Elon Musk has transformed Twitter into a haven for right-wing political leaders
Ron DeSantis is set to kick off his 2024 presidential campaign in a Twitter Spaces event alongside Musk.
Twitter has long been described as a hell site. But under Elon Musk, Twitter has evolved into a platform that is indistinguishable from alternative social-media sites such as Truth Social and Parler. It is now a right-wing social network.
As a public figure, Musk has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the right’s culture war against progressivism – which he describes as “the woke mind virus” – and his $44 billion Twitter purchase can easily be seen as a political act to advance this specific ideology. Now the site itself has unquestionably transformed under his leadership into an alternative social-media platform – one that offers a haven to far-right influencers and advances the interests and conspiracy theories of the right wing.
Yesterday (May 23rd), NBC News reported that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is slated to kick off his 2024 presidential campaign in a Twitter Spaces event with Musk. Twitter, quite literally, is a launch pad for right-wing political leaders. Also yesterday, The Daily Wire, the conservative-media platform that is home to Ben Shapiro as well as Matt Walsh, who are known for arguing against trans rights, announced it would bring its podcasts to Twitter starting next week. And earlier this month, the former Fox News host Tucker Carlson announced that he would take his prime-time-show format to Musk’s platform.
Both Carlson and certain Daily Wire hosts have been de-platformed elsewhere – Carlson, of course, only recently lost his spot on primetime TV, and Walsh had his popular YouTube channel demonetised over his transphobic commentary. And although they reportedly haven’t confirmed official deals with the platform, Carlson and The Daily Wire will likely make use of Twitter’s new subscription features and ad-revenue sharing to monetise their audiences.
Twitter is essentially following in the footsteps of platforms like Rumble, which used to be the go-tos for cancelled and de-platformed right-wingers seeking revenue, most famously Andrew Tate. The move makes sense. In just a few months, Musk has actively worked to elevate a particular right-wing, anti-woke ideology. He has reinstated legions of accounts that were previously banned for violating Twitter’s rules, including a number of white nationalists. Musk’s own rhetoric has moved from trolling to dog-whistling to promoting conspiracies, and it has intensified in recent months, culminating in his recent anti-Semitic remarks about George Soros. A stroll through Musk’s replies on the site reveals the extent to which one of the richest men in the world spends his time replying to far-right influencers and giving the thumbs up in reaction to their racist memes. Recently, Musk came under fire for coming to the defence of disgraced author Scott Adams, who claimed that African Americans constitute “a hate group.” In response to the comment, newspapers across the US stopped printing Adams’ long-running comic strip, Dilbert – but Musk saw nothing wrong with the comment.
Twitter has so fully assumed the role of a far-right platform that it might be killing its competitors. When Parler shut down in April, its parent company noted that “no reasonable person believes that a Twitter clone just for conservatives is a viable business any more.” Despite Elon Musk claiming that the platform is breaking even (let’s be honest, it’s probably not), there’s nothing more that would be more damaging to its revenue than it becoming an echo chamber for the far right. And following Musk’s most recent activity, it’s well on its way if it isn’t already.