woke types like Gadde and Roth, who have caused irreparable injury to the celebrated spirit of inquiry and debate in the freest country in the world, are now irrelevant. And for this, we, thank you.
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