By Em Barry
With the initial launch of Twitter Blue going so poorly, Elon Musk made the executive decision to relaunch the feature at a new date (postponed from November 29, 2022). Twitter Blue, launched after Musk purchased Twitter, is a subscription service that will allow users to purchase a verified checkmark for $7.99 a month in an attempt to make up for funding from lost advertisers. Many users took to making fake parody accounts of well-known companies such as Nintendo, Tesla, and more. These parody accounts caused a lot of confusion for users who couldn’t determine parodies from the legitimate accounts. One parody account of the company Eli Lilly, a medical company that produces insulin, made a Tweet stating that insulin would be free and is suspected to have caused the company to lose $15 billion on their stock.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the only executive decision Musk has made since purchasing the social media platform. Early on in his acquisition of the platform, Musk laid off half of Twitter’s employees and accepted at least a thousand more resignations from other employees. Despite these intense layoffs, Musk insists on pushing forward with the relaunch of Twitter Blue. He also announced the reinstatement of Donald Trump and Kanye West’s Twitter accounts, two figures who are notorious for racist and inflammatory Tweets.
Musk has been pushing the idea of free speech by publishing the Twitter Files, internal documents from employees regarding moderation of content on Twitter since he first acquired the company. However, in doing so, Musk has allowed known racists to continue spreading hateful messages on the platform. It’s evident that the acquisition of the social media platform has bolstered his sense of invulnerability. These decisions raise questions about where those who run social media sites should draw the line of free speech. However, allowing public figures with large platforms to spew racist and hateful messages in the name of “free speech” is only asking for trouble.
Overall, the decisions that Musk has been making have created a lot of controversy within many different online communities. Though only time will be able to tell what ramifications his actions will have on the platform as a whole.