The takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk is looking a little shaky this morning and that may be putting it mildly. Twitter’s stock prices declined in the past 24 hours rather than climbing in speculation of the buyout. This seems to signal a lack of faith among shareholders that the deal would happen. Questions are also being raised as to whether Musk can actually come up with the cash to make good on his offer. He’s the richest man in the world, but most of his wealth is tied up in Tesla stock, a significant portion of which he has already locked up as collateral for loans. And as Allahpundit pointed out yesterday, we still can’t be 100% sure whether he’s really serious about doing this or if it might turn out to be “a way to own the libs by pulling off the most audacious and expensive edgelord stunt of all time.”
So what if this turns out to be much ado about nothing? If Musk really wants to become a player in the social media jungle but he can’t take over Twitter, Gab CEO Andrew Torba has an alternate offer for him. Instead of “unlocking the potential of Twitter,” dump a couple of billion dollars into Gab and unlock its potential instead.
Twitter has legacy problems that Gab doesn’t. They are fully dependent on third-party infrastructure. We are not. We “built our own,” everything. Hosting, email services, analytics tools, ecommerce, payment processing, all of it. We built it all.
You also have to consider that bringing free speech to Twitter isn’t as simple as buying it. Apple and Google do not allow free speech, so if you stop the censorship they will kick Twitter from both app stores. We already solved that problem and overcame it…
I am willing to offer you a Board seat along with equity in the company in exchange for you selling your Twitter position and investing $2B into Gab. My offer is my best and final offer.
Gab has extraordinary potential. Let’s unlock it together.
Despite this sounding like a rather unhelpful proposal, Torba makes a couple of points that are worth consideration. The biggest of these is the fact that Twitter has a lot of backup in terms of limiting free speech. Gab found that out the hard way when it was kicked out of the major app stores. The same could happen to Twitter if Musk doesn’t continue to allow them to squelch conservative voices and block “misinformation.” He’s also concerned that ISPs are getting ready to block Gab as well. (His solution is for Starlink to handle that issue with Musk’s participation and blessing.)
As we’ve discussed here previously, the free speech issue is much bigger than just Twitter. As long as radical liberal ideology continues to dominate the tech sector, the same people will continue to maintain their grip on how speech is defined. Their methods are both odious and obvious. They define almost anything they disagree with as “hate speech.” Opinions that don’t toe the line with the current narrative, even from respected scientists and scholars, are labeled as “misinformation.” Any time some snowflake claims that someone else’s speech has hurt their feelings, it’s treated as actual “harm” or “verbal violence.” And those people are banned. If Twitter doesn’t do the banning, Google or Apple (or both) will do it for them.
Also, at least as I see it, Musk moving to Gab, which already arguably has the most free speech you could ask for, doesn’t really solve anything. Twitter would still be there like the toad at the garden party. Musk’s participation might drive a number of new people to sign up for Gab accounts, but do you really think they would all actually leave Twitter? (I’ve had a Gab account since the first couple of weeks when it came online. I don’t think I’ve even looked at it in over a year.) I can’t imagine it suddenly turning Twitter into a ghost town. And if the only way to access Gab turned out to be Starlink, participation would be significantly limited.
Meanwhile, the progressive forces in the media are sounding the alarm about Musk’s threat to the current narrative and rallying the troops against him. Check out how the Associated Press is setting the stage in terms of how everyone should talk about Musk. Here are a couple of choice cuts from the article.
Twitter, like other social media platforms, suspends accounts for violating content standards, including on violence, hate speech or harmful misinformation. Its suspension of Donald Trump angered the former president’s followers…
By saying Twitter is not living up to its potential to be a “platform for free speech,” he seems to be saying he would scale back content moderation…
Social-media companies struggle to contain misinformation and hate speech. Musk, whose tweets can lead online bullies to swarm his critics online, does not seem keen on content moderation.
There’s plenty more where that comes from. The same theme is being repeated all over the place. If you don’t support the narrative, you must be silenced online in the name of preventing “violence, hate speech, and dangerous misinformation.” And you’re somehow wreaking all of this destruction by typing a few sentences in an online post that absolutely nobody even has to see unless they bother to follow you. (Or fail to unfollow you.) The wheels have come off in the world of social media and I don’t know that anything can be done about it. I admire Musk’s willingness to try, but he may have underestimated the liberal army that is rushing to stop him.