I am in awe of social media.
I was as chronically online as a teenager could be throughout my middle and high school years. While much of the internet can be incredibly psychologically damaging, there is no denying its power.
So, it concerns me that Elon Musk bought a platform with that kind of power with the same impulse control that I exercise when I see a sweater that I like at Target – which is to say no impulse control at all.
The spread of misinformation in this country is appalling. Last week, far too many people claiming the 2020 election was stolen were elected to political office. School boards are grappling with hysteria and banning books that affirm the experiences of queer people and people of color.
A right-wing propaganda network pollutes the hearts and minds of too many people while claiming to be “news.” And the same great tool that helps me keep up with old friends and make new ones can create a horrible environment of disinformation and hate speech.
And, thanks to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the companies who manage these platforms are rarely — if ever — held accountable for the content that is spread through their services.
Elon Musk understands social media's power and what he can gain from it. He’s a Reddit guy. He saw firsthand how the "r/wallstreetbets" GameStop saga short-circuited the stock market.
That’s what scares me about this whole blue check thing. Aside from being a blatant money grab and a terrible business model, all of his talk about the check mark being a “great leveler” when it is behind a simple $8 per month paywall covers up the real outcome of this move.
It makes the ethos of being an “official” account available to whoever wants to make a bunch of bots to influence the market at a low flat rate.