Because he’s rich and he wants it


It looks like Elon Musk is about to buy Twitter. It’s not because he’s a productive business manager — he’s not. It’s not because he’s a great human being who will make Twitter better — he’s an abusive petty tyrant. It’s not because he’s really good at social media — he’s an asshole on Twitter already. It’s not because he’s an all-around super-genius — no, he has repeatedly exposed himself as a dumbass who hires people smarter than he is to do the real work.

So what makes him the right person to take over Twitter?

Easy. He’s obscenely rich, and the shareholders want a piece of his money. That’s it. He gets to do what he wants on a whim because capitalism has unjustly given him far more money than he deserves. And the system is set up so there are shareholders who put short term profits above all else — if Musk runs the company into the ground, they don’t care, they’ll have pocketed their money and can move on to mismanage a different company.

Incompetence and greed rise to the top under this system.

Now I get to worry. If you want social media reach, Twitter and Facebook are the two must-haves, and I already killed my Facebook account. Where do I go if/when Musk poisons Twitter (this is a question I’m seeing a lot of people asking today)? I’m already on Mastodon, which has a small fraction of the reach of Twitter, and everyone is talking, tentatively, about Tik Tok, which is a completely different medium, and not one I particularly trust (not that any of the social media giants are trustworthy).

I guess I’m holding tight for now and hoping the rich asshole gets bored and decides to go make a flamethrower or a truck with bulletproof windows or something. Or until an alternative begins to take off.

Here’s a whole Twitter thread about how worthless Musk is.

Maybe he can move to Mars?

Comments

  1. Reginald Selkirk says

    It’s not because he’s an all-around super-genius — no, he has repeatedly exposed himself as a dumbass who hires people smarter than he is to do the real work.

    That puts him a step above some other abusive petty tyrants who hire subordinates based on loyalty, not competence.

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    … who hires people smarter than he is to do the real work.

    So this might actually improve TwitCorp?

  3. Dunc says

    <

    blockquote>Where do I go if/when Musk poisons Twitter

    <

    blockquote>

    How would you tell?

  4. raven says

    Elon Musk wants to buy Twitter so he can control what is on Twitter. He is a threat to whatever free speech is left on Twitter.

    I would think the US government could prevent him from buying Twitter.
    On anti-trust grounds.
    Musk is already very wealthy and already controls significant industries, Tesla cars, the Starlink satellite internet system, and the space launch business. Enough is enough.

  5. euclide says

    Twitter almost never made a profit, and could disappear in a few years whoever owns it.
    For the current Twitter shareholders, it’s the perfect moment to dump the shares on Musk, who won’t be able to get rid of it at that price.

    And, bonus, if the Agent Orange is back on Twitter, it means he will dump his own “social network”, and a lot of his supporters will lose money.

    Honestly, not a bad day

  6. robro says

    PZ: You could sign up with Truth Social…hahahaha.

    I have a Twitter account which I rarely use. As Jack Dorsey and company haven’t been exactly heroes to the people, a Musk take over is not a game changer for me. I still won’t use it. However, if Musk lets Chump and his gang of thieves back on the platform, I will close my account. It’s the only gesture I can make.

    I do use FaceBook regularly, primarily to follow some music channels and stay in touch with a couple of friends, but I will kill that account as soon as the Maggots get back on.

  7. raven says

    It’s not because he’s an all-around super-genius — no, he has repeatedly exposed himself as a dumbass who hires people smarter than he is to do the real work.

    That is not as bad as it looks.

    The unwritten rule in corporations is that you never hire anyone more competent than you are.

    I’ve seen many cases where a CEO, VP, or manager is hired and they proceed to identify all the key people under them. The smart ones, the educated ones, the ones that accomplish difficult tasks. They, then fire them. They don’t want someone that may end up with their job someday, after all.

    I saw one famous world class science based Hi Tech corporation where this happened. They had thousands of employees. The new CEO started a reign of terror that last a few years and saw most of their key scientists quit, pushed out, or fired. Then, since it was a science driven company in a competitive industry, all the progress of the company stopped and they almost went bankrupt.
    The board of directors met in emergency session, fired the CEO, and they ended up selling the company to a transnational megacorp for not a whole lot.

    One classic example.
    Kary Mullis invented Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) at Cetus. Shortly after that they fired him.
    Then he won the Nobel prize.

  8. StevoR says

    @ 1. Owosso Harpist : But then that would mean that the musk smelt of Elon ..

    Not that amber amiong other musks has a particular smell that I’m aware of .. so .. yeah?

  9. StevoR says

    @5. Dunc : Firstly, glad to see its not just me with the odd blockquotey issue and secondly, it can always get worse.. Somehow, it can always get worse..

    Also guessing you probly don’t want to find out..

    (Not that I’m on Twitter myself FWIW but still..)

  10. StevoR says

    @6. raven : If only they’d us ethat same anti-trust thing aganst Murdoch.. Sigh.

    In theory, yeah, but then in theory all the PM’s of Oz and POTUSes amiong others would probly be behind bars now and most of the Big Businesse CEO’s probly too.. In practice, if the will to actually enforce the laws so they work to do what they are meant to do isn’t there as seems the case..

  11. says

    Yes, Musk is an obscenely wealthy, abusive imbecile. But, look out, our organization member the Heroic Heretic ™ posted a cartoon warning:
    “Butthead Bezos’ ultimate goal is to use his penis rocket to own uranus”
    (copr. 2020 DCW)

  12. says

    It used to be that some said about talent, “the cream will always rise to the top”
    But, Prof. Myers is correct, now:
    “Incompetence and greed rise to the top under this system.”
    Our organization avoids twitter, farcebook and all the ‘social media’ swamps. They prevent indepth communication and only fuel the ‘slap wars of the stupid’

  13. birgerjohansson says

    shermanj @ 17
    Readers of Discworld will be familiar with the correct phrase:
    “Scum floats to the top”.

  14. birgerjohansson says

    I suppose Musk and the other oligarchs will look good If you compare them to Mass-Grave Vladimir.

  15. StonedRanger says

    @19 Comparing one piece of shit to another piece of shit still leaves you with two pieces of shit. Neither of them are going to look good.

  16. F.O. says

    Too many are starting to see through Musk’s sales pitch, so he’s trying to pull a Gates to clean up his image?

  17. daved says

    Personally, I am extremely worried that if Musk takes over Twitter, one of his first actions will be to announce that in the name of “free speech”, he’s reinstating Trump’s account. And then we’ll be back to Trump’s tweets dominating the news cycle every goddamn day, just like they did before he was kicked off. Anyone who’s arguing that it’d be no big deal is an idiot.

  18. specialffrog says

    @daved: I think that is almost guaranteed to happen. At the moment Twitter bends over backwards to avoid banning conservatives for clear violations of the rules but still occasionally does so.

  19. logicalcat says

    Twitter is a cesspool of despair where intelligence goes to die. Makes sense that he wants to be in charge of it.

  20. whheydt says

    According a local news site I checked (KCBS in San Francisco), the Twitter board is going along with it. Makes me glad I’ve never used Twitter (or Facebork, either).

  21. Akira MacKenzie says

    I’m sure Elon’s first act as CEO is to reopen Trump’s, Alex Jones’, MTGs and all the other fascists who had their accounts blocked. He won’t have any “wokeism” on HIS platform.

  22. daved says

    Trump told Fox News today that even if Twitter reactivated his account, he’d stay on his “Truth Social” platform and not come back to Twitter. Since this is Trump, we know he’s lying, and he’d be back on Twitter within minutes.

  23. raven says

    According to the headlines, the deal is done.

    As several people pointed out, Elon Musk is spreading himself too thin.
    He is supposedly running Tesla, Space X, Starlink, Boring, and now Twitter.

    How can you manage 4 complicated businesses at once?

    I’ve never paid much attention to Twitter and don’t have an account so it won’t be the worst thing to happen to me this month.

  24. John Morales says

    How can you manage 4 complicated businesses at once?

    Much in the same way one can manage 3 — delegate.

  25. chrislawson says

    As raven has already pointed out, Musk’s motivation in buying Twitter is not simply acquisitional compulsion, it’s because he feels affronted by criticisms of his tweets and has bought into the freeze peach delusion and thinks that Twitter needs less internal regulation. Yep. He wants to take Twitter’s hose of sewage and make it less filtered. Not enough solid chunks are getting through.

  26. chrislawson says

    (In fairness to Musk, he has stated that one of his objectives is to get rid of Twitter bots. This would be an improvement. However, in typical Muskian fashion he has not made any statements about how he would achieve this and I suspect he does not realise that this is not a simple task. I also expect that the plan will be abandoned at the first sign that bot-removal might cause a drop in revenue. After all, he will be paying a premium, apparently 40% over market value, to buy enough shares to revert it to a private company. Maybe he’s rich enough not to care, but this is still a huge chunk of his personal wealth and I find it hard to believe he’ll let principles win over expediency given his track record.)

  27. says

    Already Tucker Carlson is back on Twitter.
    Some people I follow are saying they’ve lost hundreds of followers just today. Me, I still have my loyal army of 20.
    So it goes.

  28. Joel Grant says

    I was a frequent Twitter user and I deactivated my account today.
    I do not agree that it was a total sewer. One of the accounts I followed, for example, was the great poet A.E. Stallings. She, who lives in Greece with her husband and children always had interesting things to say.
    I do believe it is likely that it will turn into a right wing sewer but if that was my main problem with this sale I would have stuck around long enough to see what happens.
    I left because I do not want to be counted as a user in order to, in any way, contribute even a fraction of a penny to Elon Musk. I choose not to collaborate with right wing billionaires when I can avoid it.

  29. Joel Grant says

    I was a frequent Twitter user and I deactivated my account today.
    I do not agree that it was a total sewer. One of the accounts I followed, for example, was the great poet A.E. Stallings. She, who lives in Greece with her husband and children always had interesting things to say.
    I do believe it is likely that it will turn into a right wing sewer but if that was my main problem with this sale I would have stuck around long enough to see what happens.
    I left because I do not want to be counted as a user in order to, in any way, contribute even a fraction of a penny to Elon Musk. I choose not to collaborate with right wing billionaires when I can avoid it.

  30. nomdeplume says

    Social media was supposed to be a democratic way of extending access to anyone, not just the billionaire owners of traditional media. That thought didn’t last long….

  31. climateteacherjohnj says

    Yay for Mastodon! For a ‘doomed to fail’ venture (because it’s not out to turn a profit) it’s become enormously successful. Decentralized, interconnected servers, run by volunteer hosts with their own servers, worldwide, and subsidized by a gift economy only just begin to describe it. PZ posts there (or “toots”). ‘Nuf said!

  32. says

    Its a website where people post little snippets of bullshit, and other people reply with wit and snark.

    Some extraordinarily arrogant intellectually dishonest people like MR will forever be proudly ignorant.

    How is it worth $42bn?

    He isn’t buying it for its monetary value. This is only 20% of his net worth and still leaves him with vast wealth that will continue to grow.

  33. says

    Look at it this way, it’ll get easier to point out the bigoted patterns of political behavior if/when Elon lets people post more to his tastes.

    Sure thing, Dr. Pangloss.

  34. says

    Anyone who’s arguing that it’d be no big deal is an idiot.

    Of a willful ignoramus. The degree of intellectual dishonesty in comments like “Twitter is a cesspool of despair where intelligence goes to die” is immense., on a par with people complaining about their children being indoctrinated with CRT or their daughters being accosted by trans “men” in their bathrooms or who quote from the Babble. They live in a world of shallow anecdotes largely of their own making. The truth is that hundreds of millions of people use twitter, so of course you can find people at every point on every bell curve. It’s like claiming that natural language is a cesspool of despair where intelligence goes to die because of the stupid things that can be said.

  35. says

    “As several people pointed out, Elon Musk is spreading himself too thin.
    He is supposedly running Tesla, Space X, Starlink, Boring, and now Twitter.

    How can you manage 4 complicated businesses at once?”

    It takes effort to be this dumb.

    “I’ve never paid much attention to Twitter and don’t have an account so it won’t be the worst thing to happen to me this month.”

    A monument to shallow self-centeredness.


    First they came for the Communists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Communist

    Then they came for the Socialists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Socialist

    Then they came for the trade unionists
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a trade unionist

    Then they came for the Jews
    And I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Jew

    Then they came for me
    And there was no one left
    To speak out for me.

  36. raven says

    Jim Balter the idiot troll:

    It takes effort to be this dumb.

    The voice of experience here.
    It’s obvious your hobby is insulting random people on line with no other point.
    It’s also obvious you are a dumb troll.

    A monument to shallow self-centeredness.

    An insult but routine and showing zero thought behind it.
    You aren’t a monument to anything.
    You’ve at least let the world know you are a brainless troll so they can save whole seconds of valuable time ignoring your hostile but mindless personality.

  37. says

    The most obvious thing about raven’s comment is that they don’t actually believe a word of it … it’s pure emotive and immature reaction. My insults actually had substance and came with reasoning. Sad, really, but raven isn’t the point … the point is about twitter and how wrong stupid shallow dishonest thinkers like that are in what they say about it.

  38. says

    Jim Balter@#45:
    Some extraordinarily arrogant intellectually dishonest people like MR will forever be proudly ignorant.

    What about my comment was ignorant or intellectually dishonest?

    He isn’t buying it for its monetary value.

    No shit, I was asking rhetorically. I understand how market valuations work. But, if you want to take my comment literally, why don’t you explain how we should calculate the value of name recognition? [“what the market will bear” isn’t good enough]

    User-load as a metric for value of social media sites kinda took a hit when Myspace sold.

  39. StevoR says

    @45. Jim Balter :

    This is only 20% of his net worth and still leaves him with vast wealth that will continue to grow.

    Time traveller are you? Or prophet? We don’t know yet if Musk’s wealth will continue to grow or if this might mark his high point and the start of his decline. The start of a backlash against him, maybe investigations into his companies and behaviour, maybe unions getting more active and empowered, who knows? Maybe Musk’s wealth will keep rising. Or maybe it won’t.

  40. PaulBC says

    Is there any news on what executive position (if any) Musk will taken in the acquired Twitter? It’s still a publicly traded company. I don’t see an announcement of plans to fire the CEO (doesn’t mean it won’t happen). Using personal wealth on this scale looks unprecedented to me (is it?). Somebody more clever than Musk could probably accomplish a takeover without footing the bill out of pocket, but that’s not his point I know. He loves throwing around his weight foolishly.

    It’s not like he’s buying a hardware store and can just start ordering employees to clear certain items from the shelves and stock others. His ownership power will be going through other people who believe they are the ones with power, unless he carries out a purge.

    He’s obviously not doing this for any rational business reason. I wouldn’t trust him to make additional decisions in the interest, employees, shareholders, or customers of Twitter. I can’t predict that this will be a complete disaster that destroys Twitter, already getting long in the tooth, but that strikes me as the most likely outcome.

  41. PaulBC says

    Nvm. I see that he’s taking Twitter private, which I guess is the only possible outcome of a purchase like this. So it’s irrelevant to everyone else whether it’s a good “investment” after the purchase completes.

  42. nomdeplume says

    Well, Mastodon is not the easiest platform to log into. I managed to follow PZ, then am again unable to log in. Two days now of glitches. Probably just my fault.

  43. StevoR says

    Incidentally, news article just seen on Aussie ABC here :

    But this time, even his most ardent supporters have their doubts. … (snip – very long snip) .. He may be worth more than $367 billion, but his net worth is based almost entirely upon the sky-high valuation of Tesla.

    As we’ve seen in recent weeks, overvalued technology outfits such as Netflix — which plunged 38 per cent overnight last week — can suddenly unravel when things don’t go exactly to plan.

    Source : https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-27/elon-musk-purchase-of-twitter-raises-concerns/101017334

  44. John Morales says

    StevoR, I saw that. Kinda silly article.

    I mean, if his wealth dropped by 99%, he’d still be a billionaire.

    The post title says it all.

    Spend a bit on one’s hobby, why not?

  45. says

    Time traveller are you? Or prophet?
    Maybe Musk’s wealth will keep rising. Or maybe it won’t.

    Maybe there is a God. Or maybe there isn’t. Maybe the sun will rise tomorrow, Or maybe it won’t.

    Does one have to be a time traveler or prophet to weigh evidence and make inferences from it? No, one merely need not be a intellectually dishonest cretin like StevoR.

  46. says

    @Jim Balter
    Maybe when you can do it without your non-literal reference you’ll have something worthwhile.

    My literary reference to Voltaire?

    The stupid is too thick here.

  47. StevoR says

    @62. Jim Balter : Quick to insult peopel aren’t you? What about my point here was either dishonest or “cretinous” in your view specifically and why?

    The questions of the sun rising or the existence of god are rather different in nature and scope to that of whether a single rich individual will keep getting richer or not. Are you implying that Musk is analogous to God or our daytime star?

    Do you think it as equally certain that Musk will always grow a larger fortune rather than face a possible collapse or decline or even plateau or give away wealth to the extent his wealth no longer keeps increasing – or succumbs to simple mortality?

    @63. Jim Balter : To who?

    Not only was “Voltaire” the pen name for François-Marie Arouet but your rudely unattributed reference (#48) is to German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller’s “First they came …” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came_… ) which is kinda ironic since it is about people not speaking out against disadvantaged or demonised groups being attacked rather than taking action to stop the rise of powerful fasicistic reichwingers.

    I don’t really see the relevance since right wing extremists like the former POTUS and the Repugs and other hate-mongers are hardly disadvantaged or demonised rather they are the one’s doing that and Musk is – potentially at least – empowering the bullies over their victims. Niemöller’s famous lines seems more an admonition against Musk and his twitter takeover than support for it.

    @49. Jim Balter : Just because something is “based on” something doesn’t make it the same. A whole lot of things were based on the HG Well’s 1898 War of the Worlds novel but that doesn’t make the same or as consequential or as good. Now, ok, art is subjective but then you could also say that a Therizinosaur is “based on” a theropod eg T-Rex type body plan (they evolved form common ancestors) but that doesn’t make them the same things at all! The differences are significant just as the diferences between Mastodon and Gab or (mis)Truth social are.

  48. StevoR says

    @ 61. John Morales : I mean, if his wealth dropped by 99%, he’d still be a billionaire.

    True but a billionaire with a lot less $$$ and clout than before.

    The post title says it all. Spend a bit on one’s hobby, why not?

    Because ethics and the idea of making the world worse rather than better for others?

    Becauses definitions and values of “a bit” and “hobby” vary.

    Because the “hobby” in question is causing issues for a lot of other people? Is that not obvs?

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