How Elon Musk's War Over Twitter Proves Web3 Is Needed

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1 year ago

Elon Musk has declared war on anyone who doesn’t like him.

As you know, in October, Musk purchased Twitter for $44 million after spending months trying to renege on the deal he publicly announced earlier this year. Several celebrities then left Twitter in a huff.

Before the purchase, Musk referred to himself as a “free speech absolutist.” He subsequently referred to Twitter as a “free speech zone” and wrote a letter to advertisers explaining that Twitter will not be a “free-for-all-hellscape.” In another tweet, he explained that free speech means not going beyond the bounds of the law.

Unfortunately, Musk has been inconsistent in his messaging. He banned comedienne Kathy Griffin for satirizing him. In November he said he wouldn’t ban an account that tracks and tweets the location of his private jet. He recently overturned that position and banned the account, unbanned it, then banned it again. He can’t make up his mind.

After several journalists linked to the banned ElonJet account on Mastodon and Facebook, Musk kicked those journalists off Twitter. His justifications for doing so include so-called threats to his own physical safety—he’s called the exact coordinates to his jet as “assassination coordinates"—and doxxing.

After clashing with journalists on Twitter Spaces to defend his move to ban the ElonJet account, Musk went on to disable Twitter Spaces.

He’s not acting like a free speech absolutist, but more like a Russian Czar.

Twitter has also blocked links to rival social media platform Mastodon from appearing in user profiles, referring to those links as “malware.” Twitter went on to suspend Mastodon’s Twitter account.

What’s going on here?

At first glance, it appears that Elon Musk is bullying users and acting like a petulant child. On the other hand, journalists can be unruly and petulant themselves. Plus, it’s been firmly established that most journalists are liberal or more liberal than the general public, but that bias doesn’t generally affect the stories journalists choose to cover. Even if these reports are untrue, there is a general perception among news consumers that journalists and journalistic organizations have a liberal bias. Former President Donald Trump spent four years calling CNN “fake news” simply for doing what CNN has always done—reporting the news from its liberal-leaning perspective. Too bad it was unfavorable to Trump.

It appears that Twitter, and Musk, has jumped into the culture war that has burned through the American Empire for 50 years. The heat’s only grown hotter.

When it comes to media, even social media, user perception is reality. Is Musk biased? Are those bans biased? Are the bans justified?

The truth is nuanced. Probably, everyone involved is biased and playing into the biases of their opposition, which proves that centralization can’t solve the problems it wants to solve. Twitter isn’t bad; Musk isn’t bad; those he opposes and who oppose him aren’t bad (well, not all of them). Each is attempting to exercise their rights while disrespecting the rights of those with whom they disagree. What’s the answer to this conundrum?

Decentralization.

On a decentralized platform like Hive, everyone can have their say and no one can ban, shadowban, delete, or limit the expressions of anyone else. Consequently, no one could accuse someone of doing those things unjustly because it simply isn’t possible. Of course, widespread access to a decentralized platform where banning and account deletions aren’t possible would undoubtedly lead to illegal and reprehensible activity. In that case, the community and the law take over. The downvote button is there for a reason.

Humans have always had differences. Every two-legged creature has enemies. When one achieves a level of power that can unjustly push another aside, that results in an imbalance. That imbalance can be deflected by ensuring no one has absolute power. The U.S. Constitution accomplished that by embedding separation of powers into its core principles. That, in effect, is what decentralization is all about.

Web3 is the solution the problems brought about by the rise of Web2.

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Cryptocracy is a decentralized newsletter published several times a week. I curate the latest news and crypto analysis from some of the brightest minds in crypto, and sometimes offer a little insightful and snarky commentary. Always fresh, always interesting, and always crypto. Original articles on Fridays.

First published at Cryptocracy. Not to be construed as financial advice. Do your own research.

 

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