After badly losing Twitter confidence poll, Musk says only $8 subscribers should be able to vote
It’s time to check in on Elon Musk’s retooling of Twitter into his own personal fiefdom and—oh. Oh, that’s not good. Yikes.
Things are going from bad to worse for the man who spent $44 billion in an attempt to return anti-vax and pro-insurrection conspiracy theorists to the nation’s tersest social network. What began as a purge of journalists who so much as mentioned Musk’s removal of an account that tracked where in the world Elon’s jet was, uh, jetting off to led to an exodus of Twitter users citing Musk’s lying tantrum as their last straw, which in turn led Musk to institute a new rule banning “promotion” of competing social networks Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, Post, and (snicker) Truth Social, which Twitter’s new policy page defined as having any link to your account on those others sites or having a link that would in turn lead to the information.
That policy was itself reversed by Musk after basically the whole of Twitter and the internets laughed at Musk and only used the rules as further reason to head to one of those other sites rather than put up with the tantrumming baby’s ever-shifting web of new rules and his continued promotion of white supremacists and pandemic conspiracy cranks. But Musk was so butthurt (I’m using the technical term here, there’s nothing I can do about it) that he then posted a new Twitter poll asking site users to vote on whether he should step down as Twitter’s chief, saying he would “abide” by the results.
He lost the poll by a mile and has been double-fuming ever since. Will he abide by the poll’s results?
Ha ha ha ha—yeah, that’s a good one. No, after being crushed in the fourth such what-should-I-do poll in recent days (in the others he asked how long the journalists he lied about should remain suspended and asked users to validate his no-links-to-competing-sites policies) he’s now relying on his favored sycophants to tell him that no, it doesn’t count because his enemies are all “bots” or whatever.
Oh no! Now Elon thinks he didn’t actually solve the “bot” problem after all! But don’t worry, another suck-up gave him the technical solution he needs.
“Blue subscribers should be the only ones that can vote in policy related polls. We actually have skin in the game” tweeted some dude. “Good point. Twitter will make that change,” replied Musk.
Whew, that was a close one. Musk almost had to abide by the results of a poll that didn’t go his way, except—surprise!—it turns out that on the polls that don’t go his way it is because The Bots have foiled him.
We’ve now arrived at the next step of Musk’s brilliant plan to save Twitter: From now on, the rules will be decided only among the fanboys willing to pay him $8 a month.
Now, this is probably not going to happen, and a great many observers of the Tweetpocalypse can tell you why. The moment Musk orders a new rule limiting votes in his numerous “what should Twitter’s new rules be” polls is the moment all the world gets to learn just how many people really are paying $8 per month for Musk’s premium Twitter accounts. Musk’s poll on whether he should step down collected votes from over 17 million Twitter accounts.
How many votes do we think a “Twitter Blue”-only poll would get?
Musk will also likely be stepping down as Twitter head sooner or later, because Tesla’s stock has been absolutely cratering as Elon’s days of tantrums peel away his carefully curated image as world-saving genius. Customers are canceling Tesla orders over his trolling, and Tesla’s stock has now been downgraded by a Wall Street analyst, citing the “potential for a negative feedback loop” that will further erode Twitter’s finances while forcing Musk to sell off even more of his own Tesla stock, even as his behavior creates “broad public backlash” that will impact Tesla as well.
All of this is of course a huge mess and getting worse by the day, and absolutely none of it is going as Elon Musk planned when he first bought the place and reinstated a large assortment of white nationalists and conspiracy cranks under the banner of “free speech.” It also would appear to up the odds of Musk having to unload the site at a steep loss rather than continuing to devote his every waking hour to inventing new ways to make it suck.
That said, let’s give some special attention to the handful of still-paid Twitter engineers who are now tasked with immediately implementing, then tearing out, each of Elon Musk’s absolutely terrible ideas. They were tasked with coming up with a list of journalists to suspend—then told to reinstate them after Musk put up a Twitter poll in which users voted to undo the suspensions. Musk ordered them to write new code that would ban users from tweeting out links to Facebook, Mastodon, and other competing sites—and were soon ordered to undo those changes after Musk, yes, put up another Twitter poll to ask users whether that really should be the policy.
Now, in response to yet another poll that didn’t go the way he thought it would, the Twitter tech teams are no doubt scrambling to create some back-end flag that will make some and only some polls available only to Musk’s paid subscribers. That’s a lot of work! It’s also yet another change that may or may not run afoul of god-knows-how-many European or American laws, because there’s nobody left there to check for these things, and Twitter is still very much obliged to follow the terms of a consent agreement that requires them to inform the Federal Trade Commission of new product changes before implementing them.
Imagine being one of the few Twitter engineers to make it through Musk’s firing spree, his demand for printouts of your work product for a Musk-led “code review,” his demand that employees sign a new loyalty statement promising to work longer and harder, his refurbishing of unused offices into makeshift bedrooms so that you can comply with his demands to work late and sleep in the office instead of going home, and your reward for all of that is that you get to code all these Musk-demanded changes as fast as you can and stay at the office late to rip them back out again when Musk holds an on-site vote asking whether it was a stupid idea to begin with.
What a job that must be.
Musk bans journalists, lies about the reason, and storms off in snit during Thursday Night Ass-acre
Elon Musk’s Twitter bans mentions of Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, and Trump’s Truth Social
Elon Musk vows to step down as head of Twitter after taking a poll and losing by a mile
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