This conflict marked Musk’s first appearance and rise on the global geopolitical stage. He gave his support to Ukraine, breaking the tradition of business leaders to remain neutral on political matters for fear of angering some of their customers or losing access to key markets.
But Musk sees global issues as part of his mandate, as someone who wants to change civilization as we know it.
Since the takeover of Twitter, the de facto city square of our time, a lot of passion has been unleashed. Everyone is waiting left and right to see what the content moderation policy will be. In short, which tweets are acceptable and which are not.
After the capital events of January 6, 2021, many platforms tightened their policies on acceptable content due to political pressure from individual use and civil rights associations.
As part of the shift, Twitter banned former President Donald Trump at the time along with reports of right-wing extremists and conspiracy theory movements.
“Following a thorough review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around it – in particular how they are received and interpreted on and off Twitter – we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement to violence,” Twitter said.
said on January 8, 2021 when it implemented the permanent ban.
Musk, who describes himself as a “free speech absolutist,” says he opposes permanent bans and has therefore pledged to reactivate Trump’s account in particular.
In response, advertisers have recently expressed fears that the platform will once again turn into a hellish landscape. About a dozen advertisers asked ad-buyer GroupM to suspend their ads on Twitter in the event that Donald Trump’s account was reactivated, according to the Wall Street Journal.
General Motors has temporarily suspended its ads on the social network Twitter, a spokesperson told TheStreet.
“We are working with Twitter to understand the direction of the platform under their new ownership,” said David Caldwell, a GM spokesperson. “As is normal business with a major media platform change, we have temporarily paused our paid advertising.”
Musk promised advertisers on Oct. 27 that there will be consequences for who crosses the lines on Twitter. He has established a council responsible for setting content policies, but no decision will be made before the midterm elections scheduled for Nov. 8, Musk has assured.
“Twitter, of course, cannot become a free hell, where everything can be said without consequences!” he wrote to advertisers.
However, the billionaire now seems to be stuck in a course. This can be a challenge for advertisers. Musk just ran a poll on Twitter asking users to vote on whether advertisers should support free speech or political correctness.
Essentially, he was trying to make it clear that the companies that decide to suspend their ads once he implements his free speech content policy will have chosen political correctness. He gave no third option, to say clearly that the moment of neutrality was over. It is the beginning of a new era. An era in which, in the matter of freedom of expression, every individual and every company must take sides.
The poll, which opened on Nov. 2, drew more than 2.75 million voters. The gap in the end result was overwhelming. 78% of people voted that companies should support free speech.
Musk and polls
The billionaire has not yet commented on the poll results. But the poll results give Musk the legitimacy he needs to pursue the policies he has often spoken for: free speech above all else.
The mogul uses Twitter polls as a key data point for big decisions. In March, he asked users for their thoughts on the future of Twitter. A few days later, he made an offer to buy the social network for $44 billion.
The sale of his Tesla stock a year ago is another example showing that he is adopting this process of legitimization.
Advertisers and businesses have been warned.