In a New York Times guest essay, MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes claimed that “in less than a month” all of his “worst fears have been realized” regarding how new Twitter owner Elon Musk has managed his new social media platform.
Hayes claimed that Musk “courted some of the worst trolls” on Twitter, scared off advertisers and cut staff handling basic functions of the platforms.
Hayes also expressed concern that under Musk, the platform “might break and stop working altogether.”
Hayes began his guest essay by describing Musk’s handling of Twitter as a “near death experience,” if not the end of it. He wrote: “If Twitter survives – and I fervently hope it does – its near-death experience has revealed something fundamental about our online lives: the digital spaces of public life, the ‘public town square’ as Mr. Musk called Twitter, have privatized, to our collective detriment.”
He criticized the richest man in the world for taking the company private, contrary to the wishes of the previous owner, Jack Dorsey. He said: “Before Musk bought Twitter, co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey said of the platform that no one should own it, that it ‘wants to be a public good at the protocol level’.”
He went on to praise Twitter ahead of Musk as “an arena where something similar to the global conversation took place.” He added, “it was the closest we’ve come to executing the core vision of what the global city square could look like.”
He continued, “That’s why there was so much concern when Mr. Musk bought the site: no one should have all that power.”
Hayes then issued a blistering condemnation of Musk’s dealings with the platform. He wrote, “In less than a month, almost all of the worst fears have manifested.” Listing them, he said: “He has anxiously courted some of the worst trolls, has advertisers on the run en masse, and has cut staff so radically that simple features like two-factor authentication sometimes stop working and risk simply breaking. .” quit and stop working altogether.”
Hayes then gave a disparaging description of why Musk bought the platform, writing, “Mr. Musk bought Twitter because he is a Twitter addict and, more specifically, an extreme online attention addict.”
Hayes continued to denigrate the billionaire, saying “This is someone with millions of followers who is deep in the bowels of his own replies and mentions and clearly spends an inordinate amount of time watching what people say about him.”
He added: “I can tell you from experience that this is a path to madness – although it is a path that the design of Twitter and other social networks gently leads you down.”
Hayes claimed that after purchasing Musk, “the site felt like a family saying goodbye to a beloved but very problematic uncle.” He also accused Musk of making “the most expensive impulse purchase in human history”.
“It’s fitting, in its own chaotic way,” he stated.
He concluded his essay on a negative note: “The most successful capitalist in the world has, by at least one measure, made the most definitive case for the rejection of private property from the public sphere that we have seen in a very long time. ” He then mocked Musk, using his own catchphrase: “Let that sink in.”