Will Twitter’s new ownership alter the political landscape?

Mentioned this on another thread, but thought it deserved its own.

There’s been plenty of talk up to now about several topics related to Twitter:

  • how Trump’s ban seems to have reduced his reach and influence, and how similar bans have seemingly affected his allies like Taylor-Greene and Lindell
  • how the management seems to have been making efforts to reduce misinformation
  • how its new owner seems to be a “free speech absolutist”

Given all this (and I’m not sure how Musk feels about Trump personally), are we about to see any major shifts to the political landscape and outcomes because of the buyout?

I’m leaning towards the “You can never go home again” philosophy.

I’m not convinced ousted R’s are going to come running back to Twitter with open arms. And the fence sitting spectators aren’t anxious to see a repeat of all the drama that led us here in the first place.

No big shift is my prediction.

If it becomes pretty much an open forum, then I’m confident that liberals can hold their own in the debates. Culture has generally moved leftward because liberal ideas are stronger and more persuasive in the marketplace of ideas.

But where does this emphasis on free speech really take us? Will the bigots dropping hard Rs be back in force? Will we be allowed to criticize Tesla and SpaceX on Musk Twitter? Will the Russian bots really be run off (he’s promising they will be)?

I personally kinda like the rough and tumble of Twitter - what some might call its “toxic” nature - but that’s because I think bringing stupid conservative ideas into the light is the best way to discredit them.

It may let certain individuals have the bull-horn they are craving, if standards are lowered. Even if the messages are ignored, embraced, or laughed-at, I have no doubt more people will hear the messages, and that is what some certain individuals really want - just to stir stuff up.

I definitely think Trump would come running. And that is definitely detrimental, even if I do think his power is waning.

It also doesn’t have to bring people back, just make them willing to post stuff they were unwilling to post before. More clearly false information would definitely help the party that thrives on false information. And allowing bigotry and harassment helps the party using those to try and energize their base.

And, no, I don’t trust Musk not to be a hypocrite and enact things that would further his own aims. He’s already pretending that the bannings that occurred before abridged “freedom of speech” rather than clearly violating politically neutral rules about misinformation and harassment. And he’s been very vocal about being upset at just how the site was run.

No one who goes off about freedom of speech about only one side of each issue actually cares about freedom of speech. He’s going to change the rules in ways that favor his ideas and discourage diversity.

Yes, all this.

Musk will let Trump back on, and will remove any and all rules about inciting violence. (Unless it’s violence against himself, obviously. Or even criticism. Despite his claims, the way it will work out is that no one will be permitted to tweet anything critical of Musk.)

The platform will become more toxic and more filled with lies about political issues, health, education, science, and everything else. Progressives and centrists will hang around for a while, but eventually will drift away, exhausted by the ugliness. The vicious, anti-democracy right will end up with yet another echo chamber, and will be bored that there’s no one to fight with. Usership will decline.

Twitter has had a better record than has 10-times-bigger Facebook; in its lifetime it’s permitted peaceful political action (through its ‘quick communication’ nature) and other positives. Those days, most likely, are gone.

However, Twitter will stay alive through the upcoming November elections (USA) and will exert a right-leaning influence. Musk will permit any and all attacks on Democratic candidates, while, potentially, hamstringing the ability of Democrats to reply. This development may contribute toward GOP wins.

(I doubt that Twitter will remain large enough by 2024 to influence those elections, however.)

Don’t we already have multiple threads on this subject?

@Sherrerd I’m not quite sure he can go quite THAT far. Allowing direct advocacy of violence gets into legal issues. But Trump’s little game he played with supporting the insurrection is fair game.

I suspect the main issue for 2022 is that he’s going to unban everyone, and allow all the falsehoods (since lying is not a crime). I’m not sure he will hamstring Democratic replies this early on: he’s pushing a PR battle of saying he’s pro-freedom of speech. If he’s smart, he’d try to get settled in first. Unbanning everyone will cause enough disruption on its own.

And Twitter is large enough that it can hemorrhage users for quite a long time. It’s going to be privately owned, so he can stick with it for quite a while. I don’t share your optimism about 2024.

Not in P&E, as far as I can tell, and it was the political implications that interested me.

According to numerous headlines I saw all over the Net today, Trump says he has no interest in returning to Twitter. That proves it.

I’m wondering if at some point the internet servers will ban it. If it goes too much against what they consider acceptable. There are a few who control a good portion of them. Would it be legal?

Much like Parler (the conservative social media platform) got booted by Google Play, Amazon Web Services, etc. on the heels of the January 6th insurrection? Seems like that was legal.

Edit: Parler did try to sue Amazon due to this, as an antitrust violation, but the case was quickly dismissed by a judge.

Edit #2: So, there may be a second antitrust suit filed by Parler against Amazon, which may be in the court system at this point. From Wikipedia:

That’s what I was thinking of. I did not follow it that closely to know if legal challenges had been made.

Trumpy is in a real bind here. He strongly desires all those millions of sweet Twitter eyeballs. But if he goes back, his Truth Social will be killed to death, more than now. Poor, poor Devin Nunes will be left holding a bag of flaming turds.

Well, then we’ll just have to discuss this in the Schadenfreude thread, won’t we? :slight_smile:

My apologies, I shouldn’t have said that.

Doesn’t TS (Truth Social) have investors? I’d think they’d care about Trump going back to twitter.

Yes, but Trump doesn’t care about them. What are they gonna do? Sue him?

His choice will be- get millions of eyeballs on his tweets and fuck over his investors or stay true to them and not have as much exposure. What will Donnie do? Gee, what a tough one to predict.

The effect will be pouring gasoline on the misinformation fire, which benefits Republicans. Of course, they already have the votes of the terminally misinformed so perhaps not much effect on elections.

For now it appears Cheetoh is not returning to Twitter. This could change of course in the future.

In blow to conservatives, Trump rules out Twitter return to focus on TRUTH Social (msn.com)