Tuesday, April 05, 2022

Elon Musk Now Controls Twitter

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Yesterday morning we learned that the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX multi-billionaire Elon Musk has bought 9.2% of Twitter's stock---nearly $3 billion worth.

Musk is now Twitter's largest stockholder. 

He has been a frequent critic of social media's never-ending war on free speech, recently asking if a new social platform is needed?

More than a few people are trying to figure out how this is going to impact social media in general.

And free speech specifically. 

Be informed, not misled.

Musk's acquisition of Twitter stock follows a recent poll from the tech entrepreneur questioning Twitter's commitment to free expression---a question asked with the caveat that "The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully."

Clearly, they were important.

One of the immediate consequences of the acquisition is that the company's shares were up more than 25% following news that Musk had bought nearly $3 billion worth of the stock. His newly acquired stock, according to Bloomberg, has already made him about $1.1 billion richer.

To put it in perspective, Musk is said to be the richest man in the world with a net worth of about $273 billion. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is worth about $189 billion---Bill Gates about $134 billion.

This is the statement and the question Musk asked on Twitter: "Free Speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?"

There were 2,035,924 responses, with 29.6% saying "yes," and 70.4% saying "no."

Elon Musk has 80 million followers on Twitter.

Bloomberg says, "While it's as-yet unclear what Musk plans to do with his newfound power within Twitter, it will be interesting to see if Twitter's censors continue to give Musk trouble for his tweeting given he's now the company's largest stockholder.

Some are saying that Musk will remain in a "passive" role with Twitter, I don't think he will. He has been asking his followers for input for a while now. He has also been criticizing the censorship on social media---particularly Twitter, where he and others, including Trump, have been censored.  This should be a wake-up call for Facebook and its censorship as well.

The Left always attacks those who hold opposing views. 

Tolerance has never been a virtue of the left. They merely used it as a  tool--you rarely hear the word tolerance from a so-called progressive anymore.

Character assassination and calls for literal book-burning have become more of a  norm than an anomaly for the so-called progressives.

Victor Davis Hanson says there was a time when progressives actually "pushed limitless free expression, blasting conservatives for their allegedly blinkered traditionalism."

"Now," he says, "the Left has become increasingly puritanical, regressive, and hypersensitive. Even totalitarian censorship and book burning have weirdly become part of their by-any-means-necessary methods."

Hanson shares this incident from Berkeley:

University of California, Berkeley, professor Grace Lavery was so outraged by author Abigail Shrier’s latest book, Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, that she went way beyond the usual calls to ban the book. Lavery advocated burning Shrier’s book.

“I DO encourage followers to steal Abigail Shrier’s book and burn it on a pyre,” Lavery tweeted last month.

Did the self-appointed liberal watchdog the American Civil Liberties Union step in to defend free expression?

No. Instead, one ACLU official poured gas on the book-burning fire. 

"Stopping the circulation of this book and these ideas are 100% a hill I will die on," tweeted Chase Strangio, the ACLU's deputy director for transgender justice.

Progressive pressure of the sort used by social media to de-platform and cancel unwelcome politics and ideology is placing our First Amendment in jeopardy. 

Hanson says progressive pressure is the sort used by social media to de-platform and cancel unwelcome politics and ideology.

He says, "So the First Amendment of the once freest nation in the world is comatose. This time its enemies are not hooded Klansmen seeking to intimidate African Americans or right-wing conspiracy theorists rooting out supposed Communists."

Concluding he says, "Past and present, all these zealots and character assassins cloaked their intolerance in the pretense that they were advancing truth---by destroying it."

No rest for the faithful when it comes to censorship.

It’s not only politics. So far this year, religious groups and figures have been silenced by tech companies at a rate of about one a week, according to a new report from the Napa Legal Institute.

Last March the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed naming a number of religious news websites that had been censored due to a difference of beliefs between the organization and the tech company. 

  • LifesiteNews' YouTube channel was permanently banned by owner Google, which deleted all its videos, claiming the action was a response to COVID-19 "misinformation" when an American Catholic bishop criticized vaccines developed with fetal cells.
  • Twitter blocked a post from the Daily Citizen, which is run by Focus on the Family, and suspended its account. The reason? A tweet that challenged the underlying premise of transgenderism.
  • Ryan T. Anderson of the Ethics and Public Policy Center saw Amazon ban his book titled, "When Harry Became Sally," which criticizes transgenderism.
  • Facebook blocked advertisements for Paul Kengor's book titled, "The Devil and Karl Marx" because it was anti-communist.
  • Facebook has also banned ads for Kimberly Cook's book, "Motherhood Redeemed"---because "it challenges feminism in the modern world."

Religious groups, particularly Christian groups, are facing mounting threats from tech companies. Their views on marriage, sexuality, life, and other moral issues are very unpopular among the Silicon Valley set. 

Josh Holdenried, the vice-president and executive director of NapaLegal Institute, says Christian groups "must refuse to be silenced, change their views, or otherwise back down. Censorship is a symptom of a national collapse in civic culture. Curing the deeper disease will take all the courage and conviction we can muster."


I don't see Elon Musk as any kind of savior or white knight, but I do believe he is as upset as Donald Trump at how social media is treating any and everyone with whom they disagree---especially Christians. His controlling entrance into the social media business can only be helpful.

I'm reminded that the Early Christian Church was also faced with censorship and punishment for speaking their mind and heart.

In Acts chapter 5 Peter, John, and the others are specifically told they can no longer teach and preach in the name of "Jesus"---then released from prison.

Following their release, they immediately began preaching the Gospel in the name of Jesus. Once again they were brought before the authorities and asked in verse 28: "Did we straightly command you that you should not teach in this name? And behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us." Then Peter said (v 29), "We ought to obey God rather than man."

The Bible is not suggesting lawlessness, but it is certainly underscoring the fact that there is sometimes a point beyond which we will not be silenced. I believe we are at the threshold of that point under our current leadership.

Be Informed. Be Discerning, Be Vigilant. Be Faithful. Be Prayerful.