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E69: What does Elon Musk really want with Twitter?

Summary:
On October 27, Elon Musk took over Twitter in a 44-billion-dollar deal. The world's richest man promised to make the platform’s content moderation rules less arbitrary, more transparent, and to make the “digital town square” a haven for free speech. Since then, it’s been an eventful few weeks. Half of the company's staff was fired, impersonators took advantage of a new account policy to sow chaos and confusion, prominent accounts were banned and unbanned. And regulators – and even other Big Tech companies like Apple – are threatening to clamp down on Twitter due to concerns about hate speech. Some argue that these are just the growing pains of a platform in dire need of change and that oligarchs with a commitment to free speech like Musk are preferable to those with arbitrary and

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On October 27, Elon Musk took over Twitter in a 44-billion-dollar deal.



The world's richest man promised to make the platform’s content moderation rules less arbitrary, more transparent, and to make the “digital town square” a haven for free speech.



Since then, it’s been an eventful few weeks. Half of the company's staff was fired, impersonators took advantage of a new account policy to sow chaos and confusion, prominent accounts were banned and unbanned. And regulators – and even other Big Tech companies like Apple – are threatening to clamp down on Twitter due to concerns about hate speech.



Some argue that these are just the growing pains of a platform in dire need of change and that oligarchs with a commitment to free speech like Musk are preferable to those with arbitrary and opaque moderation (or censorship) policies. Others say that Musk’s “commitment” to free speech is nothing but smoke and mirrors hiding a right-wing agenda, or that he’s just a mercurial billionaire with no grand plan at all. Still others – among them our own Yanis Varoufakis – see Musk as the latest member of a new ruling class, eager to turn us into 21st-century serfs using the power of cloud capital.



What’s the truth? Varoufakis, Juliana Zita, Mehran Khalili, and the rest of our panel debate. Join us live and send us your questions and comments!



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#elonmusk #twitter #democracy
Yanis Varoufakis
An accidental economist Let me begin with a confession: I am a Professor of Economics who has never really trained as an economist. But let’s take things one at a time.

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