This article was first published as a post here.
Billionaire Elon Musk, the free speech “absolutist” imagines himself as an intellectual who champions liberty. His recent tweet to AOC is a mild foreword to what will most likely follow his takeover of Twitter.
A tech-bro dude with immense wealth, Musk has a massive army of fawning admirers online who lap up and react to every single word he utters. With 89.9 million followers, he is one of the most followed Twitter accounts. On 26th April, after he criticized Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's top lawyer incharge or safety, she was flooded with hateful and abusive tweets.
Musk’s recent tweets, his mockery of “woke progressives” and his union busting activities make it amply clear that his moral compass swings to the right, and therefore, his understanding of “liberty” is warped. He has openly mocked the practice of choosing one’s pronouns. In short, Musk’s ill-formed ideas are a menace to all those trying to prevent the internet from becoming a right-wing troll's paradise.
As we know well, the “philosophy” of the the mega rich and right wingers essentially supports hoarding of wealth, privileges, and rights for themselves. The right and left are not two “equal but different” sides, like one group that likes ice-cream and the other chocolate. Musk does not understand this.
People like Musk refuse to accept something very fundamental: that structural power imbalances dictate who gets to speak and what they can get away with saying. The absence of checks, that Musk conveniently terms “censorship”, increases opportunities for harassment. Twitter and other social media spaces are already hostile spaces for women, for people who face marginalisation and journalists who speak truth to power.
Did you know that since our launch, the core idea at Smashboard has been to create an alternate feminist social media? Basically the complete opposite of Musk’s dream? Our project (a non-profit) has earned media attention, an international award as a “breakthrough digital innovation”, and more importantly, validation from hundreds of feminists and survivors.
However, most funders consider our feminism and principles of intersectionality “too radical”. So our growth is not as fast as it would have been had we been tech bros with an idea.
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