Muskovite Birds of a Feather: Notes on the Great Twitterpation

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Tiassa, Nov 4, 2022.

  1. Bells Staff Member

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  3. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Perhaps the better thing would be for all public officials and entities to not use Twitter.

    Businesses might consider the same.

    Meanwhile, trying to legislate constitutional protection of defamation, fraud, crime, and even insurrection, just to protect their own political interests, as Republicans intend, is as stupid and dangerous as we apparently ought to expect of them.

    This isn't really about free speech insofar as the headlining discussions of free speech in American society tend toward promoting unreliable right-wing discourse. The "cancel culture" melodrama intends to protect and promote supremacism; Muskovite Twitter intends to protect and promote supremacism, fraud, and even terrorism; and then there is the actual censorship undertaken by governments that the "cancel culture" bawl, Muskateers, and even congressional Republicans intend to protect and promote.

    In a way, it's kind of like creationism and "intelligent design": Free speech, and all, whatever, sure, but no, you ought not be able to compel a public school to call it science. Sometimes it really is that straightforward.
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  5. Thus Spoke Registered Senior Member

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  7. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Yeah, but answers like that are part of the reason people don't take you seriously. I mean, maybe you could have given a more stereotypical rightist-dullard wannabe-gotcha reply, but understand, but that sort of disrespect isn't new, and it's a reminder to others that, even at forty-four billion dollars, the politics of this all aren't actually to be taken seriously in and of themselves, but only for the harm they seek to inflict.

    It's like asking why people can't talk it over when one side of a dispute clearly isn't interested in talking anythign other than shit. It's like Nelson↱, 2017, wondering how to engage with people who seek to offend. In our moment, how to come to terms with someone who simply refuses? I mean, after all this, it's just two-bit politicking? Y'all are so insecure about your cheap shit that it's worth forty-four billion dollars to publicly humiliate yourselves and just get that much more worked up while everyone else is, what, supposed to just sit back and wait to see what you come up with next? After all that, we're back to childish, everyday reminders that you're not to be taken seriuosly?

    A'ight, then.
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    But Was It Worth Forty-Four Billion?

    Twitter proved it remains alive and kicking today.

    Murmur and buzz suggested climate activist Greta Thunberg had just taken a piece of an extraordinary masculinist, and so:

    Early Tuesday (Pacific Time), the so-called King of Toxic Masculinity, Andrew Tate, called out climate activist Greta Thunberg, bragging about having thirty-three cars↱, and inviting contact information, "so I can send a complete list of my car collection and their respective enormous emissions". Early Wednesday, Thunberg responded↱, "yes, please do enlighten me. email me at".

    Naturally, this set the twitterati to twitterpating, and with algorithmic selection seemingly simplified, the episode reached my twitfeed just in time for today's update, which is Alejandra Caraballo forwarding the news↱ that, "Andrew Tate's home in Romania has been allegedly raided by authorities in connection with organized crime."

    One-two-three. Grim, yes, but in Twitter terms, that's some effin' entertainment.

    That is, we might always prefer there isn't any human trafficking or other such harm going on in any given episode, but as an actual media consumpton experience, yeah, that one was pretty substantial.

    Forty-four billion dollars to provide me this opportunity to reflect on the sorts of discourse Elon Musk intends to champion.

    Well served. But was it worth it?


    @Cobrastate. "Hello @GretaThunberg …". Twitter. 27 December 2022. 29 December, 2022.

    @Esqueer. "BREAKING: Andrew Tate's home in Romania has been allegedly raided by authorities in connection with organized crime." Twitter. 29 December 2022. 29 December 2022.

    @GretaThunberg. "yes, please do enlighten me. email me at". Twitter. 28 December 2022. 29 December 2022.
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  9. Thus Spoke Registered Senior Member

    At least Twitter will give people the option to decide on their own.

    Your warnings of mayhem are just strawmen.

    "There's a researcher at Stanford who says...this is a critical moment...ensuring...Twitter does not become a vector for misinformation...Are you concerned about that & what tools do you have?"

    ↑ The White House will continue to monitor the situation

    Notice how the question was about misinformation but she directed it to inciting violence. There are laws against defamation, inciting violence, threats, harassment, hate crimes, and fraud, but false speech and hyperbole are inevitable in debates. The First Amendment gives us breathing room in that arena because we don’t want to silence the dissent and dialogue that democracy requires.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2022
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Freedom and Twittery

    What was it someone said↑? "At least Twitter will give people the option to decide on their own." The line never aged well, but at some point—

    Twitter has blocked the accounts of several high-profile Canadians — including NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and poet Rupi Kaur — from internet users in India.

    The move was apparently made at the request of India's government, according to a Sikh organization. The government has shut down the internet in the northwestern, Sikh-majority state of Punjab as they seek to apprehend Amritpal Singh, dubbed a "self-styled preacher" in India's English-language media.

    Balpreet Singh, legal counsel and spokesperson for the Toronto-based World Sikh Organization (WSO) — which bills itself as an organization dedicated to promoting and protecting the interests of Sikhs in Canada and worldwide — provided CBC News with a copy of the email the organization received from Twitter notifying them of the move.

    The organization's account has also been suspended.

    "In the interest of transparency, we are writing to inform you that Twitter has received a legal removal demand from the Government of India regarding your Twitter account, @WorldSikhOrg, that claims the following content violates India's Information Technology Act," the email reads in part.

    Screenshots from Twitter users in India show the blocked accounts contain a message saying the account "has been withheld in India in response to a legal demand."

    (Thayaparan and Kurjata↱)

    —it probably gets kind of frustrating, or something. The thing is, twitspeech is like so many other political issues out there, in which we are not without a real issue to consider, but the free speech of cacophony precludes such discussion in favor of noise. To a certain degree, that's actually how Musk gave himself the bird in the first place. It's one thing to consider questions of free speech, something else to actually believe the particulars of any given pitch. One of the reasons American conservatives are so angry, for instance, is that they are tired of being wrong. Unfortunately, there's not much to do about that until they stop arguing dysfunctional political positions. Only they can stop themselves from being wrong.

    It's like the "Twitter files" controversy. When they put so much effort into scandalizing the mundane, then something extraordinary, like this, stands out all the more. According to Twitter, they cannot help it, they must comply with Indian government requests to censor political speech in India, and while "CBC News reached out to Twitter for more information … it is not clear if the company is responding to press following layoffs in its communications department." Last week, "Twitter owner Elon Musk said all media requests will now receive a poop emoji as a response."

    Vancouver activist Mo Dhaliwal suggests the government in India has "the hallmarks of a fascist state", and while fascism is an easy accusation as a stand-in for diverse manners of authoritarianism, it is hardly a rare discussion about the Modi government, especially as the current Prime Minister is an actual fascist. Meanwhile, the suppression of these Twitter accounts in India comes against the backdrop of an internet blackout in Punjab, the only Sikh-majority state in India. Jagmeet Singh criticized the blackout↱ as "draconian" and "unsettling", and according to CBC, "Rupi Kaur has boosted messages in support of Sikh activists and urging followers to 'pay attention to Punjab.'" Jindi Singh, of Khalsa Aid Canada, based in Victoria, is also blocked from view in India. "My Twitter account is usually quite boring," he said, "but it shows how thin-skinned they are."

    For Twitter's part, it's a business, so it's priority is pretty obvious; and of course Elon Musk was never really about free speech. In fact, it's kind of silly that anyone would have ever believed he was.


    @theJagmeetSingh. "I am deeply concerned by reports that India has suspended civil liberties and imposed an internet blackout throughout the state of Punjab." (thread) Twitter. 18 March 2023. 25 March 2023.

    Thayaparan, Arrthy and Andrew Kurjata. "Twitter blocks access to accounts of prominent Canadians at request of India's government, Sikh group alleges". CBC News. 22 March 2023. 25 March 2023.
  11. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Breaking Dumb

    Four amazing paragraphs:

    Elon Musk has put a $20 billion value on Twitter, making up less than half of the $44 billion Musk paid to acquire the site, according to reports from Platformer and The Information. In a memo sent to staff viewed by Platformer's Zoë Schiffer, Musk reportedly says that employees will receive stock grants based on Twitter's $20 billion valuation.

    Musk stated last year that he's "obviously overpaying" for Twitter at $54.20 per share. Price was also one of the reasons why he attempted to back out of the deal last year, claiming that the company made false and misleading statements about the presence of bots on the platform.

    As noted by Schiffer, Musk adds that he sees "a clear but difficult path" to achieving a $250 billion valuation, which would eventually make Twitter's current stock grants worth 10 times as much as they are now (if this actually ends up panning out, of course). Just like the Musk-owned SpaceX, Twitter will also reportedly let employees cash in their stock grants at specified periods.

    Additionally, Musk reportedly writes that he views Twitter as an "inverse startup" due to the whirlwind of "necessary" changes he made to the platform to save it from bankruptcy. However, the new $20 billion estimate likely reflects the challenges that emerged due to some of these radical changes, such as the new Blue with verification subscription that led to a wave of fake accounts and a "general amnesty" policy that brought back some of Twitter's worst users.


    The thing is, Elon Musk saving Twitter from bankruptcy is also Elon Musk saving Twitter from himself.


    Roth, Emma. "Elon Musk reportedly halves Twitter's valuation in internal memo". The Verge. 26 March 2023. 26 March 2023.
  12. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Blue Bird Blues

    The headline at TechCrunch: "Twitter Blue relaunch has made just $11M on mobile in its first 3 months".

    The detail, from Jagmeet Singh and Ingrid Lunden↱:

    Legacy Twitter checkmarks are disappearing on April 1st, Twitter says, and in the future, the only way users will be able to get the coveted blue badge is by paying for a Twitter Blue subscription. That points to a big question for Twitter and owner Elon Musk: Will that nail finally drive more take-up of the social network's premium tier?

    So far, take-up has been fairly underwhelming. Since relaunching three months ago as a big push into non-advertising-based revenue, Twitter Blue has only picked up $11 million in mobile subscriptions, according to data from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower.

    The $11 million figure is notable because Twitter is banking on Twitter Blue at a time when advertising — which traditionally has accounted for the vast majority of Twitter's income — remains in rapid decline.

    In part, that drop is due to the overall economy, which has pushed marketing spend down. But advertisers have also been hesitant to recommit to Twitter amid its rapid-fire changes, chaotic missteps and threats to general brand safety as Elon Musk rolled back earlier protections. Twitter has since tried to repair some of those relationships, including by way of partnerships with adtech companies DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science (IAS), for example, but it's not yet clear to what extent revenue has improved as a result.

    While $11 million is a small figure, we should caveat that this estimate does not cover web-based subscriptions. The firm also can't break out who is paying for annual or monthly Blue subscriptions. The figures cover the 20 markets where Blue has been launched prior to this week. It wasn't until yesterday that Twitter made the service available globally.

    And if the analysis only gets more complicated, the general theme is uncertainty.

    Inasmuch as Twitter signfies anything about Elon Musk's business acumen, maybe the "inverse startup" he describes really is the only thing he has left.


    Singh, Jagmeet and Ingrid Lunden. "Twitter Blue relaunched has made just $11M on mobile in its first 3 months". TechCrunch. 24 March 2023. 26 March 2023.
  13. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

    so can i post on the new free speech twitter

    "Fa--ot Ni--ers need to get some respect or just kill themselves feel me G"

    or do i not get to choose for myself ?
  14. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member


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    Matt Binder, for the setup↱

    If Elon Musk was expecting many verified Twitter users to pay to keep their checkmarks, the reality is bound to be disappointing, new data has revealed.

    On April 1, Twitter is set to strip away the legacy verification checkmarks from the platform in favor of the paid checkmarks associated with Twitter Blue subscriptions. Then starting April 15, the platform apparently will no longer promote non-paying Twitter Blue subscribers via its recommendation algorithm on the For You feed.

    One of Elon Musk's biggest changes since taking over Twitter has been launching Twitter Blue, which gives any account a verification badge just for paying $8 per month (or $11 per month via mobile purchase).

    —and then, how about his twitform↱ for the punch line:

    as Twitter plans to remove legacy verification & solely promote Blue subscribers on users' feeds, here's some new Twitter Blue data:

    ➡️ 50% of all paying subs have less than 1k followers

    ➡️ around 18% have less than 100

    ➡️ thousands have 0 followers

    Twitter Blue has around 475,000 subscribers, and, per Binder at Mashable, "this means that less than 0.2 percent of Twitter's 254 million daily active users, a metric previously shared by Musk, are paying for Twitter Blue." Data suggested that of "legacy verified accounts", less than 6,500 have signed up to continue with Twitter Blue.

    Consider the result in practical terms. Some might recall the name Monica Lewinsky↱, a poorly-treated figure in American politics twenty-five years ago. While I never actually followed her, she did occasionally land in my twitfeed if one of her wry remarks caught enough attention from other people I follow. If she chooses to not pay Elon Musk for the privilege of being herself, then her checkmark will disappear on first April, and a fortnight later, she will stop occurring in my twitfeed at all, though the impersonator who paid Elon Musk for the privilege of pretending to be her in order to disparage her might.¹ Some prominent celebrities have already made the point that what kept them at Twitter was the verification; without it, there is no no point in staying.

    Inasmuch as users are a resource, a way of giving Twitter value, this is a big trade. Many of the legacy verified accounts are what keeps some mundane users at Twitter, and trading out entertainers, news organizations, and institutional comms for "far right wing accounts, cryptocurrency scammers, and hardcore Elon Musk supporters". It's one thing if an entertainer like Cardi B, or a politico like Anthony Scaramucci, or even a liberal newshand like Ali Velshi might have dropped their blue checkmarks, but, as we learned in February, Musk's own company, Tesla, said no↱.

    Moreover, the Twitter Blue idea has gone over so well that people who pay for the new blue checkmark will also have the option to highlight it: "As even Twitter itself has reportedly noticed," Binder reports, "users verified with the paid checkmark are often shunned by other users on the platform"; the Twitter Blue checkmark has apparently become a scarlet letter.

    As people prepare for the Ides of Twitpocalypse, the part where we wait to see what happens remains free of charge.


    ¹ Joyce White Vance↱ observes, "they're now bold enough to use our actual pictures".​

    @JoyceAlene. "Same, there are too many to count and new ones popping up every day. Apparently, they're now bold enough to use our actual pictures like this one @ AleneJoyce32297". Twitter. 26 March 2023. 29 March 2023.

    @MonicaLewinsky. "well this is going to be fun…". Twitter. 26 March 2023. 29 March 2023.

    Binder, Matt. "Half of Twitter Blue subscribers have less than 1,000 followers". Mashable. 28 March 2023. 28 March 2023.

    —————. "Twitter is making even less from Twitter Blue than previously known". Mashable. 14 February 2023. 29 March 2023.
  15. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Zoë Schiffer↱ reports:

    Twitter hasn't paid thousands of dollars in charitable donations that employees made in 2022, around the time of the acquisition. The money was taken out of employee paychecks but never reached the organizations. Benevity, the third-party platform that is used to facilitate the payments, told employees Twitter hasn't yet approved the payments. After I started asking around about this yesterday Twitter said it is "actively working" to get the money to the NGOs.

    Maybe it's the latest revenue plan.
  16. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    So, if I'm not saying anything about the fall of Matt Taibbi and the Twitter files, it's because I'm waiting for the thump.

    Still, though:

    • Rough appearance on Medhi Hasan's show, refused to criticize Musk; Substack suppressed, Taibbi criticizes the action; Elon Musk unfollows Taibbi; "Twitter files" posts suppressed.​

    It was fast and stupid, watching in real time. Not only is Matt Taibbi thoroughly humiliated for having thrown in with Musk, so also are those who someohw thought Elon was bringing free speech to Twitter.
  17. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Flying Leap, b/w Stay Tuned …

    "This is a classic glass cliff situation, in which a failing company hires a woman to clean up messes made by arrogant men. Then she becomes the scapegoat because it's impossible to clean up."

    That is almost too easy a prediction.

    Thus, as we see it coming, no, that can't really be what is happening.

    Anyway, stay tuned. We'll find out how this goes ... for reals ... in real time.
  18. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    How It's Going: The Propagandist Takes a Fall

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    It seems somehow significant that Elon Musk's biography has been discredited, by the author, before the book was released.

    In short:

    So, what really happened with Musk and Ukraine & their "drone subs" and his Starlink system?

    Short answer: [shrug]

    Long answer: Here are three tellings of the tale, each one different, all told by the same person.


    That "same person" telling three stories is the biographer, himself, Walter Isaacson.

    The underlying story is that the Washington Post published an excerpt of Isaacson's forthcoming biography of Elon Musk, focusing on the story of Musk working against Ukraine during the war. Ukrainian officials point out this decision cost Ukrainian civilian lives, including children. Isaacson has repeatedly walked back the telling.

    Matthew Gertz↱ observes:

    The Washington Post has placed a correction on Walter Isaacson's book excerpt and swapped in new language.

    The correction (qtd. in Gertz) asserts, "After publication of this adaptation, the author learned that his book mischaracterized the attempted attack by Ukrainian drones on the Russian fleet in Crimea."

    The question remains: How did a renowned author like Isaacson screw up so badly? The controversial "adaptation" was supposed to be an excerpt to promote the book's release, slated for tomorrow.

    That is to say, we got this close to publication before "the author learned that his book mischaracterized" the episode. What does that even mean? And how did it happen?


    @KDbyProxy. "So, what really happened with Musk and Ukraine & their "drone subs" and his Starlink system? Short answer: [shrug] Long answer: Here are three tellings of the tale, each one different, all told by the same person." Twitter. 9 September 2023. 11 September 2023.

    @MatthewGertz. "The Washington Post has placed a correction on Walter Isaacson's book excerpt and swapped in new language." Twitter. 11 Septemer 2023. 11 September 2023.

  19. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    How It's Going

    As Elon Musk cancels UAW's verification in response to a auto workers' strike vote, helps Saudi Arabia persecute and kill its critics, and even seeks to assist the Russian invasion of Ukraine by manipulating communications availability, we might take a moment to think back about why he bought the Twitter platform, and what his supporters said, and maybe some of those could check in and tell us, again, all about Elon Musk and free speech.

    Because, really, inquiring minds do want to know how anyone could be so profanely stupid. We could all watch this happen from the outset, even before the purchase. And, honestly, the bit where two journalists sacrificed themselves in order to lie about censorship really should have made the point. But the more we find out Elon Musk is pretty much as dishonest as we might have suspected, and his Twitter takeover as much about assailing and suppressing speech as his own rhetoric made clear throughout, sure, we wonder, except we don't.

    It's like, c'mon, we kind of knew already, but the year spent proving the point has, at least, outstripped our imaginations.

    Because, sure, there is a version that wonders if you're reasonably ashamed, yet; and then there is the mundane experience, like every day when we were supposed to pretend that supremacism wasn't. The idea that suppression is freedom? It's an interesting performance art concept at forty-four billion dollars, but, really, he didn't need to spend the money↑ to prove the point. Reminder, we do it for free↑, on our own time. But Elon spent forty-four billion dollars to make the point.

    The prospect that such a sum represents an investment in auhoritarianism and vainglory is pretty much demonstrable, at this point. Still, inasmuch as anyone ever believed Elon Musk, or pretended the Twitter acquisition was about free speech, sure, it occurs to wonder how those folks think things are going.
  20. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    No X-It (b/w, Twitter in the Xhitter)

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    Click because he told 'em.

    Tech reporter Ryan Mac↱ explains:

    X, the company formerly known as Twitter, told employees in an internal note today that the company is worth $19 billion, down from the $44 billion Elon Musk paid for it a year ago.
  21. Bells Staff Member

    Going well...
  22. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Not to worry; X is coming out with a new online banking service that will quickly return them to profitability! I am sure that no one will have a problem putting their money into a company headed downhill as rapidly as X is.
  23. Bells Staff Member

    The sad thing is that Musk is so beloved by a particular subset of "X" that they probably would trust him with their money.

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