Of all the heroes thrusted into prominence as cobelligerents in the fight against Covidstan, Robert Malone, the man behind MRNA technology, stood out in the calls against the poisonous jabs. Since then, he has been sounding the alarms against other hazards on Substack and elsewhere, including 5G, Big Tech, and more recently Twitter. Elon Musk captured the attention of the world when he initiated his campaign to takeover Twitter for $54.20/share. Taking issues with Elon Musk’s intentions is Dr. Robert Malone, who authored “Musk’s Dangerous Vision for Twitter” as warning shout, but is it warranted is the question.
So, why does Elon Musk want Twitter so badly? Is it because he is such a big free speech advocate, that he wants to “save the world, ” save us all from BIG TECH?
Why does Elon Musk care so much about the number of bot accounts? Is it because he truly wants to ferret out foreign influences?
Why does Elon Musk want to reverse the bans on people’s accounts? Is it because he really cares about scientists, and conservatives ability to interact on the social media app?
The answer of course, is no to all these questions.
It is prudent to question the motives of a mercurial billionaire like Elon Musk, but Malone’s opening line of questions seems rather cynical of Musk without regard for the current status quo, where the current CEO of Twitter is more extreme on censorship than Jack Dorsey. Musk’s objection to the bots was likely just that. Social media has bots, and Musk’s claims centered around the prevalence and allegedly fraudulent claims Twitter made about the number of bots relative to active users. It is probable that Musk’s objection was a futile ruse to either nullify the agreement or renegotiate the terms while the securities markets declined into bear territory. It is simpler to posit that the billionaire wanted to lower the price tag amidst economic decline rather than root out “foreign influence.”
“We” are being manipulated into the vision of Elon being the free speech shield-bearer – but what has Musk revealed recently as to his true motivations for wanting Twitter.
Many on the right have been skeptical of Musk for good reason, and while there is optimism towards his purchase of Twitter, they see Musk as a fighter who is bankrolling himself into the fray to their benefit. In other words, he is not so much a shield-bearer, but a volunteered champion going up against the enemy. One does not have to believe Musk is a “free speech” altruist to root for his endeavor.
It should be noted that there is a tendency for billionaires and corporations to invest in media and entertainment as a means to purchase influence over society. Amazon has a streaming service while Bezos owns the Washington Post. Microsoft is involved in gaming and owns LinkedIn. Apple is involved in streaming. Paypal sought to purchase Pinterest. Others own sports franchises. Combined with a single class of shares and historical skepticism over Twitter’s management, the company was more vulnerable than others for the taking.
Musk’s vision for Twitter is “one stop shopping.” E-commerce. He intends to bring social media, banking, auto loans, Amazon type buying, insurance, paying loans and utility bills, medical insurance, service estimates, you name it- under the umbrella of Twitter. Everything you do, buy, need – could be bought on the Twitter website. This is about power and money.
This is where Malone’s cynicism becomes hyperbolic. Musk would not be the first in social media to envision his app to be the one-stop shopping destination. Both Facebook and to a lesser extent Gab have sought to expand their sites into a marketplace. For years, Facebook, now called Meta, has attempted to branch out to acquire new audiences and has been failing to capture the latest generation. For Elon Musk, this would hardly be anything novel, even if his execution is better. Though he can create a marketplace, that will not displace Amazon or Walmart in commerce, yet Twitter has a particular relevance that cannot be ignored. According to Nick Rikieta, he received faster customer service through Twitter over an airline ticket refund while he waited in line at the airport. There is potency in Twitter, as the world views it as important, but this does not mean it can take over ecommerce.
Although Musk is the richest man in America, he is not spending a third of his net worth on Twitter. Instead, Elon Musk is attempting to execute what is called a Leveraged Buy Out, meaning he is using debt to acquire a company, which means involving lenders into this transaction. His creditors and fellow investors would likely demand a business plan for Musk as CEO of Twitter.
What happens if you are rude, share porn, use inappropriate language or only use binary gender descriptors? What happens if you believe that Russia should take over Ukraine? What happens if you are just a contrarian or a “science denier.” What if you don’t believe in gay marriage or do believe in gay marriage? Who knows what the societal drivers in the future will be? Who knows what the next “thing” will be.
Because it is all good now to think that Twitter won’t change, evolve into something new and unknown. But the truth is that social media platforms morph into new identities as soon as new apps, technologies and even cultural political ideologies change.
Malone’s contention is that this expanded Twitter Musk has tweeted about would create a behemoth where the consequences of removal are worse than in the present times. However, we know which direction the censorship goes, along with who drives the censorship. To say that Elon Musk, who supported the Covid jabs, would censor so-called misinformation at the behest of government interests or his own remains to be seen, but this would be an early test under his prospective ownership that would occur within the first year. It is possible there might be a bait and switch, whereby he allows free speech only to retract later, but that would contravene his “Super App” ambition, and again, this requires displacing Amazon and Walmart. Twitter is disproportionately liberal and majority of Americans are not on it, despite its relevance over the culture. Musk has a lengthy runway to traverse before Twitter can become what he publicly has aspired it to be.
Having a super app for commerce and social media means that the risk of getting kicked off Twitter becomes not just a question of free speech and censorship, but of financial risk to each and every person who relies of Twitter as a complete, one-stop e-commerce app.
While I understand the concern, this has been the case without a singular company pulling the strings. Parlor was given a Code Red by Apple, Google, and Amazon following January 6. Through similar collusion, Donald Trump is still de-platformed. Kanye was de-banked and suspended from social media. Eventbrite removes watch parties for “What is a Woman?” It does not matter whether the hydra has one head or ten if they all act in lockstep perpetuating Cancel Culture.
Though he is a technocrat with WEF connections, Elon Musk represents a chance to disrupt this ongoing pattern. If not Musk, then in the alternative, Twitter would just behave the same, if not worse, than all the other corporations while Cancel Culture persists and the government targets political conservatives. In this, I think Robert Malone has resorted to alarmism.
What Should Musk Do with Twitter?
While Musk is likely obligated to declare his intentions to his investors, he would likely fail to make Twitter an ecommerce platform, just as Facebook Marketplace exists, but is just a Craigslist. This would ultimately be futile and a meager attempt at Return on Investment, which is presumably Musk’s plan. Ultimately, for Musk to achieve a ROI on this investment, he must resell Twitter for a higher price, which means taking it public again in the future. This he could do while retaining majority control through dual class share structure. To accomplish this, he would need to improve top and bottom line metrics as well as grow Monthly Active Users.
Instead of seeking ecommerce, Musk should enter the video streaming business and establish Twitter as the alternative video platform to YouTube. Rumble will never catch on as a mainstream option outside of political content. Meanwhile, Twitter possesses the user base and live streaming capabilities already through Periscope. Previously, Twitter operated Vine. What Dorsey killed, Musk can resuscitate, creating a legitimate competitor to YouTube. This would incentivize user growth, especially from those skeptical of Musk’s intentions. Ad revenue from video and super chats would create top line growth as Musk replicates YouTube’s business model and acquires market share.
Given his past and current leanings, Elon Musk was the unlikely candidate to become a free-speech advocate and disrupt the social media, yet assuming the sale goes through, time will tell if he lives up to his social promise. If anything, we should be rooting for Musk, as his ambition provides a means for taking back the culture and espousing a Christian Worldview to a pagan population, rather than creating yet another echo chamber.