Elon Musk locked his Twitter account to test complaints from right-wing power users
Right-wing Twitter is furious about plummeting engagement on the social media platform, which has prompted CEO Elon Musk to spring into action.
Whether it’s Chaya Raichik from Libs of TikTok, Ian Miles Cheong or Ben Shapiro, conservative activists are complaining their online voices are once again being unfairly silenced.
This time however, it was happening under Musk, a self-described free speech absolutist who was keen to tempt back right-wing pundits who ditched Twitter for platforms like Truth Social, Parler, and Gab.
To erase any doubts he may secretly be shadowbanning alt-right commentators in a bid to claw back Tesla share value which has nosedived since his Twitter takeover, he is reaching out to them personally to admit something has indeed gone very wrong.
“This is extremely concerning,” Musk replied to Cheong on Tuesday, who had recommended his half million followers set their account to private in order to “vastly improve” their engagement.
Typically, doing so ought to actually limit engagement, but the former editor-in-chief of video game site Gameranx claimed it actually quintupled his reach by disabling Twitter’s presumed left-leaning algorithms.
Raichik subsequently locked her Libs of TikTok account, which often satirizes Gen Z instructional videos on so-called neopronoun use, with Shapiro following as well.
The Daily Wire co-founder soon found out from political bedfellow Jordan Peterson that the Canadian psychologist could no longer retweet anything Shapiro had posted.
A worried Musk then decided the best way to find out if there was any truth to the theory was to test it out on his own personal account. He later claimed it indeed helped identify unspecified issues with the system.
“Should be addressed by next week,” he tweeted reassuringly late on Wednesday.
The controversy occurred only days after conservative pundit David Rubin from "The Rubin Report" personally met with Musk at Twitter HQ to find out why his account seemed to be “absolutely crushed”.
He explained Musk felt the entire code may need to be torn down in order to start from scratch since, in the entrepreneur’s own words, the situation is a “flaming dumpster rolling down the street”.
Plummeting engagement, possibly an inadvertent result of Musk trying to deliver on his promise of amplifying postings from his paying Twitter Blue subscribers, has been aggravating users in recent days.
But the result of Musk being forced to performatively experiment on himself after sacking more than half of Twitter’s staff was rather predictably met with online schadenfreude.
“I’m just floored,” wrote one user on Wednesday. “All these far-right accounts locking their Twitter down because they believe it drives more interactions due to a bug is both the greatest and the funniest thing I’ve seen on this site.”
In a story entitled “Elon Musk and Right-Wing Friends Do Us a Favor By Hiding Their Tweets”, publication Rolling Stone wrote that Twitter’s “right-wing power users” were once again complaining of unfair treatment—now visited upon them by their own presumed ally.
“The right wants, more than almost anything to prove they are victims of Big Tech censorship,” it wrote.
The delicate nature of this engagement controversy just goes to show how prescient The Verge’s editor-in-chief Nilay Patel was when he predicted on October 28th Musk was in for a “miserable experience” at Twitter now that he was in the business of moderating content.
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com
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