Elon Musk Takes Twitter, and Tech Deals, to Another Level

Oct 28, 2022 · 634 comments
Bobby Digital (PNW)
I’ve been lucky to have never owned a Twitter account. I deleted (not deactivated) Facebook and Instagram in July of 2020. The best decision I made that year. Now here I am commenting on the New York Times. At least when I make an explosive inflammatory comment on here it doesn’t get published.
Robert (Out West)
At the risk of mentioning reality to the disciples of the First Church of Elon, the people who founded this country were not gazillionaire entrepreneurs, unless of course you count the kings and queens who financed the likes of the cinquistadores. John Locke, without whose ideas we wouldn’t be here, was a doctor and philosopher who never had much. Thomas Paine was a wandering troublemaker who died poor and alone. Adams? Middle-class farmer and lawyer. Washington, Jefferson, Madison? Gentlemen farmers who depended on slavery, like the other wealthy men who signed the Declaration. Sam Adams? DISASTrous businessman. Franklin? Professional writer. The robber baron types didn’t even appear until the transcontinental railroads and the rise of steel, late in Lincoln’s life. They’re industrialists, not inventors and not builders. Musk is a lot more like Henry Ford than them. And by the way, O Acolytes of Capitalism, the first and arguably still greatest theorist of capitalism—its inventor, you might say—was Adam Smith. A college prof, who studied philosophy and what became economics. Adams thought (as had Plato) that oligarchy was an inherent problem in democracy, and must at all costs be checked. By government regulation, because otherwise that fab free market would very quickly go rotten. And because it was easier for many to worship the wealthy than to be free. So while you’re throwing Elon your undies…
James Wackenhut (Burlington Iowa)
What seperates this from a Hearst, McCormick. Murdock or Bloomberg? He will be trying to shove aside other oligarchs at the trough and vying for influence. The number of tech marks and conservatives who think he is a free speech savior are not insignificant in number but their influence on him his zilch. Are we to believe herr is here to help Republicans at no profit to himself- blue areas being significantly more wealthy. Or is he just running some some carny graft and testing the waters to see if the current crop of conservatives can get cucked just as essily by him as rhey were by Trump in 2016?
MP (New England)
So will MAGA suddenly embrace electric cars now that they're huffing the Musk?
JRP (Warsaw, Poland)
Musk always struck me as an extra terrestrial being: his demeanour, his visionary intelligence, his single minded focus on the future, his disregard for human emotions, his obsession with science and technology. He has surprised us by achieving things deemed impossible: an electric car run by software, a reusable rocket chartered by the us government, satellite internet spanning the globe…Think of tweeter as a platform for global communications, could be an abject failure or a become a planetary force. Does it really matter if you are paying with overvalued stock or if you believe the colonisation of Mars will begin in your life time? Not really. It s all a video game after all…
Miss Marple (New Zealand)
I think he'll make a success of it as long as he sticks within company regulations and doesn't get set up to say something that advertisers or users don't want. You can't please all of the people all of the time so some people will just have to reign themselves in and realise rules regulate society and most people want that. I think his Twitter name, Elon Musk, with the blue tick next to it, has had an increase of about 2 million followers since he bought twitter. And Optimus the robot has had a small increase in followers. Tweet name, Chief Executive Optimus. He knows about automation because of his car companies and robots, so hopefully he'll set up his own army of robots to get rid of bot automation from enemies of democracy, like the Russian Wagner group who'd like to see him fail because it's because of his invention, Starlink, that all Ukraine didn't get annexed to Russia in the early stages of the war.
JC (Nevada)
It’s a happy day if you believe in freedom of speech!
Alphonse Sanchez (MD)
Goodbye Twitter!
Tony (Dallas, Texas)
Big whoopie. Guy paid billions for an overused message board.
Slann (CA)
There's no "perhaps" about, arrogance is their common trait.
Bill young (Kamloops bc canada)
How arrogant the comments are,here is a man in this day and age with little money who built a electric car company from virtually nothing to the benefit of other companys that are stealing his technology with no repercussions,who has filed no patents on his creations for all to use,who built a spaceship company to further advance our civilization that in 100 yrs could be the determination of our existence when we are settled on MARS and then to the STARS if we survive that long,and along the way he's building robots,the arrogance you have when you defame him for trying different projects to make money not for his pocket but to invest in mankind's future....WHAT DID YOU DO IN THE LAST 30 DAYS.....and then to purchase a company to allow freedom of speech whether you agree with it or not so that every one has a voice in stead of being censured for being truth full...and then to blame him for not providing what the governments job is...THE ARROGANCE AND JEALOUSY ASSTONDS ME....
cassandra (somewhere)
Turn all these too-powerful companies into sovereign funds--for the benefit of all the American people. Right now we are under the specter of "inverted totalitarianism." Google Sheldon Wolin for an explanation of that term. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_totalitarianism If you think government was the "big brother" bad guy, wait till you see how total control will be executed by corporations over everyone & everything on this planet.
Futbolistaviva (SF, CA)
Musk should give twitter to his 10 kids and ex-wives and girlfriends. Kind of like what Trump did with our governement. What could go wrong.
J Schmidt (New York)
No one really being in control of Twitter before was precisely the problem with it. No flexibility. No growth. No innovation. Jack has repeatedly said that his biggest regret was taking the company public.
Mo Lee (Arizona)
Well-written and thoughtful, though clearly taking a position against Musk. Why blame the billionaire? We should ask ourselves why we aren’t a millionaire/billionaire ourselves. Why is there only one Twitter? We should be pointing the finger at our federal government, who continues to reduce competition and give cheap money to corporations and banks around the world. Elon and Jeff at hard-working geniuses who are also taking full advantage of the system that partially shields them from more competition.
Why is it that so many who are outraged by Big Oil, Big Pharma, corporate America in general, or a particular political party nonetheless give a pass to -- even admire -- such a huge threat as Elon Musk? One person worth 1/4 trillion (yes, trillion with a T) dollars is more of a danger to America than are all the trolling Twitterati put together, as well as Twitter itself. If he should decide to spend his money opposing abortion, supporting restrictive voting laws, or buying an AK47 for every member of the Republican Party, there is nothing to stop him. With his money Musk can actually finance Russia's effort to take over much of Ukraine, which Musk has advocated. But that's nothing compared to the influence (i.e. bought politicians, businesses, clergy) he can wield over the life of everyday Americans. Whether it's elections, zoning variances, or laws and regulations to advance his own whims, fantasies, and economic interests, he can buy them. With chump change. An example of how Musk operates: in New Mexico, for instance, Tesla has moved onto Pueblo land, so as to avoid having to obey state laws and regulations. I have no interest in addicting, often destructive, gossip-promoting vehicles, such as Twitter. Those who are interested can fight it out among themselves. Twitter is simply an inevitable aspect of the world's one truly democratic weapon of mass destruction: the internet.
@HOOZON FIRST To those who think the solution is to raise taxes I would ask how you would go about accomplishing that, inasmuch as most (not all!!) members of Congress are politically owned by the zillionaires? It's a nice aspirational idea but, in the real world, you need to lay out how such can actually be done. One thing about the socio-political Right is that they learned how to create a playbook for the long game and then successfully adhered to it.
@HOOZON FIRST To those who think the solution is to raise taxes I would ask how you would go about accomplishing that, inasmuch as most (not all!!) members of Congress are politically owned by the zillionaires? It's a nice aspirational idea but, in the real world, you need to lay out how such can actually be done. One thing about the socio-political Right is that they learned how to create a playbook for the long game and then successfully adhered to it. There aint no free lunch. If you want to make real change, you will have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Whether it's Twitter or a new Lexus which enable Musk, clothes, Apple products, and music which enable Kanye West, or Mike Lindell's pillows, unless you are willing to take one for the team, you are just blowing smoke.
Ernest Z (Sacramento CA)
“That’s the problem with having a single individual own a company that has such a profound impact on our politics, culture and society.” Musk, or anyone else, has that “profound impact” only and solely because we, the people, allow it. We give them that power by our choice. They have no inherent control - none. That means we also have the power to revoke it. We simply need to ask, what kind of world do we want?
David Anderson (Chicago, IL)
It’s simple. When you encounter someone like Musk, and you don’t want to do business with him, don’t do business with him.
N Chevy (nyc)
The perceived influence of Twitter is completely overblown. The reason that media outlets attribute this outsized influence to it is simply because every journalist and politician uses it. It is not influential in itself. 240million people?! please... In today's world, that's not a lot. It is, in essence, old school media trying to hang on, desperately, to whatever influence they still have.
Ralph Petrillo (NYC)
If you don’t raise taxes on billionaires they will own 95% of the wealth in the next decade. The democracy will become an oligopoly thst only helps a few. In 20 years then oligopoly will be a monopoly Raise taxes on billionaires and raise taxes on hedge funds.
A2Dave (Ann Arbor, MI)
So now we are officially in the era of the American Oligarchy, which bodes very badly for our democracy. Concentration of power and wealth, and that is the process we have watched since Ronald Reagan and, subsequently, Citizens United. With the current SCOTUS, there may be little or nothing that can be done to stop the inertial forces pushing our country (and the West--check out the UK) toward the brink. The Roman Senators who assassinated Caesar were the leaders of the landed patriarchy, aka Roman oligarchs, not republicans. You know--Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, etc., etc.
David (Pacific)
just another step in the direction of complete plutocracy. 2024 may be the last "traditional" election this country sees.
Peter B (Charlotte)
One reason the media hypes Twitter far beyond its actual importance is that journalists are among the most prolific tweeters in their relentless effort to "build their brands" using this marvelous, free self-promo platform. Yet being political ideologues themselves -- or at least a great many of them them -- the scribes constantly warn us of the "threat to democracy" by Twitter users who spread "misinformation," and the need to apply ever more "content moderation," as if it's so easy to differentiate misinformation from opinion, much less catch it on the fly.
One of the amazing things is that Musks' car company doesn't advertise and doesn't even have a PR dept. Musk has now bought a company that only sells advertising. I'm not seeing any mention that he loaded it up with more debt than it can afford, and that was only a small part of the purchase price. He's pulled a rabbit out of a hat before with hustle, grift and inventiveness, but I'm not seeing it yet here. The way Twitter works, it was already the least profit potential, and it was already losing key users. Musk has made all that worse.
Peter B (Charlotte)
@MJW I gather that Musk has issued negative vibes about the future of advertising on Twitter to the extent that he's had to reassure the multitudes of media brokers and buyers out there that he'll still be doing business with them. Also, Twitter's lagging profitability is likely due to its inability to offer an advertising product as effective as those offered by more profitable competitors like Meta and Alphabet.
N Chevy (nyc)
Peter, The company simply can't make money. It never will. Save my comment and come back to me in a couple of years.
Sam C (Denver)
It will collapse on itself.
Val (Ontario)
Well, he tried to pull out but he was forced. So now he is going to do whatever it takes to make this work. Twitter Board made a lot of cash for Twitter shareholders. Employees - left in the lurch. I guess this is what the Delaware Court wanted. Red in tooth and claw capitalism.
trebor (USA)
Wealth concentration is the nature of Capitalism. If it's unregulated it happens very quickly and to incredible extremes. Our culture had been trained and shaped to misapprehend wealth as a benign and just reward for hard work. Libertarians would go to extremes to assert that absurd proposition. Hard work most often does play a role. But orders of magnitude more workers work as hard or harder than the financial elite and barely get by. So it's not just hard work. Nor is it intelligence, as is suggested as a corollary to hard work, that explains wealth. There are genuinely very smart people in all classes. And there are are genuine dolts in all classes as well. Intelligence doesn't account for extreme wealth either. But the real thing this whole reason of discussion is meant to obscure is that Wealth Is Power. That is the key framework Libertarians work to keep out of the public perception. We see it, but don't recognize it and don't call it by its proper and accurate name. The real question, they fear we will ask, is not about whether the financial elite should have as much wealth as they do, but whether they should have as much power as they do. That is why Republican Political elite foment conflict in their media: to keep the public from ever focusing on the fact that the power of individual citizens through democracy is declining in favor of the financial elite who are, or can buy, demagogues we can't ignore. In a different flavor, so does Democratic political elite.
Jim (Bothell, WA)
@trebor Gates was especially favored re profits. During the rise of Microsoft, all he needed was office space, basically. No huge factory costs. He made out like a flock of bandits.
A2Dave (Ann Arbor, MI)
@trebor Even the fundamentally very conservative Theodore Roosevelt clearly saw the risk, and "busted" the Trusts (monopolies) while at the same time starting the startling process of securing public land for preservation, enjoyment, and to protect it from the plutocrats who were already gobbling it up.
N Chevy (nyc)
Trevor unfortunately, it has been shown that it is sociopaths that fill the board rooms.
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
The world has seen how the extremely rich use their immense wealth. That is why intelligent people and thoughtful societies impose progressive taxing systems and high taxes on the inheritances of wealth people. When people own so great a proportion of any country's wealth, they use it to indulge themselves and end up wasting it on fulfilling their fetishes and fantasies. Some, a very few, use it to improve the economies that sustain their wealth but most never do because it's hard work that they need not do.
Paul (Cape Cod)
@Casual Observer Higher marginal income tax, or inheritance tax, rates would have had no impact on the wealth of Musk, Bezos, Gates, Zuckerberg or any of the other co-founder billionaires because they have taken small salaries, have had little taxable income, and haven't passed on their wealth on yet.
John Alexson (Montana)
I have witnessed corporations do malicious hostile takeovers, based on ulterior motives, deliberately tanking an existing profitable business. If anything, an individual buying a company means the person has serious skin in the game, demonstrating a much higher level of ownership.
MarkC (Lambertville)
Musk seemed to desperately want out of the pricey deal. Twitter investors wanted the deal to close. Musk was savaged for trying to back out and threatened by the court if the deal did not close. Now that the deal has closed it is the impending doom of Citizen Musk ownership that is the threat of the day. It seems only the media and journalists post on Twitter and only politicians care what gets published on the platform. The rest of the world spends/wastes their time on Instagram and TikTok both of which are, at least for the most part, mindless fun.
HKGuy (Hell's Kitchen)
The Second Gilded Age says it all. There have been the super-wealthy who buy up large corporations. While I despise Peter Thiel's politics, he has every right to spend his how he sees fit. Ditto Musk, Zuckerberg, et al. I don't see how Musk can make Twitter any worse than it is now.
Alexis it Doesn’t Have To End (Bunkhars)
Private ownership of company is ALWAYS preferred, but many simply cannot afford growth and obscene exec salaries in that case. From Cargill and Koch Industries to Bechtel and Kingston, some of the best, most revered, global American firms are privately owned. Now Twitter is welcomed in their ranks as well. Let us hold our judgement. As a shareholder, I applaud Twitter's new owner and hope for a Tesla-like internal (ESOP) share appreciation. The work force must be elated (those who are left).
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
@Alexis it Doesn’t Have To End The founders of these huge enterprises usually have strong work ethics and their ownership is seriously devoted to the businesses succeeding. But when one examines the family members of these people, most of them are used to having without any necessity to work, and they tend only to worry about continuing to receive income without doing anything.
Jinbo (NYC)
It’s too much power and influence in too few hands. If Mr Musk likes the short message social media business, he should build one from scratch (like Trump), not purchase existing culturally important businesses and assume the role of public guardian that absolutely no one wants him to perform or believes him remotely qualified to do. Large companies and wealthy individuals like Mr Musk should not be allowed to buy existing businesses like Twitter. It doesn’t matter if it’s private wealth or that fraudulent scam called levered buyouts or private equity. It’s an ever accelerating accumulation of wealth and power that is inherently anti democracy and autocratic in nature. It is a recipe for social collapse. It is just bad news.
Tom (NYC)
A greater fool among a world of greater fools.
Cliff (Virginis USA)
@Tom A "fool" who has (1) done more than any other individual to shift transportation to electricity; (2) created rockets that have a factor of at least ten lower cost to orbit for satellites, and the next generation will be 100 times lower; (3) created a low-latency satellite-based Internet system that has been saving Ukraine and is drastically faster than competing services; (4) is trying to discovers ways to cure neurological diseases and injuries using advanced implants. Since selling PayPal, everything he has done has been for a noble cause - not to make money. People who categorize Musk with others like Gates and Bezos do not understand Musk.
Opus (Cape Cod)
There is nothing like buying a forum that can ban you, so as not to be banned. Let the crazy begin. A couple of ideas did pop into my head. first if this is not a great argument to tax the absurdly wealthy, I don't know what is. Second, what does he do next buy a small country and at the first signs of acrimony, enslave the population. Third, is I need create my own cologne called "Great Fiscal Desire" at a $1000 an ounce.
pjtawney (Colton. OR)
You left off Koch and Murdock.
AACNY (New York)
@pjtawney Soros has donated to Democrats more than double what Thiel has donated to the GOP.
Chuck (Oregon)
I deleted my Twitter account yesterday. That simple. I’ve always tried to be a responsible consumer, but it can be challenging in our society. However, in this case it was an easy decision. Social networking in general has become an unhealthy way to spend time and energy; the networks are often dominated by trolls and bots. There is far too much vulgarity, rage, hate, and dishonesty. Musk paid all those billions to take control of the world’s largest shouting match where anonymous people hide behind fake names and launch mindless insults.
HKGuy (Hell's Kitchen)
@Chuck Facebook is great for keeping up with distant friends and family. I always limit how long (10, 15 minutes at most) and how often (no more than twice a day) I log on, because I know that virtual face time is just that, virtual — not only a substitute for real face time, but a way to avoid it.
Ellen (Oregon)
Facebook is as culpable as twitter in spreading disinformation and conspiracy theories.
RufRuf (East Coast)
Then why did it take so long for you to delete your Twitter account ?
Bascom Hill (Bay Area)
For a guy with ten kids, he sure has time for a lot of different stuff.
Bernardo (New Jersey)
Its only a problem when a billionaire you don’t like makes a purchase Bill Gates or George Soros good. Elon Musk bad.
Dan (Terra)
@Bernardo WRONG! There are no good billionaires and in fact we need to tax them into oblivion...ALL of them so you can't say I'm playing favorites.
Bill (SF, CA)
SpaceX has benefited from government grants and transfers of NASA patents. Twitter received headline tax subsidies for moving its headquarters to San Francisco before its IPO. California rewards Elon Musk with coffers of cash for opening Tesla plants. I have no doubt this welfare king walks on flowers strewn in his path in other jurisdictions. Does the NYTimes need to lavish the world's richest man with so much free publicity? Let him buy his own newspaper like Bezos the Clown. Without massive public subsidies, Twitter would be worthless. DARPA created the internet. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act transferred our privacy rights to the internet. Newspapers went bankrupt. Gig work replaced employment. This is another hustle receiving front-page treatment.
Leland (Oregon)
It’s time to boycott Twitter.
Alan Moscowitz (Anytown, USA)
Musk wants to remove advertising from Twitter. How about this as an alternative revenue model: individuals get free accounts but companies pay a subscription for themselves and their employees. Pay up NYT!
Djt (Norcal)
A colleague that reveres Musk for the engineering accomplishments of his firms is having a hard time coming to terms with the transition of his idol to being a right wing troll. It's been happening over the past several months. It's tough to be kind and inclusive, It's easy to indulge one's hate and disdain, to punch downward. It's ironic that the conservative liar's network is called Truth Social. A new social network with strict standards on truth would actually be a boon to the public square. A liar's free for all, which is what Twitter is likely to become, is worse than no square at all.
Jim (Bothell, WA)
@Djt I have one friend who sold his Tesla a few months ago.
Why is it that so many who are outraged by Big Oil, Big Pharma, a particular political party, or corporate America in general, nonetheless give a pass to -- even admire -- such a huge threat as Elon Musk? One person worth 1/4 trillion (yes, trillion with a T) dollars is more of a danger to America than are all the trolling Twitterati put together, as well as Twitter itself. If he should decide to spend his money opposing abortion, supporting restrictive voting laws, or buying an AK47 for every member of the Republican Party, there is nothing to stop him. With his money Musk can actually finance Russia's effort to take over much of Ukraine, which Musk has advocated. But that's nothing compared to the influence (i.e. bought politicians, businesses, clergy) he can wield over the life of everyday Americans. Whether it's elections, zoning variances, or laws and regulations to advance his own whims, fantasies, and economic interests, he can buy them. With chump change. An example of how Musk operates: in New Mexico, for instance, Tesla has moved onto Pueblo land, so as to avoid having to obey state laws and regulations. I have no interest in addicting, often destructive, gossip-promoting vehicles, such as Twitter. Those who are interested can fight it out among themselves. Twitter is simply an inevitable aspect of the world's one truly democratic weapon of mass destruction: the internet.
RufRuf (East Coast)
Good question for Mark Z and all those millions he pumped into the last election-
GRW (Melbourne, Australia)
Apparently since making this purchase, Elon has dubbed himself "chief twit". Look, here in Oz a "twit" is a fool. Can any American please confirm or deny for me that such is also the case in the States please? I really want to know if Elon is being self-deprecating - or has he just made a witless and priceless observation about himself (at least by the lights of this part of the world) after such a ridiculously expensive purchase. Cheers.
RufRuf (East Coast)
He was having fun with it in a self effacing way- kinda like carrying in the kitchen sink thing he did -
McX (Orbis Tertius)
@GRW Here too in Orbis Tertius* it means "fool." But self-deprecating expressions are part of the cuddly way he relates to his fans. *Yes, the U.S.
Liberal In Louisiana (Rainbow City)
This is NOT capitalism. We have become a Aristocracy and the rest of us are peasants. Pre French Revolution. Louis XIV. Billionaires now run our country completely. And the top ten are of course all Men. As we careen towards a dictatorship. All those billions of dollars to buy a social media platform to spread hate. 44 BILLION dollars. Way over paid. Think what that money could have done for the planet. Everyone of my friends are dropping Twitter. I never had Twitter and never will. I loath Musk.
AB (Catskills,NY)
I understand that his new self chosen twitter handle is “chief twit”. Right on target.
Jerry (Birmingham, AL)
I had killed my personal Twitter account a couple years ago. It was simply too much noise. Today I killed my professional account that I used for networking and to keep up w/ things in my field. I know it doesn't matter but he won't benefit from any of my clicks.
Steve Hunter (seattle,wa)
Maybe they should acquire some housing for the homeless.
Jagdeer Haleed (New York)
Last time I checked Elon Musk is against any kind of algorithmic feed which creates echo chambers and has vowed to reverse those kind of feeds. He is making the company lean and anyone who knows Twitter Offices and their lavish facilities know that is much needed. He is saying that he wants to get rid of bots who spread misinformation and spam. And best of all he is spending his own money and his credit to do all this. I don't see why the general population is so concerned. Someone has decided to fix the problem. Please stop using Twitter if you are so offended.
RufRuf (East Coast)
Bravo …. It’s jealousy-pure and simple
Milton Lewis (Toronto Ontario)
For better or worse the return of Trump to Twitter will enhance Trump’s return to the WH. Did helping Trump motivate Musk? My hunch is yes. Good for Musk. Horrible for America!
AKA (Nashville)
These guys become rich because they are not required to invest in human capital and human resource development. They bend government rules to either ship in tech labor or ship out labor requirements. At the end of the day, they are not accountable. Who makes them anyway----we the people.
CH (Atlanta)
Can't wait to see his fresh new take on Twitter!
Alexis it Doesn’t Have To End (Bunkhars)
I am appalled by the general tone of the vast majority of the comments: that of disdain for individual ingenuity, financial and technological success, and entrepreneurship (in this case of Mr. Elon Musk). I would like to ask what the desired alternative would be for the typical Times reader? - Perhaps, the western European-style of sluggish no-growth, demographic decline, and political indecision? Has the respected reader noticed that virtually ALL technological and economic innovation of the 20th AND 21st centuries (so far) has come out of the "raw capitalism" countries, such as the US, China and such? Yes, Elon's takeover of Twitter is not perfect, but it is better than what it was: as a shareholder, my return was exactly ZERO for the last 3 years. Welcome to Twitter, Mr. Musk. Make it great again!
Wrigley (Los Angeles)
@Alexis it Doesn’t Have To End Maybe should have relegated your “concerns as a shareholder” to the WSJ?
Alexis it Doesn’t Have To End (Bunkhars)
@Wrigley Must we only read the comments section to find opinions we agree with? Is this what "plurality of ideas" the great Ronald Reagan was talking about is all about?
Wrigley (Los Angeles)
@Alexis it Doesn’t Have To End You lost any claim to serious discourse when you invoked Ronald Reagan.
RM (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
Twitter is nothing but an advertising platform. Don’t believe me? Check out the letter Elon wrote to advertisers and posted on his Twitter account. The one thing that could keep Twitter from going off the rails is—like most commercial things in this world—the threat of companies moving away from Twitter as one of their main platforms for digital ads and promotion. This is going to become a huge source of revenue, mark my words. Elon might talk about this not being about money, but I seriously doubt it. He’ll take it private so no one can really see what’s going on, but if it’s still a going concern in a year or two will depend largely on whatever his plans are to create money-generating features on the platform. Whatever his supposed thoughts on “free speech,” as the saying goes, money talks. If it means getting rid of racist, bigoted boors to attract revenue sources, you can bet they’ll be gone in a heartbeat. Else this is the biggest midlife-crisis impulse buy in history.
John Smithson (California)
I disagree. There's nothing all that unusual about Elon Musk buying a company and taking it private. Nor does he think that he can easily fix what's wrong with Twitter. But he has some ideas, and he put together the money to execute those ideas. Will it work? We'll see what happens. Why shouldn't a "mogul" use his money and influence to do what he thinks is good for society? I say, good luck, Elon Musk. You'll need it, but thanks for trying.
Glenn (Brentwood, CA)
We were a plutocracy in 1896 when Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and JP Morgan bought the election for William McKinley. While an assassin's bullet changed the trajectory of America and we got lucky in TR, certainly money was what counted in politics...FDR and JFK were from wealth, Reagan was bankrolled by his wealthy "Kitchen Cabinet." As Unions have been destroyed, manufacturing sent overseas, AI and new media like Twitter and Facebook have brought us Trump and the GOP, things like Musk buying twitter are the natural extension of a plutocracy run amok in a society they have long controlled. Whether it is Ellison and Zuckerberg buying up Hawaii, Thiel buying up politicians, or Musk buying Twitter the only controls one could hope for are from government, and the GOP has destroyed that so welcome to the new America...land of billionaires.
Alexis it Doesn’t Have To End (Bunkhars)
@Glenn I for once welcome destruction of the trade unions. They were a ball of chain on the quick feet of the economic and technological progress. It truly feels that most of the negative comments are simply out of envy for the incredible success of this one lowly immigrant who came to this country with nothing 30 years ago and became everything. The ultimate American success story.
Jim (Bothell, WA)
@Alexis it Doesn’t Have To End Well, unions tamed the horrible auto industry. We need check and balance.
Robert (Out West)
Yeah, Alexis, we’re all real sorry that anybody got in the way of Holy Capitalism.
AKA (Nashville)
Tech economy has created too many billionaires without much innovation. Luckily Elon has produced some tangible products like Tesla and Rockets.
T Cat (Tempe)
@AKA With massive government subsidies. Look it up.
AACNY (New York)
@T Cat What have the other companies done with those subsidies? This is a very weak argument.
FinianT (LA,CA)
Say goodbye to Twitter ... am certainly never ever going there. And wish others didn't either. The stock market, and his so-called investors (because he never pays for anything - reminds you of someone else no?), is playing the game and putting another Pinocchio in the spotlight.
AACNY (New York)
Elon Musk will turn Twitter into a software company instead of a playground for the political busybodies who ran it.
Robert (Around)
@AACNY This makes no sense if you actually work in the industry and technology.
Ken L (San Francisco)
Elon can gain his new employees’ favor by moving Twitter HQ out of mid-Market section of SF. One of the worst neighborhoods in the city.
MB (Maine)
Key word: arrogance. Way too much of it these days.
Jennifer Rosak (Decatur)
Moguls? Why don’t we just call them what they are. Oligarchs.
Fully Recovered Liberal (New York)
Is there really a difference? Are semantics really the problem ?
John Hynde (Montreal)
So Bezos bought the WP in 2013 but now that Musk buys Twitter, almost 10 years later, all of a sudden the “Moguls have been unleashed”?
Jim Brokaw (California)
There is this American mythology that rich people are somehow smarter than ordinary people... after all, they got rich somehow. Many times rich people attain their wealth by the simple plan of picking the right parents.Other times, like Elon, they have a good idea and the special insight, or good fortune, to ride that idea a long way, ending up wealthy. Unfortunately, having one good idea, and the good fortune to make it 'pay off', doesn't mean that -every- idea they have will be a great one. The best way to make 'a small fortune' is to start out with a big fortune... spending $44 Billion on Twitter? Perhaps Elon can make this another good idea. But the old saying about 'a fool and his money' comes to mind, too. He's going to need a lot of good luck along the way to make that pay off.
Robert Freeman (Northern Indiana)
now the media simps weigh in on how all this is just the end of democracy when they were cheering the outright censorship and liberal bias of twitter and supporting it. now that conservatives and actual breaking news can be freely reported suddenly its the end of the world. now that people actually have a closer step to free speech its open season on musk and anyone else who is successful enough to buy whatever they want. because you know who needs freedom? all the lint brains who say theyre leaving twitter for other platforms, platforms that still practice the same biases and censorship are just proving musks point. they want to live in an echo chamber with an air of superiority when all they really are, are a bunch of chads and karens who dont want to accept the reality that their beliefs are not the only beliefs and not necessarily they right side of culture. buh bye. you never are missed.
Alex (USA)
Ah. The grievance of privilege worrying about free speech. Hm.
Robert (Around)
@Robert Freeman No. No real news has been suppressed. Disinformation has on several levels. As well as sedition. Sorry if some of us reject authoritarianism, bigotry, hate, medical and other disinformation and sedition. Fox News and the other right wing outlets seem to do well on their own. Better to curb it at places like Twitter. Or let it play its course and in the end it will simply have to be curbed in older ways if people cross lines. Messy.
trebor (USA)
Echo-chamber much?
Ernest Z (Sacramento CA)
“Musk said he wants the social network to be a digital town square where a “wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner without resorting to violence” — without becoming a “free-for-all hellscape…” I think it’s humorous that Musk (and his supporters) continue to use the metaphor of “town square” when referring to Twitter and SM in general. All we have to do is look at a typical American town square and look then at Twitter to see this comparison is beyond ludicrous. A real town square is an inviting place, calm and quiet. Families have picnics, chess and checkers games are played, kids ride their bikes around. Perhaps a corner has a small gathering to engage in a conversation on a topic of concern, another person may have a sign pushing a point of view. Maybe even someone handing out leaflets, though they’re probably coupons for the pizzeria across the street. Twitter is more akin to a gathering of neighborhood loudmouths ranting from their porches, along with drunkards raging from their barstools, street preachers screaming “The end is nigh!” along with neo-Nazis marching on the streets in full regalia. All have bullhorns, screaming at the top of their lungs. Mixed in are vendors, hawking their wares. No one can navigate through or around the square, and the cacophony is such that no one can be heard above it. It is exactly a hellscape - one that any sane rationale individual would avoid. Not a place I have any intention of going. Ever.
Blackmamba (IL)
Once upon a time in America there were anti- trust laws and rules that busted up monopolies and forbade price fixing and market allocations along with anti- competitive fair trade practices. But then the Chicago School of Economics aka Milton Friedman preached that greed was good. And that America could cut taxes and increase spending forever because neither deficts nor debt matters. The economic equivalent of going to Heaven without the inconvenience of dying or living a humble humane empathetic righteous honorable morally accountable life. Then the least democratic branch of our very peculiar divided limited different power constitutional republic of united states aka the Article III judicial branch issued the majority opinion that corporations are people and money is speech.
Paul (Cape Cod)
@Blackmamba I don't see how any anti-trust issues would apple to the acquisition of Twitter. Musk owns no other media properties, and Twitter has only rarely been profitable. The SCOTUS did declare that money is speech in a 1976 case Buckley v Valeo. None of the current members of the SCOTUS were on the Court at that time. The SCOTUS has never ruled that corporations are people, including in Citizens United. What the majority ruled in Citizens United is that corporation have limited political speech rights, but the Court drew a very bright line between the political speech rights of groups of people like unions, clubs, and corporations, and "human persons". You could look it up.
TK (Los Altos CA)
What's missing in this analysis piece is how much Mr. Musk is challenging the status quo, and just how incompetent the federal government is - regardless of whether it's the right or the left running it. He has built an electric car company that has sales more than the rest of the EV industry combined. His Starlink service that he provides for free, is sustaining the war in Ukraine, even as their leaders foolishly tweet expletives at him when he comes up with a peace plan. The irony is that the federal government can't find $400M for a year's worth of Starlink in the $40B that congress appropriated for Ukraine, never mind the $1T defense budget. That $1T mind you is still going to Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and other dinosaurs in what must be the biggest ongoing taxpayer heist. And now if he buys out twitter, and brings Trump in and out of it on a whim, he's earned that too. Congress and the federal government don't really have a strategy for helping Ukraine, or keeping social media from fomenting strife, or tackling climate change. They are completely focused on tapping into voter discontentment for their own needs. And when we make this about Musk and not about the underlying incompetence of government, we're playing right into their hands.
Jim Brokaw (California)
@TK -- Musk's Starlink service is a global service. It's going to be out there, up above Ukraine anyway. What is the incremental cost of supporting Ukraine, if he's going to be running the global service anyway? Sure, it's costly setting up the global network. Like all networks, there is a large up-front cost... but the cost of the 'incremental user' is small after that, to the limits of capacity. And for a global network, the capacity needs to be there anyway, for growth in the rest of the world. So Elon may claim it costs $400M to run the Ukraine's Starlink support... but that would mean the whole world costs tens of billions to support. The accounting of that price seems a bit inventive to me. Perhaps the Ukraine support is being charged with carrying some global costs too.
Robert (Around)
@TK Factually incorrect. Tesla was a loss leader for years. It has lived on government subsidies and tax credits for buyers. Ukraine has succeeded against the Russians due to the Federal government providing it with advanced weapons, intel and training and building an international coalition to support all of that. New legislation is going to fund the growth of several industries key to addressing climate change and again more tax credits. The Reagan view of government and that of Libertarians has never held water and has been shown to be wrong over and over and ....
Alex (USA)
So many Musk apologists.
Alexis it Doesn’t Have To End (Bunkhars)
Frankly, from the investment standpoint, it is a loser. But from the influence / tipping the scale - it is a gold mine and a genial move worthy of Elon's reputation. My prediction watch his starting to bend the company to whistle his tune. I always expected Elon to go to politics eventually; millions of the tech bros will be voting for him at every term. What is he after: Governorship of CA? TX senatorship? World domination? Time (and Twitter) will tell.
magicisnotreal (earth)
The idea of free speech he speaks of is false. As is most of the things people say about the US idea/experiment. Free speech is for the press to report on public servants and for the people to seek redress of grievances. The idea that it means you can say anything is foreign and dead wrong. We all should know the effectiveness of words at getting people to do things, often harmful to themselves things, because our entire economy is based on it. That is what advertising is. We regulate that because of how harmful it can be and we still have to prosecute people for lying and doing harm. Saying anything you want to wind people up and cause social chaos is not part of what free speech is. Free Speech like our form of government is based on the idea of the mature adult person who has a sense of duty to the community and a sense of shame to prevent them from doing harm. All that childish garbage on there.........is garbage and should be thrown out. You do not have the right to subject the rest of us to your lack of maturity and decency.
Alexis it Doesn’t Have To End (Bunkhars)
@magicisnotreal As defined in the first amendment, "Saying anything you want to wind people up and cause social chaos" is PRECISELY what free speech is.
Robert (Around)
@Alexis it Doesn’t Have To End Except that amendment has nothing to do with the choices of private companies. It solely refers to the acts and actions of government.
Paul (Cape Cod)
@magicisnotreal The First Amendment protects much more speech than you imagine. We still have libel laws, but beyond that people are legally free to write anything, even if what they write is hurtful and cruel. That's why social media sites are monitored.
Paul (Massachusetts)
Capitalism has given us a new kind of “Aristocracy” that will surely “let us eat cake.”
pvankn (MA)
What happens if no one bothers to use the "new and improved" version? An echo of simply not playing his game. A silent boycott. Ignore him. That might frost his cookies, as it were. Why keep enabling these people? And wasting your own time?
david (Almost everywhere for a while)
How could you not mention Bezos buying the Washington Post in this article? He led the way to this sort of thing.
S Tveskov (which Is A Danish Name…just FYI) (Vancouver By Way Of CT 🇩🇰)
@David They did.
Horace Fundt (Planet Rayon)
Why not? They already buy countries.
Thom (US)
The guy is a loose cannon. No one knows what he’ll say and do next but all of his words and moves have real world consequences, and not always for the better. I wish that he would stick to electrical vehicles. I’m not on Twitter and never will be and might have to consider pulling the brake on his cars
Larry L (Dallas, TX)
Waiting for one rich enough to buy an entire country. Oh, wait a minute ...
Allison (Fairfield, CT)
& it all started with Peter Thiel & Hulk Hogan, which bankrupted Gawker and created a new avenue for billionaires to own media
Kenan Porobic (Charlotte)
If the fellow Americans were the nice people, they should abruptly quit Tweeter so Elon Must could enjoy peacefully in his private property.
Tim (Baltimore)
If Twitter is now "Elon Musk's Twitter" then its influence will dwindle. It will be seen, not as some really free-ranging platform, but as Elon's "version" of a free-ranging platform. Anything off of it now will have an asterisk and a note that "Elon thinks this is OK."
Brian (Denver)
$44 billion for a decade old company that can’t turn a profit and routinely loses 100s of millions of dollars. Only Donnie T, who bankrupted multiple casinos, could challenge that business “genius”.
vacciniumovatum (Seattle)
This is a clear sign that he has too much money and needs to pay WAY more in taxes.
Paul (Cape Cod)
@vacciniumovatum Musk did recently pay a lot of federal income taxes, likely more than any other individual taxpayer has ever paid in a single tax year, when he started selling Tesla shares worth billions to fund his purchase of Twitter. However, until Musk started selling Tesla shares he had little taxable income, so higher marginal federal income tax rates would have had no impact on his growing wealth. Appreciating capital assets, like founders shares, aren't taxed until they are sold, in the US, and every other G20 country.
Snoocks2 (MI)
Because 'deals have been the nature of Silicon Valley', I noted that all of the other 'moguls' - tho lumped conveniently under acceptable industry practice - were not considered a threat to democracy. And, while Facebook and other related media companies have been forging the thought processes of millions of unknowing people through the policies of these companies, none of them are considered damaging to the millions of minds of unsuspecting citizens over the years. But now that Musk has come on board that media stream, we must immediately be alarmed and cautioned that he will surely be rocking those 'boats of state.' Well that is just great and good riddance to to the kingship of TikTok, Twitter etc. I have a Facebook account and have been unable to share with my own family my thoughts on elections, gun control, abortion or Covid - which I've had 3-times! Perhaps now the 'other side' will have a voice.
Alex (USA)
You do have a voice. Look at you commenting here. If I were in your family, I’d probably quietly block you, but see,you got to use your voice to make me comment. You’re welcome. Attention given. Have a great day.
S Tveskov (which Is A Danish Name…just FYI) (Vancouver By Way Of CT 🇩🇰)
@Snoocks2 You could always try calling or texting your family to share your news I guess. Then any misinformation is more localized. I haven’t had Covid 3 times, or ever. But I’ve had 3 vaccine shots and wear a mask in public-still. Finally when I moved to Canada 25 years ago I was so homesick and sad I didn’t think I could stand it. (My husband is Canadian.) But after the last 7 years I am soooo greatful to live with people who fear and respect guns as killing machines, believe still in Democracy and don’t believe in fake fraud allegations about elections from sore losers, are not trying to take away the right to vote, who respect women enough to give them bodily autonomy when it comes to reproductive rights and, oh yeah, are more civilized.
Alexis it Doesn’t Have To End (Bunkhars)
@S Tveskov (which Is A Danish Name…just FYI) This is such gross oversimplification. I find Canadians not much different from Americans. Except for the warship of individual freedom and pursuit of happiness.
Mike (Texas)
I just switched to Instagram. I dont want to be part of the Musk ego trip. If enough people leave twitter, Musk will have to maintain some reasonable rules of the road to win them back.
Joe (NY)
@Mike is this a joke? Do you think Facebook, which owns Instagram, is any different than Musk?
Alexis it Doesn’t Have To End (Bunkhars)
@Joe Facebook is FAR worse, in fact. It cooperates with the CCP in its oppression of its own masses.
Mike (Texas)
@Joe Yes, i do. Musk is taking the company private, meaning he can do just about anything he wants with it or to it. Meta at least is publicly traded and has to answer to investors and, to some extent, the public. That’s better than being under the thumb if the Chief Twit.
Nancy Lederman (New York City)
Elon Musk may have extraordinary engineering skills but he also has clear social deficits that make his controlling a huge social media platform disturbing and possibly dangerous. Of course we learned this with Facebook/Meta disinformation missteps under Mark Zuckerberg's leadership. Do we still think self-regulation is enough to produce social media reforms?
hen3ry (Westchester, NY)
He who has the most toys wins. Or, in this case, he who has spent the most money to acquire a toy wins. I do not see this as a win for anyone but Elon Musk. It merely confirms my intention of staying off Twitter.
Peter B (Charlotte)
Contrary to the author's assertion, there is hardly any difference between business leader buying a company as an "individual" or via a company they control. Musk, of course, controls more than one company capable of making mega-mergers, and even the new entity set up to make this acquisition needs to have a corporate structure and board representation to satisfy the lenders and so on. If you look back at 19th century trust builders like Morgan or Vanderbilt, or mid-20th century conglomerators like Charlie Bludhorn and Harold Geneen, you'll also find hundreds of huge takeovers conceived at the whim of a single CEO. So the idea that there is something new, that "the moguls have been unleashed," is just more media hype.
Mike (Jacksonville)
@Peter B I agree. The premise of this article is weird. Private equity in myriad forms has been part of the business landscape since. . . forever. Discussion around this twitter deal has been hyperbolic and full of histrionics from the start. We have a really wealthy guy making an impulse purchase and then feeling post-impulse regret. We have a slow moving corporation that hasn't shown much ability operate efficiently or generate profits in recent memory. People seem shocked that there is a relatively small network of really rich people that know each other. The deal hasn't made Musk shine for sure, while at the same time, Twitter wasn't really setting a bar for excellence.
hm1342 (NC)
"Mr. Musk’s $44 billion takeover of Twitter, which finally became a reality on Thursday, six months after he agreed to the deal, is different. It is an individual buying something for himself that 240 million people around the world use regularly. While he has other investors, Mr. Musk will have absolute control over the fate of the short-message social media platform." So, is this necessarily a bad thing? Apparently, for a lot of the Woke Left, it is.
james nielsen (Brooklyn)
@hm1342 Yes, censoring political statements is obscene.
Leon Taylor (Baltimore)
"Dealogic, a data firm, compiled for The New York Times a list of the top 10 tech biggest deals since 1995 by deal value." Adjusted for inflation?
Baby Babe (Left Coast)
Why should they stop at companies? Musk has already inserted himself into countries. US politics is already in the hands of a few “investors.” Too much money in the hands of select individuals is not a good thing. Tax the rich!
Roberto Muina (Palm Coast, FL)
600.000 likes to the comment of Musk about his perfume. Another confirmation of the stupidity of the members of the USA populace.
conryw (San Francisco)
Love them, hate them, one thing rich people are most definitely today: the rich are perniciously misallocated carbon footprints.
Ivan (California)
If Twitter is not moderated, there will be no ad revenues. Companies don't want to be associated with extremist trash talk. Let that sink in.
Futbolistaviva (SF, CA)
@Ivan Ugh, right. Have you heard of Facebook or as it is now called Meh-ta?
ss (Boston)
"Now they are rich enough, and perhaps arrogant enough, to acquire companies they fancy." I do not recall anyone on the pages here being concerned in this manner when Bezos bought what is today probably the worst offender in the publication business, the unhinged WaPo. Not that NYT is much better. The message is very clear and unsurprising - as long as you follow our political line, which is all we exist for, we are with you. Any other case, we fight you.
Wilma (NJ)
I never used Twitter, and never bought anything on Amazon. Musk and Bezos can take off on their silly spaceships and get lost in space for all I care.
sheerette (Rhode Island)
Rich people ruin everything.
hm1342 (NC)
@sheerette: "Rich people ruin everything." Yeah, that's why we look to government to "fix" things for us, right? Because government is full of society's better angels...or not.
sheerette (Rhode Island)
@hm1342 Government had to step in less than a century ago because children were being killed or maimed in factories. The wealthy business owners simply didn't care.
KathyS (NY)
Uh oh... So now how is [liberal] journalist going to get facts if Twitter starts to freely present views, data, studies, opinions, science that refute, debunk, disprove, belie, repudiate their position on a particular issue? Will liberal journalists actually have to do real research instead of using the Twitter echo chamber to confirm their reporting?
E (S)
How cute that you think science could ever be found on twitter.
George (Boston)
The entertainment value of these comments is off the charts...
AACNY (New York)
@George They have no idea.
Robert (Around)
@George Yes I find the level to which members of the modern right repeat hackneyed lines to be quite amusing. Also, the lack of foundation in basic disciplines which makes it so easy to disassemble their purported arguments. Not to challenging though.
AACNY (New York)
The Left is trying to cancel Elon Musk. Like weeds killing off healthy new growth.
Hermes2 (Port Townsend, WA)
@AACNY So, Elon Musk is a self-replicating, bipedal version of Round Up? Sounds about right. Just as bad for the environment.
Peter (CA)
No twitter users in my circle, useless to me, due to its toxic nature. No desire to own a Tesla due to its prohibitive cost of ownership and poor reliability. No use for SpaceX rockets. No use for starlink satellite Internet due to its prohibitive cost. Elon Musk is a master market manipulator. I do not believe in his ridiculous philosophy that the future of mankind is in space. He is the most toxic, uninspiring and personally useless richest man in the world.
Bob (San Francisco, CA)
Too few people have way, way too much money. Bring them back to Earth, please.
conryw (San Francisco)
@Bob No, no, no!! Mars is a better planet for them.
Desmo88 (Los Angeles)
Great. Now those same tech barons who pioneered unilateral changes to products relied on by tens of millions, zero customer service, 20 page user agreements stripping all meaningful rights from injured parties and now bring that model of corporate behavior to any company (toy) they want to buy for their own personal pleasure. Musk will next by a sports league and build the worlds greatest coliseum, where us peasants can claw our eyes out for his pleasure... This is the result of a broken tax system and loop holed filled political finance system. No going back now, sadly.
Hermes2 (Port Townsend, WA)
Buying big yachts is so very old fashioned. Cornelius Vanderbilt's had steam power, for goodness sake. No, it is much more fun to make an entire country into your play toy. Feeling a bit frisky? Maybe interfere in an election, that always gets the blood going. Feeling a bit restless? You can always mess with Ukraine just to get the kinks out. And the best part? People will call you a self-made genius and actually say how much they admire you while you wreak havoc. Ain't life grand?
Wonderfool (Princeton Junction, NJ)
I don't know what is your understanding about "MAS an Indian, I studied moghuls as part of history. As i learned, they were Monholian tribes who first attacked an ancient civilization of China, then they descended in the Middle Easy and destroyed the ancient intelliectial culture of Ira Persia). For India, I learned about the barbaric Chengizkhan and then Taimurlang (Tamarlane in the west) folllowed by Brber and his progeny. They destryed ancient universities in India and burned books. And they were the MOGHULS. Will these Solocon Moguls be any different?
Erich (Miami)
They have being able to buy companies since the beggining, thats what is all about Silicon Valley unicorns. But yes, they are growing arrogant and eccentric. Long back are the times of disciplined and frugal Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.
AACNY (New York)
More "oligarch" bashing. The idea that Elon Musk, a big believer in free speech and a climate innovator -- who puts his money where his mouth is -- represents a threat to anything doesn't pass the smell test.
Futbolistaviva (SF, CA)
@AACNY Yes, oh right. Glad you pointed out that everyone of his companies has received gross handouts from Federal, State and local tax coffers. His rant on letting Russia do what it wants Russia sure backfired did it not. HA!
Andrew (NYC)
We have ballot initiatives in NYC about changing the wording of a mission statement, while the oligarchs continue to buy up our freedoms. Our priorities need to change.
magicisnotreal (earth)
@Andrew He did not buy up your freedom. He bought ownership of the company you give it away to for free.
S maltophilia (Texas)
First yachts, then companies. Now, with the likes of Thiel in the lead, they want to own governments. after that, they own you.
abj slant (Akron)
@S maltophilia They already own us. Where do you think they got their money?
pjtawney (Colton. OR)
It's been a generation plus since Murdock created FOX. The damage has been horrific. Republican voters have been living on a steady stream of misinformation and screaming lunacy for over 25 years. Is there harm from Musk owning twitter? Yes! Didn't another rich man demonstrate the danger? An entire Bond movie was built around it. As the story goes, Remington, who had been sent to Cuba to cover the insurrection, cabled to Hearst that there was no war to cover. Hearst allegedly replied with, "You furnish the pictures. I'll furnish the war." This isn't new territory. We know it's dangerous. If we could put it to a democratic vote we'd vote to stop it. But the Supreme Court says money is speech, its protected. But we can stop it. All we have to do is delete the AP. That's right folks, just delete the AP and this one mess just goes away. We can't stop a man from buying a newspaper, but we don't have to subscribe. We can't stop a man from creating a lieing TV program, but we don't have to watch it. And we can't stop a man from buying twitter. But we can completely destroy him financially by deleting the AP. Advertisers can't stop us. Its the most power consumers have ever had. Delete the AP. You news people have to do it too. Everyone who wants this horror show to stop has to do it. Delete the AP.
@pjtawney I have to assume that by "AP" you're referring to something other than the Associated Press.
MauiYankee (Maui,HI)
Please. They are not "moguls". They are oligarchs. Beneficiaries of the Reagan/Republican tax policies.
conryw (San Francisco)
@MauiYankee So true. As an old fart, I can attest to the complete accuracy of your comment.
Robbbb (NJ)
There's a bigger story here, overlooked in the article. Musk controls and owns most of SpaceX, which in turn has placed 3,000 Starlink communications satellites in orbit and plans to launch 9,000 more. Musk is endeavoring to own worldwide communications channels, which would essentially give him broad dictatorial powers. He may as great a threat to freedom of action and discourse as Trump, perhaps greater.
gratis (Colorado)
Crony Capitalism at its finest. Americans love making themselves poorer so the Rich can be Richer. Americans vote for it every election. And will in this one, too!
conryw (San Francisco)
@gratis No poverty, no charity. And we can't have that!! All the wonderful charity galas and fundraisers will be gone. And those really cool reputation laundrettes; they will disappear too. Oh no!!!
David (California)
In this new guided age, crybaby billionaires like Musk want not only to buy companies for the wealth and power they represent, but to control any public speech that threatens their fragile egos. This Twitter acquisition stands a good chance of being a lose-lose proposition for everyone - a financial disaster for Musk, as he drives away users, advertisers and employees, and the loss of a critical media platform from our public square. Maybe some of these other guys will take a lesson from that. Maybe.
conryw (San Francisco)
@David ...*sigh*
Futbolistaviva (SF, CA)
@David Media platform from our public square? Twitter's a wannbe insult comic and fake news site. I hope you are right that Musk loses his shorts. He should turn the reign of Twitter over to his 10 kids, ex-wives and girlfriends.
Greg (Lyon, France)
Buy the news media, the social media, and Congress. Congratulations you now own the USA. Democracy was just a brief experiment.
Matt (Oakland CA)
Since when in the history of the United States have "moguls" - parasitic monopoly capitalists, promoted and subsidized by the North American Federal State, and therefore fully qualified as USA Oligarchs - *not* been unleashed to exploit the rest of society?
Anna (Bellingham, WA)
The ultra rich used to fund libraries, museums, orchestras, hospitals, schools, parks. . .
conryw (San Francisco)
@Anna No poverty, no charity - it's like a mathematical equation.
ag (mt holly)
Let the Internet Goddess of Outrage commence against billionaires! I see no problem with letting one man set world wide regulations for a public forum. Who cares if it spreads dangerous lies and disinformation from amoral men like Donald Trump. People are smart enough to figure out the truth. Not.
nerdrage (SF)
Twitter is "a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive"? Since when? People may tweet for the lulz but does anyone really trust it?
conryw (San Francisco)
@nerdrage Unfortunately, yes.
JFC (Havertown PA)
Moguls often hide their greed behind a mask of libertarianism. But greed is never good and 2 words can explain the danger of this greedy acquisition: Donald Trump. Beyond that, the hypocrisy of the libertarian moguls is instantly revealed by their ready acceptance of government subsidies, special tax breaks and other favors. The GOP is the major protector and promoter of the wealthy. Sadly, the Democratic Party is often complicit.
Okbyme (Santa Fe)
He spent 44 b for a list of email addresses.
Jon Carroll (Easthampton MA)
“If it turns into a massive home run,” Mr. Greenfield said, “you’ll see other billionaires try to do the same thing.” Home run by what measure? A rhetorical q, no doubt. Surely not human progress. The bottom line is our divine demise.
david gallardo (san luis obispo)
Very Amusing! Let the Elon bashing begin: "Elon is a threat to democracy!"
Futbolistaviva (SF, CA)
@david gallardo Yes, he spent 44 billion dollars on a wannbe insult comic and fake news app. Very amusing indeed.
Boguslaw (Brooklyn)
Quite often when I read an opinion in the NYT that I strongly disagree with, I see that the comments are turned off. This kind of preemptive censorship is a censorship nonetheless. I am not sure that Twitter acquisition by Musk is necessarily a bad thing, if he eliminates similar practices from Twitter. Those who spread false information should be made accountable for it, but preventing people from expressing their views is equally bad. BTW. It seems that many NYT readers are upset that a billionaire can buy a company and potentially use it to impose his views on the world, at the some time no one seems to mind that the prior management was doing exactly the same, without spending 44 billion to buy the company.
B D Duncan (Boston)
Seems like shareholders are getting way more than the company is worth and Elon is getting a social media company that’s not even in the top five by user base. How much he leveraged himself to do so will be clear soon enough. Not sure if we should be worried about this deal or if he should.
MM (New York)
There are two ways this can go. People who complain about it but stay can fuel it’s growth. Or they can leave, and diminish it. You won’t change anyone’s mind about what the platform should be as long as you stay.
Charles (Los Angeles)
The biggest reason I'd never be a billionaire is I would have quit working when I hit a a much, much smaller number. Different folks, different strokes!
Lane (France)
Thank you. This is an important conversation that needs to get started and debated and debated yet again. For now : I hope that new Twitter will amplify local media. I hope there will be a cheap way for local media to reach more local citizens via this platform.
JBB (San Francisco)
Tax the rich. They have too much money which buys too much power. And vote for Democrats, who at least care to address obscene wealth inequality and its corrosive effects on democracy and in all corners of our society. Republicans love and serve their billionaire backers, both foreign (Russian, Saudi) and domestic.
gratis (Colorado)
@JBB Why tax the Rich? Then the benefits will not Trickle on us. We cannot have America be like the Happiest Countries in the World. We must make America a Crony Capitalist haven like Mississippi and South Carolina.
Paul (Cape Cod)
@JBB The wealth of Musk, Gates, Bezos, Zuckerberg, and others has come from the appreciation of large blocks of stock they obtained as founders, or early investors. In the US, and every other country in the G20, appreciating capital assets, like shares of stock, are not taxed until sold. So higher marginal income tax rates would have had no impact on the wealth of Musk, or others. To tax wealth, the US would have to pass a wealth tax, which may not be constitutional. Higher income tax rates aren't going to have any impact on billionaires.
Justwonderin (Seattle, WA)
While not saying, (or knowing) what Mr. Musk has done is good or bad, I look to similar precedents to try to make sense of it in my own mind, and the first thing that came to my mind is Rupert Murdoch. By his building a media empire, does he have a plan to change the world into his own image, or of what he believes the world should be? If so, whether he succeeds or not is still in question, but like mankinds' activities contributing to climate change, old Rupert is contributing to some changes for the rest of us. Justwonderin?
jdoe212 (Florham Park NJ)
@Justwonderin Could it be greed? Or the need to fill some empty emotional something? Owning. Controlling. I too thought of Rupert immediately....the hearts and minds
Sarah (Canada)
Wealth hoarding is a sickness, both for the individuals and for society.
Paul (Cape Cod)
@Sarah "Hording"? The most visible wealth today held by people like Gates, Bezos, or Zuckerberg are the result of third party investors valuing the shares they own at a high value. Over time they have all sold shares in the companies they founded, so they own less. They have taken little, if any, salaries. They haven't horded anything.
Arthur (Springfield)
If Musk had a better idea on how to run Twitter, why overspend billions of dollars on it? He could have easily built a competitor site for a tiny fraction of the amount and just crushed Twitter with his superior platform. I'm pretty sure he could have built one with only a $5 billion investment, which is still far more than what should be needed. I don't think he has anything special to offer at all, and listening to him over the last several years has moved me from being a fan to outright contempt of Musk.
America is only for the rich and super rich. They bribe the lawmakers and the politicians which they political donations or campaign contributions. They employ the lobbyists who run the congress in local, state and federal levels. They have too much money to burn or go to space or anything and everything. The wealth and income gap in America is obnoxious. I do not have Facebook and I am happy with my privacy. Why I have to have Twitter or TikTok or Facebook to have a happy and successful life? Unfortunately, America is changing rapidly where 1% will rule over 99%.
Blarp (Seattle)
We need a wealth tax and a maximum wage in America. No one individual ought to accumulate enough wealth to purchase and control critical institutions or whole sectors of the economy. One billion dollars should be the limit. Everything over that ought to be taxed and seized by the state. We'll even send all the billionaires a nice little trophy saying they "won capitalism" and thanking them for their service. Otherwise, we'll continue to be a democracy in name only.
Paul (Cape Cod)
@Blarp I favor a wealth tax, although I'm not sure it would be constitutional. We might need a Constitutional Amendment like the 16th was needed for for the federal income tax. There is no way that a maximum wage would be constitutional. Plus, it would have little impact on the accumulation of wealth. People like Gates, Bezos, Zuckerberg and Musk have never taken high salaries. Their wealth has come from appreciating capital assets, their share holdings.
erwan (berkeley)
When The Supreme Court declared Corporations are People they unleashed the power of money to control at will voting and therefore tipping the scales affecting the Legislative Body in Congress. The Media. us just another tool to take over this fledging democracy and others. It’s happening in Russia, in China. We are now in the midst of it here.
Paul (Cape Cod)
@erwan The SCOTUS has never declared that corporations are people. I would challenge you to find a majority opinion that makes such a declaration. What the Court did find in Citizens United was that groups of people, organized as clubs, unions or corporations had some political speech rights, but made a very clear distinction between those rights and the rights of "human persons".
MM (New York)
I’m a recovering alcoholic and needed to leave things that were “comfortable and familiar” to get to a place of emotional sobriety. People who complain about the platform but stay on are no different from alcoholics who can’t put the booze down because they’re trying suppress their (unknown) resentments. If you are on Twitter (or Facebook) and complain about it, you have a problem more serious than you may think. What is so unhealthy about your emotional state that you feel the need to continue it?
magicisnotreal (earth)
@MM That is not always the case. Imposed confusion from poor rearing and poor education can make one unaware of what you just wrote and normies seem to be taught explicitly or gather implicitly. So the people you are directing this towards may read it and think about "those poor people" and never realise you are speaking to them.
pewter (Copenhagen)
@MM I think most of us who voice concern about social media are concerned about: 1. Negative effects on society 2. Negative effects on individuals
MM (New York)
@pewter I completely understand and agree that that is the sentiment— but at one point, we cannot control everything and everyone, so we need to make different decisions as individuals….And dare I say, show a better way; lead by example. Twitter is no longer doing that. There is no amount of screaming or complaining that will fix the toxicity.
S May (NYC)
We're becoming like Russia, a country of oligarchs. This is another way we lose our freedom. Oligarchs care only about money and power not the rights of people or democracy, only what they can take.
Grove (California)
@S May We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.
david gallardo (san luis obispo)
@S May We are becoming an oligarchy? My dear, where have you been the last few decades?
Grove (California)
@Clyde Benke Are you serious?
Aspen (Dutchess County, NY)
Bringing back the fairness doctrine and extending it to social media companies would be the answer but with our political and social dysfunction that will never happen. As the social contract breaks down there WILL be an implosion. Of what sort I don't know but all the material is there for it to happen and social media (and Fox/Breitbart/OAN) is hastening the process. As a side note, Musk will lose on his investment for sure. Advertisers are wary to begin with, recent downturn has companies like FB losing advertising revenue and having the company not be accountable to shareholders is not a winning proposition. They may gain rightwing users but they will lose more users as a result.
nerdrage (SF)
@Aspen The fairness doctrine applies to airwaves on the principle that airwaves are limited. The internet is not limited so why should the fairness doctrine apply? If you don't like Twitter, ignore it (I do). Anyway the brakes on Twitter will be applied, if at all, by advertisers who don't want their nice products appearing next to insane rants. Advertisers are the key to Musk making Twitter profitable, unless he thinks he can get people to pay a subscription, good luck with that.
Paul (Cape Cod)
@Aspen Any new attempt to bring back a Fairness Doctrine, even just on AM/FM radio and over-the -air TV which are regulated by the FCC, would be struck down as unconstitutional. It would be a clear First Amendment violation to try and impose a Fairness Doctrine on social media, the broader Internet, cable or satellite TV.
A (Texas)
Stop buying what they are selling. There are many happy, very successful people who never owned a twitter or Facebook account. Somehow they are still fully up to date with a couple of news sources and late night talk shows.
nerdrage (SF)
@A The customers are the advertisers. The users are the product. So we all have even more power. If the products vanish, the business vanishes. I tried both Twitter and Facebook briefly years ago and then vanished. I'm not willing to be a product. All the problems of social media stem from the principle that the users are the product. Then they get mad for being treated like a product. Well boo hoo what did you expect.
MM (New York)
I haven’t been on Twitter for over a decade and find it a toxic wasteland — however the people complaining about it should stop complaining and simply decide to stop using it if they don’t like it. It’s masochistic behavior because there’s a false sense of dependence on it. It’s a simple tech platform that can be easily replicated. Someone should start a new platform that has a policy that can discriminate against who uses it. The point is people have a choice but they’d rather complain — it’s like staying in a job or a relationship you hate. Just leave it. And by leaving Twitter, there is no actual sacrifice in terms of money where as leaving a job or a relationship is more complicated in that regard. It’s just Twitter. It’s not your spouse, your child, your job, or anything actually meaningful. People can find a new digital home easily but would obviously rather torture themselves with unhappiness. We have our priorities backwards.
Emma (Memphis, TN)
@MM Your comment that Twitter is a simple tech platform that could easily be replicated doesn't factor in humans' natural aversion to change. For there have been attempts to replicate Twitter (Mastodon and Minds come to mind), but you seldom hear about them unless you're active in the space. None have been as successful in accumulating substantial amounts of users as Twitter has. Why? They're new platforms. It's not convenient to be one of their first users. Why would you join a new platform that functions just as well (if not better) than Twitter with none of your friends on it, when you could just stay on Twitter with all of your friends and complain with them about how terrible Twitter is? I think it would require a strategic migration (coordinated with groups that have established themselves on traditional social media platforms) to make a move to an alternative platform successful. Until then, and until we become comfortable with discomfort, our priorities will always remain backwards.
Smilodon7 (Gilead, The State Formerly Known As Missouri)
But it’s not just about you. It’s that this is going to be spreading toxic misinformation. Remember all those crazy clickbait anti Hillary ads? Sure, the smarter folks will avoid those but a lot of not too smart people will fall for them. And these people vote.
Chaks (Fl)
It all goes back to 2010 when the Robert's court decided that Money was speech. That day is also the day that marked the death of the American democracy.
Grove (California)
@Chaks True. Republicans, including Roberts, definitely favor oligarchy. And “Corporations are people”.
Paul (Cape Cod)
@Chaks Money is speech was decided by the SCOTUS in a 1976 case Buckley v Valeo. None of the justices who made that determination serve on the current Supreme Court. Surprisingly our democracy has lasted for an additional period of almost half a century. You could look it up.
RG (Massachusetts)
Gee. I wonder if he’s going to shaft his employees by not paying them, like Trump, or fire them like Ronald Reagan and the air traffic controllers? So many options, so little time.
magicisnotreal (earth)
IDK from unleashed. I should say I do not trust Musk. Nevertheless he is the first actual real capitalist in the USA since the reagan republicans put an end to capitalism in the USA during reagan's first term. Capitalism is using your own money to take an economic risk with the intent of building something. No one in the US has done that since it was made legal to steal the products of such endeavors by trickery of bookkeeping. That is what happened to our industry in the 80's. It wasn't some phantasm of "the markets" it was just plain greed of people who did not want to spend their own money to take a risk on making something in all these perfectly fine fully paid for factories with work forces waiting new orders. It was easier to destroy those factories on paper then sell off that equipment for more than it cost originally to foreign nations. And if they did it right they got to steal the decades worth of pensions savings and health & welfare savings accounts too. I do not trust him but at least he is playing with his own money. That's a change for the better even though Twitter should not exist in any form.
Smilodon7 (Gilead, The State Formerly Known As Missouri)
His companies have gotten government money before. Nobody does anything with only their own money, including Musk.
Billbo (Stockton, NJ)
@magicisnotreal Uh, didn't he get massive funding from the US government?
magicisnotreal (earth)
@Billbo So you are saying the US government is funding the purchase of Twitter?
dairyfarmersdaughter (Washinimgton)
I've never been on Twitter. I have no plans plans to go on Twitter. Even more so now. The same with Instagram, TikTok, etc. Money is power, and this power being concentrated more and more. Unfortunately people allow themselves to be by assuming information on these platforms is based on truth or facts. You are just a marketable commodity. The money on these platforms is made from advertising. Just say no.
Manolo (New York)
The human being in freedom has as a priority the primary instinct to conserve the species on the basis of his main tool granted by his God: Reason: Knowledge, common sense. God is the all, is Alpha and Omega. The future is to improve the natural conditions inherent to life in a maximum tone of harmony, according to laws contained in the "Constitution" whose purpose is the welfare of the human being, so that the Economy, which is subsidiary to it, -must comply with its natural purpose, regulating the corresponding; It is also subordinated to the laws of supranational organizations, which establish and are congruent with the fundamentals of the rights to a healthy life and its basic and elementary principles, and others contained in the documents and constitutive letters of supranational organizations, such as the United Nations, the Hague Tribunal, etc. , through the use of a Capitalism with social responsibility, respectable of the right according to the best western values and principles, such as the representative democracy, making use of the best of science to the effect, in order to reestablish the lost balance, and maintain it as a legacy forever, for the present and future generations.
Robert (Out West)
It’s correct to say that for people like Paine and Jefferson, Reason and so on were paramount—were in fact what they probably meant when they talked about, “Nature’s God,” and such. Logos, that is, not Jehovah. But the Constitution is a blueprint for a particular kind of practical government, not a set of laws.
Lauren B (Wisconsin)
Welcome to the roaring 20’s, the age of the new and improved Robber Barons.
Innes (Lisbon)
@Lauren B Sure thing and a Robber Button is?! https://youtu.be/ZIyhwDM-neM
Emanuel (NY)
Another capitalist monster joins the gang, just in time for Halloween! Government regulation is more crucial than ever!
nerdrage (SF)
@Emanuel There's no need to regulate Twitter, Facebook, etc. They are not necessary to life. We all have the power to simply leave. So everyone just leave. If you stay, then the consequences are on you and I don't want to hear any whining. In social media, the users are the product sold to the customers, who are advertisers. If you agree to be treated like a product, I can't help you. You need to assess your own life to determine why you hold yourself in such low esteem.
Garrulous (Eritrea)
"Now they are rich enough..." Ah, but here is the author's/editors' fatal error: those who occupy the ruling strata are never, ever rich enough. Let's not pretend that this phenomenon is a new one. The ultra-wealthy have been applying their vast spoils towards the advancement of their vast egos since Crassus was killed at Carrhae. Ah, ça ira, ça ira, ça ira....
pjtawney (Colton. OR)
I used a profanity. It asked me if I really wanted to use it. I did. And then I deleted the Ap. I won't use it again. Because facts DON'T have a liberal bias. There are no alternative facts. The idea that being able to lie without boundaries is freedom is stupid Elon! So, that is enough of that. Twitter needs to go and take this guy with him. To big to fail is about to be tested.
Futbolistaviva (SF, CA)
This news is hilarious. Elon Musk paid 44 billion for a wannbe insult comic and fake news platform. He bought the proverbial swampland or more accurately, sewer. Oh, I don't use Twitter and never will. Call me old, whatever you choose. Ok millemnials enjoy yourself in perpetual angst over "tweets". America is in such decline.
A (Texas)
Many young smart happy successful people also do not use twitter
Bob (San Francisco, CA)
@Futbolistaviva These titans of industry aren't really what they're cracked up to be. They're just flailing humans like the rest of us, only they have more money and more expensive toys.
Owen (California)
Around here, Tesla’s Fremont, CA assembly plant is known for both its high number of workplace accidents and OHSA violations, not to mention systematic discrimination against its Black employees (you can get the boy out of South Africa, but you never really get South Africa out of the boy, right?). If Musk were serious about bettering humanity he could at least start with his own company, otherwise all his utopian talk is just self-profiteering and lip service.
Smilodon7 (Gilead, The State Formerly Known As Missouri)
Yes why did he think it was just fine for him to open up early when everyone else was staying closed? Does the law not apply to him? I’m sick of these billionaires thinking that they are above the law! He showed no care for his employees whatsoever-I’m sure many had elderly family they lived with. Musk didn’t care about his people, he cared only about his money and making more cars.
Dorothy Wiese (San Antonio)
@Owen Republicans will take care of OSHA and the Federalist Society SCOTUS the civil rights violations.
No one saw Oligarchs controlling the U.S. coming……
S May (NYC)
@PDM And Republicans just love it. Trouble ahead.
northlander (Michigan)
What if Musk just wants to bury this dog?
nerdrage (SF)
@northlander When he runs it into the ground, he'll say he meant to.
sam beal (California)
or countrys
Alf Alpha (Midwest)
On another comments thread, the commenter Socrates reminds us that 30 people have as much money as the rest of us. As humans we have the gift of individuality yet somehow acting collectively in our own interests seems to be a trick yet mastered.
Mostly (Henderson, NV)
Just vote with your wallet and your track bar. Tesla cars use liquid state batteries that become overgrown thermobaric welders in ocean water. Twitter relies on boredom. Read paper books and ride your bicycle and you'll be fine. Opt out of those group texts. Make yourself a cup of tea. Tend your potted herbs. Get yourself an IP phone that cannot receive texts or emails. Look on Youtube for recommendations on a stereo in your price range and buy used CD's from a brick and mortar store. And don't put anything over eyes other than your glasses.
susan Hunter (atlanta)
Call them what they are: USA's own Oligarchs.
Beckjord (Boulder)
so elon's twitter won't have guardrails to shut down disinformation and hate speech? sounds like trash TV has come to twitter, and elon musk is the jerry springer of social media.
Enid (usa)
"If you have billions of dollars these days, however, belief in yourself is never in short supply." That seems upside down. Billions come from belief in yourself rather than the other way around, at least in the Elon's case.
Smilodon7 (Gilead, The State Formerly Known As Missouri)
Starting with a pile of money helps. I’d be a lot more impressed if he started off broke.
Enid (usa)
@Smilodon7 But he did. Je had no money when he came to North America.
atk (Chicago)
Not long ago, NYT and other newspapers worshiped people of power. Huge photos of CEOs and powerful democratic politicians appeared on front pages with commentaries of their greatness. Here is Chicago I once spoked to a Chicago Tribune veteran journalist who was dispatched to the Middle East for about a decade in the late 1980's. Before he left, he was a labor writer. After he returned the wasn't allowed to use the word "labor" anymore in the description of his writing specialty and he became a "business writer". The newspaper changed its profile and strained away from writing about true problems of everyday life of average people.
morGan (NYC)
We shouldn't give credence to a middle-aged clown who is too intoxicated by his sudden wealth. As far as I am concerned he is neither a genius nor a true entrepreneur. Just an ego-driven publicity hog like the TIC. TIC ref Twice impeached criminal.
Chris (Philadelphia)
More lies and propaganda, that's what I'm afraid of. An unrestricted Twitter would be another nail in the coffin of our beloved democracy.
Stue Potts (Megalopolis)
I wish he would just stick to manipulating the stock market.
JTCheek (VA)
@Stue Potts Well, he's done a horrible job of that lately. Tesla's stock is down 44 percent year to date. I hope he's better at running Twitter than he is at manipulating Tesla stock.
northlander (Michigan)
The fly has captured the flypaper.
Brian Forest (new york)
You are only as weak, as you allow yourself to be, Twitter means nothing to me, i do not consume it.
Smilodon7 (Gilead, The State Formerly Known As Missouri)
But your neighbors do and they vote
RonS (PDX)
Plutocrats who meddle with our democracy and create propaganda machines belong in jail or stripped of their citizenship and kicked out. Using their wealth to destroy democracy should not be tolerated.
Keith M. (Miami)
As of this morning, I deleted my Twitter account and the app from my mobile phone.
AACNY (New York)
@Keith M. Progressives cancelling *themselves* is something to behold.
Philip K (Scottsdale, Arizona)
In a world of Elon Musks, be a Warren Buffet.
Moore Waite (Massachusetts)
Twitter will serve as a reminder how reliant we are on accounts that look like but aren’t actually ours. When Musk gets bored and closes the site, it will be little different than Google closing beta services, or banning users (it happens). What is life like when a service owner can shut off your access to your DMs or emails or movie files, with malice or not, with notice or not. The “public square” extends beyond speech rewarded or punished in it to access to the square in the first place. Musk does what he wants, and with no shareholders, people will appreciate what “censorship” actually means (it’s not your politics but whether the owner thinks you should communicate or have access at all). Since no one reads terms of service and the government takes a light touch to user protection online, that’s the insidious issue with the new private Twitter. Too bad there’s so many political comments today about liberal censorship or Trump’s ban, or irrelevant arguments about Soros’s donations or why Musk should’ve used his $4.20 bid to stop plastics pollution. Would you want one person in control of every one of your Google connected services? I wouldn’t.
marie-claude garneau (Paris)
I can't imagine a Musk-owned Twitter being any less objective than the editorial boards of most newspapers (NYT included). If people feel that he's ruined the platform they'll leave.
AACNY (New York)
@marie-claude garneau The American Left has a problem with viewpoint bias. It cannot tolerate dissent. It cannot abide freedom of thought or opinion. It is like a weed, strangling all the new growth.
P McGrath (USA)
No, the moguls that were censoring people who were censoring Twitter users who disagreed with far-left woke ideology are gone.
Sasha F. (Califnoria)
Let's not bother to mention that this purchase, as those by others, is for control of the media. That's our form of communication, source of information and, oh yes, control of what forms our opinions. Did I forget to mention, as did the article, our politics and speedy heading into a total lack of democracy?
Andy Jay (Denver)
“Having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization" Well, that single statement is a testament to Mr. Musk's delusional perspective, and enormous ego.
Nancy (California)
@Andy Jay What if he’s correct?
Sometimes it rains (NY)
Talk about changing the world. This dude is incredible. Tesla, Starlink, the Boring company, now Twitter... Is he an alien?
Eileen (NJ)
@Sometimes it rains You understand he just bought these companies with his inherited wealth. He has not created or invented anything.
Robert (Out West)
No, he’s another of those darn immy-grants we so often hear attacked.
SR (Boston)
A capitalist serves a great purpose in society - his or her job is to aggregate resources in the best way possible and to optimize profit. Musk is just playing his role. In fact better that Twitter belongs to an individual such as Musk and see where he takes it than have an AOL buy Time Warner and take it nowhere. This article seems to be just the liberal left hand wringing as usual.
Dwight McFee (Toronto)
@SR Really. You still believe that or offer it as a rationalization for trickle up?
Kristen (Montana)
@SR In the last 4 decades, typical hourly pay rose 17%, productivity rose 62% and CEO compensation 1460%. Clearly it’s working out great!
HSK (Asbury Park)
@sr Taking capital from one entity and using it to vastly overpay for the capital of another entity because of hubris actually disproves the idea that capitalism leads to efficient resource allocation. Tough to think of a better example.
Abraham quisling (Norwegia)
“Now they are rich enough, and perhaps arrogant enough, to acquire companies they fancy.” Companies and elected officials.
AACNY (New York)
@Abraham quisling Arrogance of the rich is less obnoxious than the arrogance of those who have never built anything, never invested their own money in anything and never created anything. So many pretend landlords and business owners, who could do neither.
Calworkman (Smartypants)
I don't recall all this hand-wringing when Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post. Even here it barely gets a passing mention. And Bezos's transformation of WaPo into a leftist opinion platform has been undeniable and easily measured; Musk's "destruction" of Twitter is entirely speculative.
Madge (NE)
@Calworkman I don’t imagine you read the Post too often if you think it’s a leftist opinion platform. No publication in this country meets that definition, most definitely not the Post or the Times. By any standard definition of “left” and “right”, they’re centrists; in the current climate, they’re center-right, since that seems to be the prevailing drift of the audience demographic they aim for.
Kevin (Sun Diego)
All the fuss over Twitter is proof of how important it was to promote Democratic Party values and silence dissenting opinions. It’s very entertaining seeing so many people upset that Twitter will become a place where people can talk openly about everything.
Bill Mosby (Salt Lake City, UT)
@Kevin Sure. Let them freely publish your name, address, and other personal information and see what happens. There are plenty of examples of the harm that has come to people on other unregulated platforms.
Ziggy (PDX)
Where’s the line between conservative opinion and hate speech?
Reality (Taos, NM)
@Kevin Please, it's importance is to promote human values. You can refer to Jesus Christ for examples.
Dominic (Astoria, NY)
These people aren't moguls- they're oligarchs- and oligarchy is toxic to democracy. It's time to elect public officials who will tax these oligarchs back down to earth, and regulate and tax their out of control industries, as well as strengthen unions and worker's rights and wages. It's time for the vast majority of the people to have a say in our government, our nation, and our society again. Enough of the billionaire boys.
Ab2022 (NJ)
GOP keeps singing song of Reagon’s trickle down economics. What have seen so far? People like Musk will ruin Twitter because they can and will ruin lives of many who worked there. Sears, GE, Kodak, MCI are all victims of corp greed and rich benefiting themselves at the expense of us. Musk is no exception. I drive Tesla bit it has the worst customer service ever known in the car industry.
Thick Brick (Glen Cove, NY)
Conservatives are so afraid of having a tyrannical government that they’ve walked right into letting moguls own everything. A bad president can be voted out of office, but now we’re stuck with Elon. As long as he has lots of money, he has control of the public discourse.
RSB (New Hampshire)
@Thick Brick You are right about the danger of Moguls owning everything. But Bezos, Zuckerberg, Wojcicki, and Brin all lean left and have a huge influence on public opinion. They've controlled their monopolies for years. Why wasn't there outcry on the left about these moguls owning everything before? Citizens united must be overturned but until then, a pressure relief valve was needed to balance the one sided control of social media. Musk is by no means far right, he'd be classified as a liberal before the progressives pulled the party to the left.
Opinioned! (NYC)
This a case of “the showoff must go on.” After Musk manipulated the stock market by a tweet that said he plans to buy Twitter, this criminal wanted to pull out, making all excuses about fake accounts and such despite waving his due diligence. A lawsuit ensued forcing him to either face litigation or proceed with the sale. In order to avoid “the discovery process” that will unmask him for the fraud that he is, Musk was then forced, by his own doing, to shell out $44B for a website that is heading into irrelevancy. Musk will then destroy Twitter. And Twitter will then destroy Musk. So delicious.
Kappy (Los Angeles)
I'm sorry, but liberals (a group that I consider myself a part of) just absolutely foam at the mouth when it comes to talking about Elon Musk and how horrible and terrible of a person he is. The entire tone of this article, and the others in the NYT today, is, to sum it up, nitpicking every single thing he does and says and finding a million reasons why that's terrible. I understand that he has said and done things that are not the model of the perfectly polished businessman. But the problem is - liberals are stuck so deeply in this narrative that even if he had been the most polished, professional and caring person his entire career, he would still be the boogeyman and you would still be finding a million reasons to complain about him! I never - never - understood why the far right had been driven so crazy as to believe the insane conspiracy theories that they do. But I'm starting to understand (not agree - just a basic understanding) what they've been saying all of these years. I'm sorry, but the "establishment" media, as the far right wing says, does indeed come off as (on the whole) arrogant, dismissive and frankly people that just want to complain about how horrible it is that somebody could have a different viewpoint as them.
Rene (Jersey City)
@Kappy We're not talking about different viewpoints. In recent days, the man who now owns an extremely influential media has inserted himself in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and the situation between Taiwan and China. Scary doesn't begin to describe it.
RSB (New Hampshire)
@Rene "has inserted himself in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine" He proposed peace talks. Keep pushing and you'll get the war you desire and at least you'll have been justified in principle.
Robert (Out West)
FYI, the point actually is that olograchs should not be running everything, and have the giantest bullhorn in town, and making decisions that change our lives all on their lonesome.
If we’d learned….in High School, that Oligarchs (in the 30s) attempted to overthrow F.D.R, our most popular president who stood up to Big Business.
John (Spain)
It is so curious that the same kind of ultrawealthy are "oligarchs" in Russia while in the States are " moguls".
Conservative Independent (Hard Left "Paradise")
To hyper-online progressive journalists, Twitter is their world. To them, Elon Musk is buying the world. For the rest of us...Who cares? Rich Businessman Buys Company...not exactly a shocking headline.
William (Lowell, MI)
Two words, Americans: "Progressive" and "Taxation."
pjtawney (Colton. OR)
Two words Americans: Conservative and Tyranny.
DKM (NE Ohio)
That the USA - its people and political entities - does not view wealth properly, as power that can topple governments and wreak havoc, is testimony to a failure to know or pay attention to history. Why would anyone believe that an individual should have billions of dollars? Multi-millions? It is abhorrent; it is dangerous; it is beyond foolish. But therein lies the strength of non-regulated capitalism: the few will prosper amazingly, and the rest will burn.
Paul (Cape Cod)
@DKM Every democracy in the world has billionaires. How could they be prevented? Musk was an early investor in Tesla, and his stock appreciated dramatically over time. The appreciated value of the shares is not taxable until the shares are sold. A few European countries still have a wealth tax, but they are all in the range of 2-5% per year, which would have had a modest impact on Musk's total wealth if we had one in the US. The federal government can't confiscate assets owned by private citizens just because they are wealthy. The Constitution prohibits it.
Paul (Dallas)
Why shouldn't Musk own Twitter? He is after all one of the most successful tech entrepreneurs of all time. His other companies have revolutionized online payments, private space exploration, and popularized electric vehicles. Some might say he's a genius. But, oh yeah. Twitter is the left's playground and he's not a leftist. This should be fun.
Ella (NYC)
American oligarchs are now controlling the media. Democracy is crumbling and we stand by like sheep. As long as we have enough to chew on….
Muffy McGuffin (Vancouver, WA)
My thoughts are that social media has destablized personal identify formation in the 21st century and we will pay a heavy price for it, something vaguely akin to the price the world paid when identity formation was destablilized by forming one country out of 39 nation states in Germany. Will the price be a couple more world wars, or maybe just eruptions of street violence like "storming the capital" based mass delusions like QAnon and Stop the Steal (all fomented on social media)? It's not hard to predict major social upheaval. Let's see what happens in American politics over the next two years, it won't be pretty. Then what happens when the ultra rich get their greedy paws on tools for major manipulation of entire populations? We are already teetering on the brink of a major social and economic collapse. Time to wake up or should we wait a few more centuries?
Emma (Memphis, TN)
@Muffy McGuffin What are some crucial mechanisms of our personal identity formation? Our development of the self through interactions with others and our emulations of those we admire. Perhaps social media has to some degree destabilized personal identity formation, but we could also reframe it as hyper-stabilizing personal identity formation. Hyper-stabilizing to the point where one's personal identity is so closely linked with the identity of groups and those they want to emulate that one would feel so impassioned as to participate in "major social upheaval". In other words, I think this is a trend that we've been approaching now for a while--the rate at which we're reaching hyper-stabilization of personal identity formation has only been bolstered with the emergence of social media.
Now Musk can stop the cancel culture at Twitter.
pjtawney (Colton. OR)
OR, the cancel culture old just delete the AP. It was easy. I deleted it this morning. It felt good. You don't have to delete your account, just Uninstall the AP. It all goes away. But you're afraid aren't you. News organizations with their millions of employees are afraid to delete it. Afraid they'll miss something, even if it's lies. We have the power! Don't watch FOX, Delete the AP.
Joinery Piling Up (Charlottesville)
@RP You mean the republican agenda of autocracy
Bruce (Mpls)
Congratulations to Elon Musk for spending $44 billion on a message board. I could've found you a couple of high school kids to build you one from scratch for a couple hundred bucks. Then you could've spent a billion dollars promoting it. So, basically, you spent $43 billion more than you had too. Shrewd!
Frank (Boston)
Who controls Slack and how can we get Thiel to buy it and prevent the KGB wing of journalists from using it to destroy their normie colleagues?
Tom Q (Minneapolis, MN)
Imagine if they paid their fair share of taxes. Imagine if we had the same kind of tax breaks they enjoy. I guess, for the rest of us, all we have left is our imagination.
Paul (Cape Cod)
@Tom Q The primary "tax break" that billionaires like Musk have is that appreciated capital assets are not taxed until sold. Every country in the G20 has that same tax provision.
Dignity4All (Cummings, GA)
Two comments: (1) 240 million people is far from ~8 billion people (total population on Earth). (2) 240 million people can quickly become 120 million, or 1 million, or even a fewer number - it only depends on their own free will to decide if they wish to partake in Musk's dystopian"world".
Paul Wortman (Providence)
Weren't the moguls already "unleashed" long ago with Jeff Bezos purchasing the Washington Post with other social media like Facebook and Google in the hands of billionaires as well? We have recreated on a global scale the era of the Robber Barons where, for example, three men hold more wealth than the bottom half of Americans, and where wealthy authoritarians like Musk and Donald Trump and his Republican surrogates like Mehmet Oz openly ridicule the disabilities and poverty of others. American democracy is now under serious threat not just from Elon Musk, but the entirety of the American oligarchy whose money blessed by the Supreme Court controls and corrupts so much of our politics. Whether or not we've passed the "tipping point" will be known soon with the midterms elections in a few days.
Alf Alpha (Midwest)
@Paul Wortman It took Andrew Carnegie suffering a guilty conscience for America to get public libraries. That was in the 1880s.
@Paul Wortman I wish everyone would include Rupert Murdoch in this mess!!!
Macaulay (Tribeca)
Liberals are accustomed to having an absolute monopoly on what counts as "respectable" discourse, enthusiastically censoring whatever information contradicts their preferred narrative, no matter how fanciful that narrative may be. Musk's purchase of Twitter is the only recent development that threatens to breach the extremely high walls that liberals have erected around their public playground. For that reason alone, this is a wonderful development.
Robert (Out West)
Ah, yes. How very picked-on Rupert Murdoch is, what a small, lonely, desperate voice crying against the fall of commie night. Knight-Ridder? Doesn’t exist. The “Wash Times?” Doesn’t exist. There is no FOX, no Breitbart, no Trinity Broadcasting. There are no videos like, “2000 Mules,” no Ann Coulter, no Patriot Network. No “Left Behind,” books. No siree bib, ain’t none of that there.
Matt (Oregon)
Nothing new under the sun. The ultra-wealthy have long controlled the press- anyone remember William Randolph Hearst?
Luxembourg (Santa Barbara)
@Matt The guy with the big mansion out here in CA?
Michael Skadden (Houston, Texas)
As Marx rightly showed, in the capitalist system the rich acquire an increasing amount of power and wealth, while the poor and the working class simply get poorer and more desperate. In the end, again quoting Marx, they will have nothing to lose but their chains, and change will come -one way or another.
RSB (New Hampshire)
@Michael Skadden The Russian people sure lost a lot more than their chains after the revolution. Capitalism for all it's faults has still proven itself superior to communism. Marx can be right about Capitalism and still be wrong about his proposed solution.
Michael Skadden (Houston, Texas)
@RSB Try the social democratic countries of Northern Europe. After all, social democrats also spring from Marx. Here in the United States, however, people have been brainwashed to think socialism means North Korea.
Paul Smith (Austin, Texas)
Elon Musk is the prototypical Bond villain. But as distasteful as I find every aspect of his personality, he's doing good things for our planet by speeding our transition to electric vehicles.
Eric Vonderhoff (Washington, DC)
I don’t understand what value Twitter brings to anyone, maybe because I have never used it. I read about some things people have written on Twitter and usually say so what. So what if Trump used to rant on it.
Purple Patriot (Colorado)
Controlling Twitter himself gives Musk a lot of unchecked power. It's concerning because his political views are unknown but he has shown signs of leaning Right of center if not far Right. He may not be interested in a truly free public forum to discuss issues and events. Instead, if he chooses, Twitter could become a platform for right-wing disinformation, another version of Fox News. Musk could find himself another Roger Ailes to smear opponents and suppress certain viewpoints while spreading carefully crafted lies to benefit the GOP. The damage done by Fox is enormous. An equally corrupted Twitter could make matters much worse.
pjtawney (Colton. OR)
Delete the AP.
Mike (Newport)
And liberals are truly interested in free discussion? See higher education where it’s liberal views or nothing.
Renee M (CA)
This will end badly for American business. Most Silicon Valley “moguls” are just ordinary people who happened to be in the right place at the right time with someone else’s right idea. Sycophants on their payroll and in the media have convinced these ordinary mortals that they are geniuses and gods. Hubris is not a brilliant business plan.
Jessi Layne (Michigan)
Musk was never an ordinary person; he’s the product of an apartheid, emerald mine, slave labor inheritance. And he hasn’t invented a thing; it’s all marketing.
Renee M (CA)
@Jessi Layne Musk, despite his extraordinary family history, is still an ordinary person. And I never said he invented anything, I said the opposite.
Skater242 (NJ)
Just imagine if he actually had the liquid assets to but the company. This is practically all leveraged against his Tesla holdings.
Ivan (Meacham)
I believe most thinking and informed people are finally waking up to the horrifyingly, exponentially growing polarization of wealth and its horrors, that letting megalomaniacs control most facets of life and politics is absolutely insane. This has to stop. Auden: "We must love one another or die."
pjtawney (Colton. OR)
Delete the AP
T Cat (Tempe)
@Ivan most thinking and informed people have known that for quite awhile. Its the rest of the people who are neither thinking or informed, too exhausted by the daily rat race to nowhere to pay attention, that are the problem. This is by design.
actspeakup (boston, ma)
Just imagine if Elon Musk has put his money into eliminating the negative effects of plastics in all the things we buy....with effects including how it is killing the ocean and is now in many of the fish we eat. Just imagine if Elon Musk had used some of this money for making sure every woman in the USA had pre--natal care and every child truly good, enriching and safe pre-school. Just imagine if Elon Musk had used the money for changing our toxic food manufacturing system...so we wouldn't be so sick, obese and bankrupting the nation with out of control health care costs. Just imagine if Elon Musk had tried to ensure that climate change (yes, beyond the Tesla thing) not about to become (or is) the imminent nightmare to most of us - addressing desalinization or some other significant technology. But no - he had to buy this platform that is essentially unncessary, and he will probably allow the civilizational destructive force that is Trump back on to further his toxic and delusional aims. Elon Musk has proven again that he is part of the problem and not the solution, which is ironic since he seems to tie his self-worth or at least justify himself by saying he is addressing humanities' challenges. Turns out, his own disease and delusion is getting in the way. And thus, the danger of anti-democracy has a new poster boy. Tragic when intelligence and opportunity gets harnessed to the wrong an wasteful things.
William✅ (Chicago)
Actsoeakup: The Tesla thing? The Tesla thing? Seriously? To be so dismissive of the ‘thing’ that started and is leading the world toward clean transportation technology as if it is an insignificant contribution simple exposes a bias that renders the rest of what that person says as irrelevant.
Alex Humboldt (Ivory Tower)
@William✅ Trains are by far more important than luxury electric automobiles for correcting the effects of transportation on anthropogenic climate change, Tesla is just a prestige project.
TW (Oakland)
@actspeakup The US government spent over 6 Trillion dollars last year and will spend the same or more every year. Why doesn’t the US government solve these issues? Why hold a person, albeit of tremendous paper wealth, to unobtainable standards when we have so little expectations for the vastly greater wealth expended every year by our elected government?
Heidi (California)
One can only hope that the big, egomaniac "sharks" are eating each other. I might not be the only one, who was excited about the social media platforms in the beginning, but got bored and does not waste time on them anymore.
manfred marcus (Bolivia)
Pity the 'rich', enslaved by "things", just to fill the deep vacuum within, are now into buying 'companies they fancy'? Of course, it would be nepharious if the acquisition of Social Media, supposedly there to entertain, now aims to confuse the public by spreading disinformation (look it up!), and, obviously, silly nonsense to keep the 'clueless' addicted to their platforms...for the money. Who would have thought, such a valuable addition to our everyday lives, the Internet, could, simultaneously, be such an instrument to deceive us into believing so much scrap. Let this be a warning, so we eake up, pay attention, educate ourselves by seeking varous sources away from Social Media...'known' to tell the truth based on the facts. After all, we want and need to be informed about what's going on in the real world, so we may contribute to everybody's wellbeing, impart some justice for a change.
TexLeeger (NH)
Deals and deals. Deals on deals. Bigger. Better. Grander. Deals more stupendous than billionaire rivals. How to up the others? Ah...the most grandihumgungous deal of all. Purchase the US government! Preposterous! Impossible! Hyperbole you say? Well...let's just consult Peter Thiel...hyper billionaire and citizen of countries beyond yours and mine...and see what's on his mind.
@TexLeeger The US government is nothing but people, most of whom have already been sold to big donors. Big donors have owned our government for at least 20 if not 30 years. Sigh.
Shonuff (New York)
The end goal is clearly that tech can be deployed to do what it used to take millions of people to accomplish all for the benefit of the billionaire class. People who talk about "the good of the people," do not get it. Theil, the Mercers, Musk, Bezos, Zuckerberg have no other aim to exterminate the useless eaters so they can have the entire planet to themselves. That will also have the benefit of solving the carbon crisis. Just get rid of 9 billion people.
Alex (M)
Bravo! The soft coup is complete now. CNN bought by a rightwing conservative and Twitter by Elon Musk. The groundwork has been laid for the GOP to win the midterms and then effectively get rid of the liberal democracy that the U.S. has enjoyed the past few decades and install their conservative hate-driven autocracy. God help us all in the U.S. and around the world. Except if you’re a white straight rich male, no need to worry then, you’ll be fine in the new regime.
Mike (Newport)
You sound as extreme as the trumper election deniers. Neither extreme is beneficial to our democracy.
Robert (Out West)
The claim about cnn is untrue.
Janna (Snow country)
Twitter wasn’t owned by ‘the people.’ It was a gatekeeper for progressive orthodoxy. Guess what? The Progressive ideology is being pummeled. We’ll all be watching the Red Wedding in one week, and I assure you, the Left has only ourselves to blame. Twitter just banned a satire site, the Babylon Bee, a few days ago. Oh, the delicious irony! Top Twitter brass were shown the door yesterday, and I imagine the Bee is back up, or will be soon. Musk owning Twitter makes him look like some kind of Messiah to (at least) over half our country. If the Post, or the Times, or any Network did a real job of journalism and keeping people’s trust, then they wouldn’t look to one guy to save them.
Robert (Out West)
It’s funny how many people claim to be lefties and then start rounding up the usual right-wing suspects. Not funny ha-ha, but funny.
2 words: Made in America! (New Orleans)
They used to buy television networks and newspapers like the WP and the NYT - those purchases by moguls we approve. But these new moguls who don't toe the line? Who do they think they are!
Sixofone (The Village)
Yep. Well, bye-bye democracy. It was good knowing you.
Allan B (Newport RI.)
If he lets Trump back on Twitter, he can kiss goodbye to a large number of Democrat voting potential Tesla buyers. Tesla isnt the only electric car option anymore.
This is exactly why I will never buy a Tesla.
Mark Lowenstein (Brookline, MA)
Track record on some of the billionaire vanity projects you mentioned in this piece, in terms of whether it was good for the company & consumers: Case-Time Warner: Bad; Bezos-Post: Good; Bezos-Whole Foods: Bad; Zuck-Instagram: Good; Benioff-Time: better than it was with Meredith; Soon-Shiong-LA Times: waaay beter than 'Tronc'.
Sean Malloy (Kentucky)
“It came about whimsically, impulsively.” The pretense of naivete doesn’t really work on the pages of the stately gray lady. The outlines of a vast global ultra wealthy right wing conspiracy to control and ‘manage’ are coming into focus despite the blurring noise created by the navel-focused remnants of US media.
mark (California)
Am I wrong in thinking that the only actual asset Twitter has are the people using it. if you fire all the employees who's job it is to run it and prevent it from becoming another Stormfront will the people who are the product and the advertisers they attract stay around?
pjtawney (Colton. OR)
Exactly! Just delete the AP. I did it this morning. It was easy. Delete the AP. Have some integrity people. You don't watch FOX, You don't subscribe to certain newspapers. So why don't you just Delete the AP?
It has to be said that Musk's offer for Twitter was actually a joke that went bad. A few years ago, he was fined for saying he would take Tesla private at $420 a share. His offer for Twitter was $54.20. ("420" is slang for smoking pot. His big mouth caused him to make a very bad deal, paying much too much for the company.
Ellen (Oregon)
Musk has the money to buy twitter but we have the power to never use it again. Help take a bite out of unfettered ego-driven capitalism: close your account and urge media like the New York Times to never link to twitter again. Let’s lower musk’s net worth by 44 billion.
tavo (Toronto)
Musk is not arrogant. He is humble
William James (Boston)
All the evidence seems to point in the opposite direction…
awcg (PA)
Why do journalists repeatedly fail to remind readers that Tesla Motors, SpaceX, and SolarCity have received billions of dollars from government loans, contracts, tax credits, and subsidies? He would not have become the richest man in the world without our tax dollars.
DD (New Jersey)
@awcg Worse yet, he wants to take his rent-seeking skills to Twitter. I believe he said at some point that he would charge governments to use Twitter, which is why he keeps hyping the 'public square' description of Twitter. Musk's real genius isn't in developing companies (he buys them), it's in marketing them (and himself). Hmmm...a privately owned public square. Ridiculous.
T Cat (Tempe)
@awcg Thank you for mentioning this. Journalists so routinely ignore that aspect of wealth I fear it is almost intentional. They could devote a single sentence to it but they don't. Such is the soft power of obscene wealth, fear of career suicide by pointing out distasteful facts to the public.
MB (Anywhere But Here)
The 19th century robber barons were a largely despicable lot, but at least they actually built and created things like railroads, shipyards, and steel. Today, we get a useless Meta and anti-Semitic / racist trolling on Twitter. No wonder humanity is failing.
Humming (Colorado)
We need to elect Democrats who will tax the billionaires
Frank (NYC)
@Humming The top one percent of taxpayers pay 40% of all federal income taxes. The remaining 90% pay just 28% of all federal income.
Renee M (CA)
@Frank An honest statement would be : the top 1% receive 21% of all American income, and pay 24% of all taxes. It is dishonest to cherry-pick just income tax, which workers actually work for, but the wealthy receive for existing. The wealthy also get vastly more back from the government than that 3% difference in the form of socialist redistribution upward of workers’ tax dollars to the wealthy’s businesses. Facts matter.
MattMI (Royal Oak, MI)
What percent of income do the wealthy pay vs regular folks? If you have a job you pay tax on every dime you make. If you are a billionaire you can weasel out of paying taxes on your income. Those who earn more should pay more regardless of how they earned it and regardless of how they are paid.
John Clarke (CT)
I am curious as to what makes Elon Musk a "silicon valley mogul". He lives in Texas and the main offices of Tesla are there, while the main offices of SpaceX are near Los Angeles, not in "silicon valley".
HSK (Asbury Park)
Most finance people are not on “Wall Street” and most Hollywood stars do not live in “Hollywood.”
itsmildeyes (philadelphia)
Control of the Zeitgeist. Kind of makes him God.
Reader (Anonymous)
I doubt arrogant would be the adjective had Joy Reid purchased Twitter.
Renee M (CA)
@Reader You missed the part where Reid has not spent her entire life being arrogant, whereas Elon has. Reid’s success is her own, Elon’s is others’.
Technic Ally (Toronto)
musk /məsk/ noun 1. a strong-smelling reddish-brown substance which is secreted by the male musk deer for scent-marking and is an important ingredient in perfumery. 2. a relative of the monkey flower that was formerly cultivated for its musky perfume, which has been lost in the development of modern varieties. From Oxford Languages
John D (San Diego)
One does not require “arrogance” to purchase a company. I’m sure comrade Streitfeld’s article will resonate positively among the NYT core readership, but the entire point of having capital is to “unleash” it.
Kent Hancock (Oklahoma)
Is looming Oligarchy a good thing for American democracy? I think not.
Thick Brick (Glen Cove, NY)
They are buying whole countries.
DennisD (Joplin, MO)
I worry, in general, about the outsize influence that billionaires have, whether that's Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Trump (if he still qualifies as a billionaire), etc. Oligarchy is not fully compatible with democracy. Nor is this new. In the late 1890s and early 1900s, it was the elite group of mega-millionaires such as the Rockefellers, Morgans, Carnegies, and Vanderbuilts calling the shots, with industrialists like Henry Ford and J. Paul Getty later taking the helm. And all of those people had agendas, personally and financially. Likewise, in more recent years, the Koch brothers poured their resources into casting doubt on climate change to accommodate their petrochemical empire. Amidst all of this, it's hard for me to feel too sorry for Twitter, or Silicon Valley's libertarian streak in general, since the prevailing attitude is that technology solves any problem, and that same technology is apparently always for sale to the highest bidder. But this does lead back to one point that now seems forgotten in this deregulated era: monopolies are bad for business and bad for society. We need stricter regulations that are enforced to keep a handful of people from snapping up multiple sectors of the economy and then acting like villains in a James Bond movie.
David Henry (Concord)
Let's have a contest. Call it the "last man standing." Who will control the capitalist world? With any luck the winner may be able to charge $100 for a bottle of aspirin for all our headaches.
Steve Koralishn (derry, NH)
@David Henry It will most likely be a bottle of water!
Thick Brick (Glen Cove, NY)
Free market capitalism is over when one person owns everything, and we all work for the same company. Conservatives never mention that.
Candy Neville (Eugene, Oregon)
Ernest Z (Sacramento CA)
Retired public school teacher, 67 year old male, West Coast Progressive, Tesla owner here… Twitter strikes me as an overcrowded, overheated multipurpose room, teeming with students. Loud and boisterous, to the point no one can hear anything other than noise. There’s no point, if you choose to stay, in trying to communicate. It’s all chaos and cacophony. Might as well kick back and let it be… OR, do what I’d do. Step outside, close the door, and go for a walk. Take in some sunshine and fresh air. Watch some kids play in the park. Stop now and then and look around you. Listen to the sounds of nature, quite conversations, distant laughter… enjoy, you know, The REAL WORLD. Control and affect what is within your grasp. Make choices that are good for you and don’t harm others. Let go of the rest of it.
goose droppings (Ottawa)
I think Musk should now acquire Proctor & Gamble, as he just bought himself a big headache.
Paul (Cape Cod)
I have always thought that Twitter was an abomination, yet another social media company ruining long admired standards for language and grammar. Then came authors posting long Tweet "threads" which made everything worse. It has been my long desire that Twitter go out of business, and I think having Musk own it has improved the odds. However, I am delighted that the public stockholders have all been cashed out.
TJK (Hunt Valley MD)
After realizing that most of the US journalism has been reduced to Twitter as first resource for information, I am all for a supreme Twitter implosion into absolutely nothing. I would also ask NYTimes, WAPost and other "responsible" free press corporations to force their employees to cancel Twitter accounts immediately.
TJK (Hunt Valley MD)
@TJK I should add, all PBS, NPR to cancel Twitter accounts.
DD (New Jersey)
@TJK Mainstream media Twitter its clout. They started quoting people from the platform (by their Twitter handles!) instead of interviewing people. I remember I stopped using Twitter when it got too chaotic.
Adam Stoler (Bronx Urban Warrior)
unfettered uncheck capitalism Not good for the markets, for investors nor countries. Little to no upsides. So what wee gonna do about it? Eg Twitter: watch it descend into the financial basement...and linger there as users other than TFG, flee in droves....
Multi billionaires America's oligarchs united with political power can be a path to fascism. Billionaires can hire teams of lawyers and be major donors to politicians that then owe them total loyalty. The risk to being an everyday citizen is you have little power vs a billionaire who has an agenda to advance their interests. A strong central democratic govt is the force that can stand up to powerful billionaires and the GOP wants a small weak govt so the rich and powerful can have their way on every issue including controlling the Supreme Court using dark money. Citizens United spelled the beginning of the end of democracy as we know it.
Cab (NYC)
The concentration of power in smaller numbers of people is dangerous. People change and today’s benevolent despot can morph into tomorrow’s tyrannical overlord and rarely does the change go the other way. Hyper individualism, unregulated capitalism and personal power can, in combination, place us all under the thumb of the next Putin.
Ravi (Fresno)
A semi-crazy person, very rich, with no limitations now has a company that can spread information - true/false- very rapidly and effectively. What can go wrong?
We are just mere earthlings living in a billionaires’ world. We may think we have some control but that is all just an illusion the billionaires’ created so they can have it all. But guess what? I’m way happier living a “mediocre” life with real friends and a loving family! Maybe we get the last laugh after all. *insert shrugging emoji*
Smilodon7 I (Gilead, The State Formerly Known As Missouri)
Only if the billionaires allow you enough so you can have a family. Children are expensive.
Cindy c (New Rochelle)
Facebook (Meta) is facing real existential threat due to stalled growth and questionable investments into the metaverse.. what if folks just signed off and stopped using Twitter? I've been surprised that Musk has been so public and unafraid of personalizing his companies and brands. People could just decide they don't want to deal with it and take their social elsewhere. And not buy Teslas too.
Paul (Cape Cod)
@Cindy c Telsa's are very good EVs. I don't own one but people should make their car buying decisions understanding that Musk owns about 15% of the company. The other 85% is owned by the public. The stock is traded on NASDAQ:TSLA. Regarding Twitter I hope everyone closes their account.
Eddy (Oakland CA)
What's sort of hilarious about it all is that Elon finally did it to himself. He wound up having to finally take responsibility for what was probably a completely random knee-jerk decision to buy a company he probably really didn't want. And since its been completely clear from comments he's made that he wants to let the crazies back on Twitter he has doomed the company to failure since literally everyone I know who still had an account just closed theirs. This is going to case a massive loss of users to a platform already struggling and gaining a few conservative users, gleeful over the prospects of reading crazy tweets- isn't going to save it. This is one gamble that will cost him billions and in the end Twitter will probably either wither on the vine or be sold off pennies on the dollar at a future date.
av35 (Charlotte, NC)
The mainstream media is freaking out about this purchase because Elon is about to expose their corruption. They want to be the gateway to allow only permissible information which is favorable to the Democratic party in power and censure any challenges to that hegemony as "misinformation." The overt bias and subversive agenda in the media has reached unsustainable proportions and its time for someone to bring them back to earth and instill some basic fairness.
AT (New York)
@av35 Haha you have to be joking
M (Hayduke)
@av35 Lol
Dee Cee (Long Beach Ca)
Basic fairness??? That idea is not in any billionaire's playbook. How do you think they got to be billionaires?
KC (Okla)
“Trickle Down Economic Theory” at its apex. God help us all if that ship can’t be turned around.
Zach Thomas (San Francisco)
Can’t people just choose to not use Twitter?
KC (Okla)
@Zach Thomas No, just get in an argument with some Gen Zer, get mobbed, then get banned permanently for defending yourself. Completely eliminates the desire to ever just go back to see if it ever changes over there.
Dixon Pinfold (Toronto)
@Zach Thomas They always could, of course. I can report this from personal experience, since I have assiduously eschewed it from Day One. Facebook, too, and I'm pretty sure I'm happier today for staying away from both of them. That was my plan. But I plan to open a Twitter account soon. I expect that unlike some other forums I am familiar with, e.g. Canada's CBC, merely following its guidelines will suffice to avoid being censored for moderate-centrist wrongthink.
Jeff (Northern California)
Get ready for the Hate Lies & Russian Propaganda Free-For-All that Musk refers to as "Free Speech". If ever there was a time to build a competing site that maintains standards it is now. it would thrive. I believe most Twitter users would abandon the cesspool that Twitter is about to become overnight. Most people on Twitter are decent Folks. All they want is a decent place. Let the liars and insurrectionists and foreign adversaries' tweet amongst themselves on Twitter. It will eventually fail, just like Trump's internet factory of hate "Truth" Social has.
Paul (Cape Cod)
@Jeff The easy answer is to just not use or read Twitter any more.
Henry1 (Long Island)
Let’s give Musk some credit. He could have taken his PayPal money and sat on a beach the rest of his life. Instead, he started a whole new American company. I wish he just kept doing that. The Twitter deal seems frivolous to me. A lot of money for few employees for what is essentially a bad human habit of needing validation. Tesla cars is changing the world for the better, what will Twitter do?
Jeff (Northern California)
@Henry1 Musk did not start Tesla. He bought it.
Steve Koralishn (derry, NH)
@Henry1 Just think how a 44 billion dollar tax write-off helps his bottom line when Twitter implodes.
RSB (New Hampshire)
@Jeff The Tesla company he purchased, with a prototype car, would not be what it is today without Musk.
Jack (CA)
Lots of hand wringing about what Musk will do to Twitter. My biggest takeaway is that only 240 million people use it. There are 7.8 BILLION people in the world. That's a whole lot of people that DON'T use Twitter. Democracy will be fine
Paul (Cape Cod)
@Jack I totally agree, and with luck that 240 million number will rapidly decline.
Renee M (CA)
@Jack You ignore the multiplier effect of millions of credulous people repeating lies they saw on Twitter. Just look at all of Trump’s lies that are now on permanent loop among his followers, multiplied exponentially from one liar, to tens of millions of credulous followers.
HearHear (NH)
Musk buys Twitter to enable a virulent demagogue. He's not materialistic, he's nihilistic and amoral. We need to strengthen our corporate laws to weed out the bad actors. Unlike Edison, Ford, Rockefeller, and yes, Tesla, this phony has contributed nothing of value to society.
Steve Koralishn (derry, NH)
@HearHear Taxes, Taxes, and more Taxes!!
NobodyOfConsequence (CT)
I deleted my Twitter account a while ago. With all the hate and death threats, it is a dumpster fire, and I really don't see how someone who thinks that free-speech comes with absolutely no consequences or responsibility will make it anything but worse.
AT (New York)
@NobodyOfConsequence Right— and I wonder how many people “have” Twitter but don’t use it. I have made many accounts over the years on many platforms. That number doesn’t equal my use (or that I’ve somehow become 10-15 different people) or engagements. I thought the internet was a space of play and fun.
Joel (Northern California)
Anyone deeply concerned by this needs to look in the mirror…and delete their Twitter account. Ever since the Regan administration America has been on a long arc of decreasing the role of government, unions, media, and taxes on holding the ultra rich accountable. Did you stop paying for a subscription to your local newspaper? Did you vote for “low tax limited government” politicians? Elon Musk is simply the latest horse to leave the barn. History will likely repeat itself but that also means we have something highly disruptive ahead - Great Depression or a World War anyone?
Smilodon7 I (Gilead, The State Formerly Known As Missouri)
Putin already started the war
Sang Ze (Massachusetts)
Now they can buy governments. Isn't that wonderful. Think of how much the deficit could be lowered in the USA if elections were eliminated.
Sanvista (NYC)
Relatively benevolent amongst tech titans Mark Benioff, CEO of Salesforce owns TIME magazine.
R. Dent (Connecticut)
I am shocked, shocked to learn that having a lot of money means you get to buy big things. Also I am shocked, shocked to learn that rich people invest in media, for better or worse. Big Media was invented by wealthy people. Consider the NYT for example. "As a public company, The Times trades under the ticker symbol NYT, but the business is controlled by the Ochs-Sulzberger family through a trust. The publisher, A.G. Sulzberger, is a fifth-generation member of the family. Additional financial information can be found here." ( https://www.nytimes.com/article/what-does-the-new-york-times-own.html?smid=url-share )
Robert (Out West)
No, it wasn’t. Big Media was invented by broadsheet printers, booksellers, and other tiny businesses, between two and three hundred years before the Times—also not founded by a bazillionaire—appeared. You really don’t get guys anything like Musk until Hearst came around, and even then they had stockholders.
Mr. X (Louisville)
So the entire media being owned by global finance is fine, but one platform being owned by an internet troll is a bridge too far?
KAN (Upstate NY)
Elon Musk is evil. Harmful to our country, harmful to the world. Pure ego. Just ten days before the midterms and that bloviating piece of human refuse Trump gets back on Twitter to do his damage. What is wrong with these people??? Everyone, please delete your Twitter accounts. No one should have this much power. No one.
mt (Portland OR)
@KAN tell it like it is. Yes, Musk is evil. And please delete your twitter accounts.
Michael (Terra Firma)
Many people can think that Musk is a repulsive human being (as I do), but it’s only the people who believe Twitter isn’t already an unproductive cesspool full of narcissists who are upset about Musk owning that pile of garbage.
NoBs (Timbuktu)
Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. If this is true for Musk and Twitter, it is true for USA and the West, their Media, their World View, their stranglehold on UN, all its Agencies, their Economics....We saw how USA and West simply took over the vaccines for Covid, their making, distribution and how the US and Western Media directed the public discourse. Was that the only truth? You are doing it again now on the Russia-Ukraine war. Who can challenge you? So stop preaching and beating your breasts on some Media company being bought over by another Capitalist from willing sellers. At will you invade Nations, impose your will on them and when things become hot, you desert those who backed you. Don't wail. Think on the World you created yourself. As you sow, thou shall reap.
Smilodon7 I (Gilead, The State Formerly Known As Missouri)
Last time I checked, Putin started that war, NOT US. B And we took over the COVID vaccines? Really? They were made in the West. How can we take over something that we built? You might argue that distribution was not equitable (and I’d say you’d have a pretty good argument there), but it’s not like we stole them from some other country that invented them. Blaming us for things that we actually did is fine. Blaming us for virtually everything that goes wrong in the world isn’t. And you might consider that most of us have precious little say in what our governments do. We also get lied to by our government just like every other place on earth.
Smilodon7 I (Gilead, The State Formerly Known As Missouri)
Most of us thought abandoning the Kurds and the Afghans the way we did was wrong, but you might be shocked by this-our government did not listen. Trump wanted out fast and he didn’t care what the consequences were. IMO we should never have been there in the first place, but I am not queen, I don’t get to make the decisions. I just get to pay the taxes.
John (Minneapolis)
This is all about power. Politics, political borders, trade, communications, transportation are no longer defined by exclusively by governments. Musk doesn’t need an election, or an army to weigh in with the power traditionally used only by nation states, whether autocratic or democratic. In the meantime his wealth increases exponentially as does the wealth of the top 1%. Musk is showing us the results of that ongoing injustice.
Kevin (Sun Diego)
Reminder - Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post.
Renee M (CA)
@Kevin Reminder - WaPo has a fraction of the viewers Twitter has, and there will now be no filters on disinformation on Twitter.
Hz (Brooklyn)
No whining now please, because that’s the essence of capitalism. If you play with fire you might burn down the house.
KC (Okla)
@Hz Which makes me ask you to explain the “Drug Innovation Protection Act?” In my decades of just pure ‘naked’ American Capitalism, we negotiated for everything we could. Seems our own Senators are taking a firm stance against American Capitalism and a very strong stance towards “Trickle Down Economic Theory” into perpetuity.
Renee M (CA)
@Hz Explain how the US government heavily subsidizing Elon’s businesses is capitalism.
EvaO’Mara (Cleveland, Ohio)
Ego has no boundaries!
HSK (Asbury Park)
Billionaires like Musk and Bezos are better described as “plutocrats” rather than “oligarchs.” We are living in a “plutocracy.” 21st century feudalism.
Dr. Gonzo (NY)
Nothing new… Bezos did something similar 10 years ago…
Renee M (CA)
@Dr. Gonzo Not really, but it seems that false comparison is the line du jour among Republicans.
Susie (Home Sweet Home)
Where’s our trust buster to the rescue?
Bill Mosby (Salt Lake City, UT)
Speech is not treated equally on social media platforms. Speech that gets the most engagement is amplified for financial reasons, other speech is not. Sensational lies get the most engagement. It's monetized speech, not at all the same thing as free speech. I Musk is in favor of free speech, that will be great- but he would would have to run Twitter as a non-profit public service to further free speech.
faivel1 (NYC)
Please have Anand Giridharadas as often as possible, his powerful words resonate with the nation like no one else, his new book is a must read The Persuaders: At the Front Lines of the Fight for Hearts, Minds, and Democracy Oct 18, 2022 by Anand Giridharadas Also Jon Meacham American writer is a great reminder of what is at stake. People who never lived in a dictatorship as I did as Masha Gessen did might take it very lightly, please don't. It could happen here as easily as anywhere, we're not immune and we see it everyday, it's a battle for life. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/03/books/review-surviving-autocracy-masha-gessen.html In ‘Surviving Autocracy,’ Masha Gessen Tells Us to Face the Facts By Jennifer Szalai June 3, 2020
Bruce Wayne (Gotham City)
@faivel1 Jon Meacham wrote the disastoursly devise Biden Philadelphia speech. He is more a partisan than a historian.
DJ (Tulsa)
The only conclusion I can draw is from the facts that have been publicly disclosed. Mr. Musk is paying $44 Billion Dollars for a company that produces nothing, creates nothing, contributes nothing, and whose sole reason for existence is to allow people to insult each other publicly. Oh, and that company has not made one penny of profit in years. The facts support only one conclusion, at least thus far. Mr. Musk has too much money, and most of it is idle. Make that money productive. TAX IT.
KC (Okla)
@DJ Soon his satellites will cover the globe, reaching us all. This is real “James Bond” influence the masses type stuff. Musk will make Murdoch look like the paper boy.
N Chevy (nyc)
You have nailed it.
lehomme (marin1950)
Trump released a statement saying he will not return to Twitter - even though Musk has made it clear he will lift the ban on him. Trump said he'll stay with "Truth" Social. And - of course - as usual - he's lying. I have zero doubt he will be back Tweeting within weeks - if not hours. And "Truth" Social will fade into oblivion - which will be noticed by virtually - no one.
Adam Stoler (Bronx Urban Warrior)
@lehomme maybe the suckers...I mean "investors" who he conned into putting their $ in games of money at this level need to be taxed big time.
KC (Okla)
@lehomme except possibly Devin “I know a good deal when I see one” Nunes. He might notice while he’s sweeping the isles at the UPS store he’s headquartered in.
Yousef Mohammed Ayub (Sunnyvale, CA)
I dismiss the super rich as well, but they are not going anywhere any time soon. It feels a little powerful to thumb our noses at them for buying more than we can afford but this is changing the subject. In reality, buying 5 yachts is no more ethically wrong than someone buying 5 throwback jerseys on their way to Vegas, to get rich. Rich can be a relative term when you spend on what you don't need that another cannot afford. I have concerns about the power and influence Elon Musk and others have, but we the not so rich play a helping hand in making people like him or Mark Zuckerberg very rich. Let's see of people will give up Twitter.
Robert (Out West)
Actually, it is.
Yousef Mohammed Ayub (Sunnyvale, CA)
@Robert Who's ethical textbook says that and what makes them right? And does this principle apply to non wealthy people who spend money on what they don't need? That's a value issue not an ethical one.
Smilodon7 (Gilead, The State Formerly Known As Missouri)
Wrong. It takes a lot more resources and emissions to make 5 yachts than 5 jerseys
Aaron (USA)
I'm here for the ratio.
Strand (Brooklyn)
Elon Musk is different than all other moguls in the most basic way. And that is that not only is the goal of his businesses not the accumulation of wealth, he does not posses substantial material possessions, nor does he seem to have any interest in it. In fact he does not even own a single luxury home, not even for a primary residence. A few years ago he famously tweeted that he is getting rid of almost all of his material possessions and followed through by selling all of his homes. He said that he would like to design a home based on his preferences to live in but "this would take up to much of my bandwidth." Not only does this set him apart from the moguls of the Gilded Age, as the lifestyle he lives is not remotely gilded, it sets him apart not merely from the uber rich, it sets him apart from even those who are worth "only" tens of millions of dollars. So its only someone like Musk who would spend such a colossal amount of money to achieve a goal that is not for the sake of business and making a profit.
Adam Stoler (Bronx Urban Warrior)
@Strand all besides the point He controls the conversation pay attention before you aren't able to be in the conversation in any meaningful way
MollyMu (Denver)
Jeff Bezox and Mark Zukerberg did not buy Whole Foods and Instagram respectively. Their companies did and was related to the business they were in. The premise of your article is flawed. What is disturbing about Musk's purchase is that he bought it for himself, a yacht, that he could control.
OffGrid (Reader)
Arrogant would never be the term used to describe a left wing pundit buying Twitter. Sometimes the bias here is just too much.
lehomme (marin1950)
@OffGrid "... a left wing pundit buying Twitter. " Did someone already buy it away from Musk? Because you certainly cannot be referring to Elon as "left wing".
Adam Stoler (Bronx Urban Warrior)
@OffGrid oh were it true that someone leaning left buy anything of this size. Enough already your what aboutisms and false equivalencies on the radical extreme right are tiring- boring and hold little to no water-or value for that matter go away Go home and take your anger with you
Smilodon7 (Gilead, The State Formerly Known As Missouri)
A left wing pundit wouldn’t buy Twitter
I'm interested to see what Musk does with Twitter. It's been dead-money for a long time. Musk doesn't belong to either party.....and that scares them and this writer.
Joanna Whitimre (SC)
And, the NY Times is owned by poor folks?
Adam Stoler (Bronx Urban Warrior)
@Joanna Whitimre nope investors
J Sanz (NC)
This is hell.
ben (IL)
many liked him here for his work getting electric cars into mainstream acceptance, and now suddenly hate him because he is stoping a push for censorship, i get the negative effects of the things blocked from twitter, but free speech means accepting other peoples speech , especially when you disagree with it t***p did try and startcoop(although in my view, the fake electors were the coop part then the riot)and that is very serious, and he should be accountable foe that but this does not mean its right to block everyone that may support his policies, blocking out is the first major step in conflict, it means you are not going to listen or understand, and just seek to destroy. cancel culture is just as "authoritarian"'as trumpism is. both are threats to a open society with free flowing ideas and information, then core of what really lead to the western worlds success over the closed soviet nations in the cold war, we cannot go there is we hope to be successful... and yes, this means we have to put up with people making the point for neonazis or preaching racial nationalism and come up with our own points to counter theirs rather then basically sending "cease to exist" notices. speech alone is supposed to be to not be a crime, and and exceptions to that should be as small as possible
Robert (Out West)
Oh, piffle. First off, who’s this, “many?” Never met the guy, wouldn’t actually want a Tesla—dislike the design—merely in favor of getting off IC cars as soon as possible. As for cancel culture, what is it that you think working for these clowns is like? Trump open to free&honest discussion, is he? Him, Musk, Thiel, all of them reach earth orbit at questions, let alone dissent or criticism. No, I don’t actually have to get into a big discussion with Nazis and suchlike trash. Their “ideas,” aren’t worth jack, and it’s imbecelic to offer them a pulpit for new converts. Nor do I have to pretend that it’s okay to hand oligarchs—look it up in Adam Smith—a giant bullhorn, and stand around pretending that we all have equal rights to speak. Oh, and this just in: the USSR collapsed because of economics and bureaucracy, not some fantasy of free-flowing ideas. Which if they flowed all that freely in your vicinity, would have led you to something better than one more parroting of the same old junk.
ben (IL)
@Robert i don't think trump would be more open, just believe that if you are going to say people have to be accepting, you need to have at least some acceptance on your own, many people that call/called themselves "open minded" were in fact very close minded people
Duke (Brooklyn)
Once they completed their purchase of government at all levels, what else was their to do with their money? I don't think you will hear that much complaining from the Matrix.
Keith S. (Arizona)
Didn't hear much progressive outrage when Bezos bout the WaPo.
NobodyOfConsequence (CT)
@Keith S. You obviously don't know many progressives, or you are simply confusing liberals with progressives. Remember that liberals like Biden, Clinton, and Pelosi are center-right. Progressives are center to center-left.
Jennifer (Anywhere)
@Keith S I wasn’t happy about it.
Joe Smith (Chicago)
Please tax these people like at 80% of net worth! They have too much power...political and financially. This is not good for the USA or the world. Something is really wrong if they are so rich they can have their own space program. Cut these oligarchs down to size.
J c (Ma)
@Joe Smith Liberals have a blind spot about wealth. Some rich people earned their way in life. I have a hard time saying they don’t have a right to determine what to do with that wealth. I say start by taxing -inherited- wealth at 99%. Use that to fund truly equal education for all kids. Musk and his ilk come from ultra wealthy families that put them through private schools and helped them every step of the way. THAT is called cheating in my book. Stop letting people ride on mommy and daddy’s work. Earn their own way in life and I’d admire them, even.
Smilodon7 (Gilead, The State Formerly Known As Missouri)
Elon was born on third base and is convinced he hit a triple.
T Cat (Tempe)
@J c I agree with what you said except the first part. You would be hard pressed to find a billionaire who doesn't have his snout in government money and regulation and court rulings. The creation and worship of Billionaires is a sign that something has gone very very wrong in society. No one single person or family should have so much power over over their fellow humans.
Ellen (Gainesville, Georgia)
Open up and deregulate Twitter. Let everybody on. Let them say what they want. Let them put in writing who they are. And then believe them …
Eddy (Oakland CA)
@Ellen Its a private company. Do you folks not understand that>?
L (Loc)
I’m waiting for the day they ignore the federal govt. Oh, wait…
ma77hew (America)
Oh please! The Sociopathic Capitalists (or Moguls as you say I prefer MorGhouls) has always been in control that and Neoliberalism or Milton Freeman's Free Marketism has been given more and more control over everything in society since Reagan. And by the way, free speech happens when people you don't agree with also have free speech. I want free speech so I fight for their free speech as well. That's how it works. Free Julian Assange
Michal (Poland)
Some readers are thinking who is Steve Case? And what is AOL? You have to ask Tom Hanks or Meg Ryan. You can expect lots of new features in Twitter. It won't just be a short message app anymore. Wouldn't be surprised if they turned it into a themepark, built a bunch of new rides and tested them for reception.
Ehillesum (Michigan)
Elon Musk Is a free speech warrior. Shocking that most 21st Century journalists are not. The corruption of the media is very deep and Mr Musk will use Twitter to expose that.
Pedter Goossens (Panama)
And it is this "buying companies they fancy" that worries me enormously. Certainly when these companies are very big, because through buying them (for example Twitter by Musk) they buy directly or indirectly political power/influence. Dangerous!!!
Terry Garrett (Laguna Vista Texas)
The moguls have been unleashed for some time. Where have you been? We have a government of, by, and for, the moguls and corporations. The "Citizens United" decision drove representative democracy into the grave. In the United States, democracy is dead and likely never to be revived.
Birdygirl (CA)
Okay, here we go--the takeover carnage. I hope Twitter employees have started looking elsewhere--the next few months will not be pretty. I suspect that like with Facebook, the shine has gone from the platform, and now, with Musk taking over, Twitter will draw the fanatics out of the woodwork and he will have unleashed a monster.
Katchup on the Trail (Durham, NC)
@Birdygirl the cesspool will be full of Muskrats and bots.
Moguls... a somewhat archaic synonym for oligarchs and the über-rich. As the world once again dismisses democracy and embraces autocracy, one wonders what "-isms" out there might viably restore and/or protect democracy, freedom and human rights for all.
DJ (Brooklyn)
Remember all those sci-fi stories where in late stage capitalism one person owns the world.
Terry Garrett (Laguna Vista Texas)
The moguls (really oligarchs) have been unleashed for some time. Where have you been? We have a government of, by, and for, the moguls and corporations. The "Citizens United" decision drove representative democracy into the grave. In the United States, democracy is dead and likely never to be revived.
Andrew (Santa Rosa, CA)
Whats good for Twitter, is good for Elon Musk. We can only hope that Twitter remains free to the masses.
Karl (Michigan)
... Because businesspeople acquiring companies is a completely novel phenomenon...
BG (Ohio)
I came to read the comments of people who think that suppression of factual news stories (such as the Hunter Biden laptop situation), is somehow "defending democracy."
H. Clark (Long Island)
In years past, people made fortunes by creating and marketing a product or a service. Now, in the new ethereal world. you can make billions with a hedge fund, or by creating an online platform. The moguls of today are a different breed. Sure they're smart and driven, but are they really creating anything that advances the state of humanity? Discuss amongst yourselves.
unreceivedogma (Newburgh NY)
When are “The People” of this country going to wake up and realize that wealth at this scale is not based on merit, it’s the result of a social contract that gives them permission to exploit and abuse the capitalist system to a degree completely divorced from any historical standard? When will “The People” say “enough is enough” of this spectacle and take this permission away?
Eral (Atlanta)
@unreceivedogma - every one in “the public” is dreaming to be like these Capitalists. Sorry not in near future.
agonyFranck (hudson ny)
@Eral Really? Everyone dreaming of more money than they or their children's children can spend in generations? Most people simply do not want to worry about money, this unmitigated greed you ascribe to all rarely occurs in the well adjusted population I have come across in over 65 years. Most people want a fair and just system that addresses their needs. So if you are not speaking merely of your self, maybe you should change the company you keep.
Ryanmarcus1 (NYC)
@unreceivedogma They'll say enough is enough when they can't use their smart phones, stream their favorite shows or movies, or buy the next big toy for their kid, or the next big tech gadget that was built by a mogul/oligarch's company they claim to hate. It used to be religion was the opiate of the masses. Not anymore.
J c (Ma)
I’m concerned that we have a bunch of narcissists leading our country and our private institutions. But that has always been the case—just a shame more people are not repelled by their obvious inhumanity. That said, I am more focused on the ability of rich people to gather wealth and power over generations. I like people that earn their own way. Yes, some people cheat or are evil, but eventually they die. It is up to us to insure that great wealth goes not to those that did not earn it, but to provide EQUAL opportunity to the next generation. Tax inheritance at 99%. Use that money to fund equal education for all kids. The rest is peanuts if you don’t address that.
AspenSki (New York)
Billionaires buying islands and yachts are bad. And now that they’re buying companies they are even worse! Apparently they shouldn’t be allowed to do anything with their money. He didn’t inherit anything, but earned it himself by taking huge risks. And he almost lost all his wealth multiple times in the process. Kudos to him for taking big risks. I am worried he will change Twitter for the worse, but I give him credit for trying and not just being like most of the people here who would come into a lot of money and retire. Let’s give him some time and not judge him before anything has happened yet.
unreceivedogma (Newburgh NY)
Wealth at this scale is unprecedented. Wealth at this scale is not based on merit. It’s not “their” money. It’s money they have acquired because the social contract as it exists in this country at this moment in time gives them permission to acquire it. “The People” can and have every right to take it away.
AspenSki (New York)
Yes it is based on merit. He bought a small electric car maker and turned it into one of the biggest vehicle manufacturers in the world. He wouldn’t have become so rich if there wasn’t demand for his product and the free market valued it so highly. There was obviously luck and he leveraged public resources to his advantage, but that’s exactly the point of living in a capitalist society. Taxing his wealth to 0 discourages innovation and punishes risk takers. It might feel good but is just as unfair.
I’m Here (Everywhere)
I’m sending a little jealousy here?
agonyFranck (hudson ny)
Huge personal fortunes that can be used to demolish mountains or change the course of rivers cannot be allowed to run amok in a civilized society. While those fortunes may do great good,{Carnegie libraries}, they are also capable of incredible irreversible destruction. {Facebook to democracy}. What will we allow the super-wealthy to do next? Block the sun for profit? corner the world wheat market? Buy up the water rights in towns or cities or states? Those who do not see the control of communication and information as vital as the wheat and water supply fail to understand the imminent danger we are all facing.
Earl Salas (Walnut, CA)
@agonyFranck Yes and yes.
Sam (NYC)
Truly this is the first time ever a billionaire has decided to control a media outlet. Traditional media continues its decade long hissy fit about the money and power in new media, pretending to have some moral high ground.
Eric (Orlando)
Barons in the original guilded age literally owned some of the most important newspapers of record, so they have controlled media before.
Jim (Turtle Island Cascadia)
Just fighting for advertising dollars and their profits.
JS (New York, NY)
Now I can finally tell who are afraid of free speech and those rights guaranteed under the constitution such as private properties.
Rapscallion (DC)
@JS How does Twitter infringe on anyone's constitutional rights?
Kate (Chicago)
“Free speech” doesn’t mean bullying, using racial slurs or other hate speech, false advertising, joking about having bombs in an airport, or other deliberate lies.
Mr. man (NY)
@JS It's funny how free speech "warriors" will never talk about consequences of free speech. Free speech without consequences doesn't exist in the real world. We all know how things would go down if someone randomly came and yelled profanities at someone else's face on the street or in the office. Despite this understanding, there seems to be a deliberate twisting of the meaning of free speech online (happily proliferated by those that stand to gain from it) to assume one can say anything online without thinking about or facing consequences for it. Words do matter ! Especially when they come from someone in a position of power. And especially when they lead to real world consequences (political or religious violence for instance). Pointing this out is not censorship just the same as it is not "censorship" to expect that your neighbor doesn't yell profanities at your face on a day to day basis to exercise their "unfettered free speech". It's funny how some powerful bad actors deliberately try to disrupt systems for their own personal gain and the "free speech warriors" fall for it time and again. Perhaps it is because it appeals to their fragile egos? These are the same snowflakes who delight in calling others snowflakes, but will be up in arms if their "feelings" get hurt. "I don't care as long as it doesn't affect me" is going to be the end of us all.
Independent American (USA)
Being a millionaire used to be good enough, but nowadays the goal is to be a billionaire who owns media outlets as a means to control the narrative of tax breaks for them equates to jobs for others. Too bad those that keep their jobs are paid squat to ensure those billionaires' and their "stock holders" bank accounts are never negatively impacted. What used to be "good ole capitalism" has become vulture capitalists nonstop dream...at the middle and poorer classes expense!
Calworkman (Smartypants)
@Independent American Not true. The tycoons of the past were just as rich and much more powerful. J.P. Morgan was worth $41 Billion in today's dollars and there was no income tax at all. They openly bought and sold Senators. Our taxes are much more progressive and income much more equitable today. But if you want to stop vulture capitalism (as I do) let's simplify the tax code. You shouldn't be able to carry losses forward on a business you bought. You shouldn't be able to score billions in profits while declaring bankruptcy.
Independent American (USA)
While you may disagree, my statement is based on facts nonetheless. They still own Senators today, but the use their media outlets to ensure compliance of those Senators, Representatives etc. as means to intimidate, threaten and control not just those bought and paid for politicians but the masses as well. Just look at the many instances by fox fake news owner Murdoch has done to around the world.
Kristen (Montana)
@Independent American this isn’t some evil new form of capitalism. This is exactly “good ole capitalism” - built to extract value from the worker.
John Doe (Anytown)
History, does have a very long history of constantly repeating itself. When the Super Rich take over control of something, they steal everything that's of value and run the business into the ground. "Sometimes irony, can be pretty ironic."
Robert L (RI)
democracy no more... Our very own oligarchy. thanks to tax loopholes, and lobbyists that make the rich, richer. and to the supreme court for Citizens United...
Markem (California)
The next revolution, or Us V Them, will be the destruction of the oligarchs. Teddy Roosevelt, we need you! We should also sarcastically thank Trump voters.
TW (Oakland)
@Robert L I’d love to know these tax loopholes. Why haven’t the democrats closed all these supposed loopholes? I’d love to see us stop subsidizing home purchases - the biggest tax loophole of them all, and tax assets on sale based on acquisition price not inherited price. I applaud reducing the SALT loophole, but Democrats want to bring that loophole back. It’s an easy out for progressives- just say tax loopholes, stock buy backs, hedge funds, unfettered/late stage capitalism or any other buzz word that you don’t even know what it means and instant Twitter dopamine hit from all the retweets.
HOUDINI (New York City)
"Who among us has not failed to do due diligence on a new venture — a job, a house, even a relationship — and then realized that it was going to cost so much more than we had thought?" True. Yet, what also struck me is that the Washington Post was bought for 250 M and Twitter 44 B. That's quite a gulf between the two. The difference seems to be between the lines i n the statement above; the impact. In 2020 I produced a film needing a finish. It appeared via The Czech Republic and a talent based in Connecticut. We made a deal. Work was done. Talent was paid exactly what was agreed to and it all seemed like a blossoming flower. Diligence was done to see if the "product" in this case a highly skilled acrobat of sorts, seemed thrilled to have been discovered. But, given a rookie success, an amateur awash in the highest levels of executive production (one consulting producer has been called by this paper "one of the four princes of the American theatre")—it all went bust. Meetings, thousands spent on development and probably nearly 10k hours all down the tubes because the enthusiasm for the "purchase" and "finding something new" engorged our fancy more than the boot-on-the-ground truth: what drove our bus was not what drove the talent's. May Mr. Musk realize his communication oracle affects people, and if he lets Donald Trump tweet again, you can expect much worse than January 6th. Caveat emptor.
phacops1 (superal)
These billionaires should have never been allowed to become this powerful..The 90% marginal tax rate in the 60's was there for this reason. Another big thank you for Republicans.
qazmun (Muncie, IN)
@phacops1 I believe that you are mistaken; JFK (the president who proposed the tax changes) was a Democrat, and during the 1960s (when the marginal rates were actually reduced from 90% ) the Democrats controlled both the House, Senate, and White House. You may want to consult a reliable history text or Wikipedia before posting again.
Socrates (Downtown Verona, NJ)
@qazmun Revenue Act of 1964 cut federal income taxes by approximately twenty percent across the board, and the top federal income tax rate fell from 91 percent to 70 percent. The act also reduced the corporate tax from 52 percent to 48 percent. The resultant rates were still high enough so that the rich would pay their fair share. What Republicans have done since 1980 is quadruple down on tax cuts and cut rates so low for rich people that sometimes their effective tax rates are lower than the middle class. JFK never supported subsidizing the rich the way modern Republicans do. The GOP has no interest in helping the unrich.
TW (Oakland)
@Socrates What was the effective tax rate? So many legal loopholes back then. And despite progressives claims, there are very few loopholes now.
Luke (H)
All the blame goes to Musk? If this is so terrible then why did Twitter sue to force Musk to buy it? Because shareholders wanted money. I don't blame Musk for this any more than I blame Twitter executives or shareholders. Maybe this will turn out positively after all.
Jane (CT)
@Luke Did Tesla shareholders want it?
Humming (Colorado)
Blame? This story is about concern for our society when a few narrow minded narcissistic billionaires who can only see the world through their tech-bro wealthy perspective accumulate excessive political power and influence
Heather (California)
Nice for Musk that he can spend a portion of his income-bearing wealth on things he fancies rather than paying taxes on it, as the rest of us do on our accumulated thousands of dollars, rather than hundreds of billions.
John Clarke (CT)
@Heather I don't know about you or Elon Musk but I spend a portion of my income on things I fancy, and another portion on taxes. If all your income goes to taxes you need a better accountant.
Mike (Monroe, NY)
Newspapers used to wield tremendous influence over public opinion and politics by what they covered and editorials. Now it's (a)social media. Time for everyone to walk away from it, avoid the propaganda and manipulation. Live a real life, not a virtual life.
KB (Chicago)
Theres a reason the word 'Oligarch' was never given an English-language equivalent (its Greek - frequently synonymous with Russia now). The American Politicians and Business leaders wanted us to think it was a foreign concept. Its not. In 2022, its very much a domestic concept.
Pat (NY)
@KB Judge T.S. Elliot, III, who presided in Paul Manafort's bank/tax fraud trial, ruled that "oligarch," could *not* be used by the prosecution because it's "too pejorative" and suggested they use "people who financed the campaign." Pretty much says it all for the top teir of America's corrupt judicial system.
HKGuy (Hell's Kitchen)
@KB "Oligarch" is the English-language equivalent to "oligarch."
Mack (Los Angeles)
For the second time in seven years, an unhinged narcissist has seized control of an important institution. Trump was ousted but is seeking revenge. Musk is now in but is seeking revenge. Successive administrations have enabled this nonsense. Privatizing space has compromised our national defense, used public dollars to create intellectual property for Bezos and Musk, and slowed space development. Relaxed oversight for Tesla has led to the self-driving fraud, and timorous workplace regulation have enabled Scrooge McMusk to terrorize his workforce. Trump, Musk, Bezos, and their ilk have never served in combat, personally undertaken charitable work, or experienced the burdens or risks of ordinary Americans. Unlike Rockefeller, Carnegie, and others, who ultimately sought to make lives better for American society, these three guys lead the leagues in mirror gazing.
John Clarke (CT)
@Mack In what universe is Twitter "an important institution"?
TW (Oakland)
@Mack Wow now Rockefellers and Carnegies are saints and Musk and Bezos are devils? This unfettered hatred of success is so tiring.
Laura (Cleveland, Oh)
I've been on Twitter longer than most people I know, since 2008. And I've been on Facebook longer. Maybe it's time for a new social media platform for old folks like myself. The biggest thing I'd like to see is verification of identity for all posters.
Humming (Colorado)
And more control over sales of my data
Birdygirl (CA)
@Laura Totally agree. The FB Newsfeed is garbage--90 percent ads and "suggested" links.
Bruce Wayne (Gotham City)
@Laura You can always start up a competing platform if you don't like Twitter.
Ikeaboy (Richmond VA)
I'm not sure any of this is problematic. If I can secure funding, I'm free to purchase any company I fancy. Whether I make the purchase personally or through an existing business, the result is the same.
Ed Watters (Western PA)
If we only had politicians willing to stand up to our oligarchs. And if we only had a media that would stop acting like the current outrageous level of inequality in this country is the result of some mysterious phenomena. Inequality isn't an act of God - it's the deliberate result of policies such as permitting monopolies, inadequate taxation of intra-generational wealth and passive income, ridiculously long patent periods, and anti-labor policies. https://www.cepr.net/documents/publications/inequality-policy-2009-10.pdf
@Ed Watters SCOTUS decided with Citizens United to prevent elected officials from ever standing up to the oligarchs. The oligarchs now buy supreme court justices as well, not just elected representatives in congress.
J. Merry (Planet Earth)
Next move: the “dirty dozen” buys planet Earth and fires everyone while we are all tweeting, facebooking, Amazon-shopping, instagramming, tik-toking and carrying on other money-aggrandizing activities in favor of the rich and famous on our Apple devices made in China (while diligently paying our taxes).
George Girl (Xanadu)
Musk is following the steps of Getty. Nothing especially innovative here. Just trying to corral advertising revenue.
cbarber (San Pedro)
"Two of his former employees are the Republican nominees for senator in Ohio and Arizona." If they win the election they'll still Mr. Thiels employees.
Jo Shmoe (America)
It's like like the Roaring Twenty since the super-rich are spending our futures like we are nothing. Until the planet is dead. We should fight back and put them on trial, then execute the ones who are killing the planet, including fossil fuel executives and their enablers, certain politicians.
Alan Jones (Chicago, Illinois)
Our economy has become, no is, financialization on roids. Our nation doesn't make anything anymore; rather, we allow a small group of masters of the universe---housed on Wall Street----to make funny money deals consisting of the following elements: buy company; fire staff; sell off profitable parts; send some parts off-shore; collect commissions and bonuses--->look for next profitable company. Both parties have participated in this neoliberal/Milton Friedman infatuation with free markets composed of little regulation; anti-union laws; and a banking system now designed to raid companies rather than save our money, all in the name of "shareholder value"---guess who holds the shares. We once had a thriving middle class---post WW II---which has been decimated by a political class that has permitted a greed is good mindset colonize our economy.
aggrieved taxpayer (new york state)
@Alan Jones I think you might be missing the point that this era’s masters of the universe are Silicon Valley tycoons. It’s not the 1980s Reagan era anymore.
R. Dent (Connecticut)
@Alan Jones Tesla is a US company that makes cars and batteries in the US.
ChristineMcM (Massachusetts)
"If you have billions of dollars these days, however, belief in yourself is never in short supply." This could be said of any number of our billionaire class that is irreparably changing our country and culture for the worse. There's a "God"complex that has overtaken the wealthy, and the political class amped up on its own invicibility. Frankly I"m sick of it: sick of Musk, Bezos, MAGA leaders, and just cartwheeling around our institutions, viewing nothing as sacred and immune to any sort of public obligation. Just tell me what these clowns in and out of government are doing for the average citizen? For my money, they are a warning as much as they are a symptom of changes engulfing America.
RLS (Los Angeles/Paris/Puerto Vallarta/French West Indies)
What have Musk and Bezos done for people? Are you kidding? They have provided innovative products and services that are wildly popular with consumers.
ChristineMcM (Massachusetts)
@RLS: Huh? Selling innovative products and services are their businesses, the way they earn their livings, not helping average citizens, many of whom can't afford their products. That's not "doing" things to improve the lives of ordinary citizens! The are part of the mega-billionaire class that demands its pound of flesh in tax cuts, not contributing to the commonweal. And, by the way, one of your heroes, Musk, is firing 75% of the Twitter workforce--how is that helping people? I"m sorry, if your values are limited to selling stuff that people like, that's not what I define "doing for people" in terms of improving the lots of mankind.
David Sica (New Jersey)
Great story! To nit pick just a little, Hewlett-Packard wasn’t merely “a once venerable” Silicon Valley company, it was the seed from which Silicon Valley grew.
caljn (los angeles)
@David Sica HP and Oracle are indeed shadows of their former selves and even relocated (office only) to TX to save a few bucks. Rather sad actually.
Madge (NE)
The young(ish) billionaires may have branded their deal making in a way that earlier generations of moguls didn’t. But there’s not all that much difference between this generation’s high-profile billionaires and their original Gilded Age forbears (or their more reticent modern-day colleagues and competitors). They’re all as dedicated to controlling their industries and the flow of profit as were the monopolists at the turn of the 20th century. In terms of meddling in politics, there too the Robber Barons set the standard. Pulitzer and Hearst weren’t exactly shy about using their media power to achieve policy results. Another Gilded Age captain of industry became a power in the Senate and then made sure that his favored candidate became president. What’s been happening here isn’t really new at all. The style may be new, but the substance is the same.
Generally Recognized as Eric (Rochester)
We, the wealthiest 100 humans on earth, in order to form a more perfect global corporation, establish hegemony, and ensure bondage and servility, …
Jennifer (Anywhere)
I don’t need a Tesla, and I don’t need a Twitter account. Musk only has the power that consumers give him.
Eileen (NJ)
@Jennifer I wish this were true. Unfortunately, by acquiring twitter he now has the power to allow that platform to become a source of misinformation and hate speech. That will effect all of us.
RR (Outer Limits)
@Jennifer Right……and can’t 45% of users just close their accounts?
Eileen (NJ)
@RR Yes, that could happen and some probably will. But again, do you hear what you are proposing? All the rational honest voices leave and the site becomes a mega-bullhorn for lies, misinformation, and hate speech.
John McCoy (Long Beach, CA)
Per the opening line of this piece, there is no question about the man’s arrogance.
Judith Nelson (NYC)
“Perhaps” arrogant enough? How quaint!
Dorothy Wiese (San Antonio)
And ruin everything for the majority of people.
Mark (L.I.)
Musk just bought a BETAMAX, I mean Twitter.
salvatore denuccio (milan)
Musk is going to make Twitter the most powerful social media ever the American version of WeChat
JW (Long Island)
Let’s see what happens. All eyes are on him, perhaps he’ll surprise us?
Anonymously Anxious (NYC)
Now they want to buy a country.
NB (New York)
Can we stop calling them moguls and start calling them oligarchs, please?
Jerry (Georgia)
Moguls? You mean oligarchs. Why not just call them what they are?
mja (LA, Calif)
Quick, GOP - these guys need another tax break!
Janet MICHAEL (Silver Spring)
The endowment of the Ford Foundation is 16 billion dollars and in 2020 the Gates Foundation was worth 49 billion before Bill grates added another 20 billion so that “we can mitigate some of the suffering people are facing right now” .Evidently Musk has no world view, just a selfish idea that his whims are important , that his voice should drown out other voices and that he deserves the biggest megaphone.Musk adding his quirky and often inconsistent ideas to the already toxic scene which is social media is dangerous and will do nothing good for society.
trob (bklyn)
The super rich of any country know that the best use of their money is re-investing in their country (Getty, Gates, Buffet) not toy rockets and phone apps. By not doing it they doom their legacy figuratively and litetally as that nation will no longer exist. The game is not who makes the most. It's what you were able to do when you had it to help your community.
Tara Galles (Indiana)
Too many conspiracies. He wants this so his robots can learn language recognition. The quick whips people say on twitter will be what they say to their automatic cars.
TS (New York)
Bezos bought WaPo. No one cared...why is this one such a big deal? Also, just don't follow someone if you don't like what they are saying. Problem solved.
John Smith (Oklahoma)
WaPo is a legitimate and respected newspaper. There is a huge difference between real,journalism and the quick word byte propaganda of Twitter.
Mike Ross (New Bern, NC)
An arbitrary, botched distinction between buying a company corporately versus privately appears to be the crux of this pointless analysis.
mary (usa)
The billionaires, through GOP tax cuts, are now rich enough to take over the United States through fomenting insurrection through multiple media outlets, while pretending they are defenders of free speech. The billionaires have armies private armies, the billionaires want to be immortal, the billionaires want to leave the pollution that made them billionaires and move to a Mars.
Paul (Cape Cod)
@mary The tax cuts have had little to do with the rise of billionaires. Appreciating capital assets, like founders shares, are not taxed until sold. People be come billionaires by not having taxable income, not by paying lower marginal income tax rates.
Manny Pedi (Depends Upon The Month)
I paid more as a percentage than Wareen Buffet did last year. Ya think we don’t need tax reform?
TL (Bethlehem, PA)
I'm surprised a mogul hasn't bought an entire country (make your own jokes about the US). I'm sure the day is coming.
Eileen (NJ)
@TL That already happened the day that reagan overturned the Fairness Doctrine and handed unchecked media power to murdoch whose citizenship was rushed through.
George Girl (Xanadu)
I like to separate social media from big tech. The former has limited usefulness in an advanced society and the plunging value of Meta is a sign that social media’s place on the market is starting to reflect this fact. If I were a billionaire, I would buy Cisco or Asus .
crow (new york)
In comparison to buying islands and yachts buying companies is like philanthropy for Elon Musk.
The "moguls" (AKA monopolists) were unleashed years ago by neoliberals on the left and right who were conned into changing the American economy into a paradise for the ultrawealthy. "A rising tide lifts all boats" - except it doesn't; in economic reality most ships sink, never to rise again. "Government is the problem" - except for when it regulates free markets to prevent monopolies that destroy competition, innovation and yes, growth. I grew up being told by all of my adult teachers that monopolies were inherently bad for the economy, inherently bad for liberty, and inherently bad for working people. Now one man owns more wealth than most nations. All of those warnings have been vindicated. When the United States collapses like the Soviet Union before it, it will be in large part caused by the hubris of the business class and their neoliberal facilitators.
Jane (Brooklyn)
@PJR Agreed with one clarification - That's not the neoliberals, that's the libertarians.
R. Dent (Connecticut)
@PJR Tesla isn't a monopoly.
Joe Smith (Chicago)
@Jane I think the point is that the "neoliberals" took over the Democrats in the 1990's because folks like Clinton saw it the way to counter Reagan and his ilk. As soon as the Democrats became complicit with the Republicans, income inequality grew, financial regulation stopped, anti-trust law became toothless and tax cuts for the rich became ordinary.
Yankelnevich (Las Vegas)
We have seen giant fortunes before in the history of capitalism. The Rockefellers wielded enormous power, as did J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie et al. They effectively controlled the Republican party from the late 19th century through the mid twentieth century. Traditionally, large corporate interests have controlled the party until the rise of Donald Trump which has seen a movement of some of that huge corporate power into the Democratic party. As it stands, massive wealth controls American political economy and to more or lesser degrees market economies throughout the world. In this context, Musk is simply doing what the system allows him to do. In Manhattan, bastion of liberalism, corporate wealth has always ruled the roost. Rockefeller Center dominates Midtown. Wall Street continues to dominate downtown but is now ensconced in Midtown. Big tech has moved in recently, buying up real estate all over Manhattan south of 59th street. The Rockefellers gave land for the United Nations, for Rockefeller University and Columbia uptown. The huge and world class museums are all endowed by corporate money as is the 42nd street public library. Every civic institution of merit is endowed to one degree or another and usually fully by corporate patrons or private citizens endowed with corporate wealth. Musk is really just another peg in the world system. He may look like an entrepreneurial force, a maverick genius, but he is also a creature of a global political economy.
Elizabeth Ann (Pennsylvania)
@Yankelnevich That's the difference though, isn't it? Andrew Carnegie gave us public libraries that are free for everyone. Jeff Bezos gave us space tourism that only the extremely wealthy can afford.
Yankelnevich (Las Vegas)
@Elizabeth Ann No that analogy doesn't work for me. For one thing, Andrew Carnegie was pretty darn ruthless. In the end, he became a remarkable philanthropist. As for Jeff Bezos, his space company is not part of his philanthropy, and his company's so called space tourism is not the core objective of Blue Horizon. Bezos has recently given 10 billion for climate change, he owns the Washington Post and protects it from rightwing assaults. He also is one of two principal owners of Altos Labs which is dedicated to extending both healthy and maximum human lifespans. If you think Bezos is an elitist and a narcissist, I think you wrong. On the other hand, that description might very well fit Elon Musk
A. Texan (Houston)
The business person that I admire most today is the tire shop in small town rural Texas who rescued me yesterday on the side of the road by sending a guy with a compressor in the back of his pickup truck and plugging a nail hole, all for $20. I would have died of old age waiting for AAA, with its nationwide app platform and online text bot to dispatch someone. What value does Twitter bring in the real world? Or Meta? I’m trying to pay attention to who really contributes to the well-being of our communities and nation.
caljn (los angeles)
@A. Texan I've used AAA a few times, mainly for a dead battery and never had to wait very long.
aggrieved taxpayer (new york state)
@A. Texan Facebook is most valuable for reminding me of birthdays and, sadly, as a way to communicate rapidly to the community when a loved one or friend has passed away.
Kristen Gladsky (Lancaster PA)
Clearly the tire shop changed your day for the better. And, most important, you experienced human connection, something impossible to do via meta twitter or the other dozen social media platforms I know knowing about!
ManhattanWilliam (East Village, NYC)
Can I live without Twitter? You bet I can. Both of my accounts are now deleted. I feel better already. And would I ever consider getting behind the wheel of a Tesla? Not a chance in....
Kim T (Maryland)
@Cheers! :) Musk is a man without principles. I also would never by a Tesla. I am patiently for the other companies to produce electric only cars. It's coming soon.
Cheers! :) (McHenry, Illinois)
@ManhattanWilliam What did Musk do that is so awful? What’s so awful about Twitter or Tesla?
Mikes547 (Tolland, CT)
Of all the ways in which oligarchs can spend their wealth, buying media companies is probably the most disconcerting. A free press, or any other form of media that purports to inform its consumers, is hardly free if it spews the beliefs of its owners to the exclusion of most others whether they they lean left, right, or in between. No better example is that of Rupert Murdoch.
K.Smith (Syracuse, NY)
@Mikes547 like minded people of little wealth can pool their money to buy shares in a media company and purchase one of their own if they wish or to fund their own paper. That's the beauty of America. Even the little people can have power if they want- they just need to stop spending money on video games, iphones, cars, mega mansions, and what ever else makes them feel wealthy and spend it on free press.
Kristen (Montana)
@K.Smith unfortunately, consumerism is a system designed to keep individuals placated and unorganized. When we learn more about how human brains work, we see brains conditioned to the comforts of consumerism can be hard to awaken to struggle.
Dan (WPB Fla)
@K.Smith Dang I guess I was so busy buying video games and mega mansions that I failed to pool my money with other people of little wealth to buy shares in a media company and purchase one of our own. I didn't realize how easy it was. Next time with my disposable income I will pool it with all my other poor friends and we will buy out the New York Times. Thank you for the help.
Michael Branaganm (Silver Spring, MD)
Another way of looking at moguls purchasing habits after they've run out of things to buy: And now they are eating each other.
BCY123 (NY)
Musk lacks common sense and is allowed to act without thought due to his wealth. Smart? Yes. But his careless attitude that what he wants must be ok since he wants it. This is not an approach that will bode well for the future of society and business in general.
Steve (Toronto)
The issue I have with this analysis is the idea that he has absolute control over Twitter. He doesn't. It's like buying a restaurant that people can choose to stop patronizing. We've lived without it before, we can live without it again if we choose to. The people who are complaining the most are those people & companies that have used the platform as free marketing. You get what you pay for. Lots of people abandoned Facebook years ago and continue to live & breathe.
@Steve I've never used Twitter and never will.
RR (Outer Limits)
@Steve As I posted earlier, what’s the value of twitter if half the users leave? And what if some entrepreneur starts another platform? Who even needs this? First world…….
Kim T (Maryland)
@PJR Ditto me too. I also stopped using Facebook years ago.
faivel1 (NYC)
Even more disturbing movement raised in the book, highlighted on Morning Joe. Raising Them Right: The Untold Story of America's Ultraconservative Youth Movement and Its Plot for Power A riveting behind-the-scenes account of the new stars of the far right—and how they’ve partnered with billionaire donors, idealogues, and political insiders to build the most powerful youth movement the American right has ever seen.
Robert O. (St. Louis)
Musk seems to alternate between a decent human and a megalomaniac villain in a James Bond movie. Bottom line, his power comes from consumers. Does anyone really need a Twitter account or a Tesla for that matter.
@Robert O. Nope. Turns out the most energy efficient vehicle was invented centuries ago: the bicycle.
FDNYMom (Reality)
@Robert O. Never, ever think that Elon Musk was/is a decent person.
Ellen (Oregon)
I’ll be needing a couple examples of the decent human being side of him, please.
dca (CT)
All the other social media companies are, of course, driven by pure profit-earning Capitalism. A tight knit group that enforces their rules amongst each other. It was the search for profits that caused them all to fall from nobility to crass. When outgo rises above income, well, you get it. Is this Twitter thing something that might inevitably happen once income rises above a certain limit - a ceiling? Inquiring minds. -dca
Tommy (White Plains)
I disagree. The moguls have always been here. There is no unleashing. That implies there was a leash. Moguls doing what they can with their money. The rich do what they can. And the poor suffer what they must. It’s the way of the world. NYT and other media outlets and the various ‘journalists’ who have twitter accounts for their own brand - may worry some. That’s all. Keep walking. Nothing new here.
Sheila Bolton (Chicago, Illinois)
@Tommy Yup, except there’s ever faster and wider distribution of the gaslighting the wealthy does to those of us they’re fleecing. 1.2% of the pop. control’s 50% global wealth, and probably 75% of all information being generated (73 countries have blocked free press and an additional 59 have it restricted. That’s out of 195 total). Wouldn’t exactly call what Meta, Fox, etc are dishing out free, either. The Republic (and the World) have paid dearly. And to all the gazillion influencer wannabes on Twitter, FB, IG… Log Off!
William (Lowell, MI)
@Tommy . Oh, I see: so let's make it easier and easier for them to become even richer while keeping workers' wages down; let's have a policy that makes inequality in wealth and power even more obscene. Great idea.
Jason (New Plymouth)
@Tommy ‘They’ only get upset when’ their’ tech billionaire doesn’t own something. NYT doesn’t complain when Soros or Bezos are involved in media.
Insider (Knowledge)
Best argument I've ever seen for higher taxes on the ultra wealthy.
Jack (East Coast)
@Insider - Absolutely. If you want to monopolize free speech, it should come at a steep, steep cost. Let's also get the SEC into a foreign-owned media oversight role.
@ Insider True. But their dark money decides Tax “Laws”.
Sunsideup (TO)
@Insider Free speech can also be used against him to cancel twitter but no one is talking about it, why? What are we afraid of? No one is immune to free, hatred, and weaponized speech used strategically to undermine! No one!
See also