Elon Musk Adds Twitter Rule After Free Speech Hits Too Close To Home
After spending months (and way too much money) on Twitter preaching about his "open door" policy when it comes to freedom of speech on the social media service, it only took nine days for new owner Elon Musk to realize that he's not a big fan of free speech when it's used against him. On his own social media, no less. Earlier today, Musk tweeted a midday change in Twitter policy that involves permanently suspending any account that doesn't "clearly" specify it's a parody account. Of course, there are no criteria included as to what would meet Musk's criteria for "clearly." Not only that, if you're a "blue-checker" who changes your name for any reason, you'll still have to deal with a "temporary loss of verified checkmark." Step right up, and don't be shy! All of this and more! For only $8 a month!
"Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying "parody" will be permanently suspended," Musk tweeted out earlier today in a move that was timed "coincidentally" with a surge in Twitter accounts changing their names to "Elon Musk" to do things like promote candidates for this week's U.S. midterm elections (and some more interesting things). "Previously, we issued a warning before suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning. This will be clearly identified as a condition for signing up to Twitter Blue. Any name change at all will cause temporary loss of verified checkmark." And Musk has already started suspending accounts, including actor/comedian Kathy Griffin for changing her name to "Elon Musk."
A Look Back at Stephen King Calling Out Elon Musk & Twitter
By the time you're done reading this sentence, our personal writing god Stephen King will have written two novels, a screenplay, two novellas, and … let's say… three haikus? Okay, we're kidding, but we can do that because King might be one of the best people ever to put pen to paper in the history of us putting pen-to-paper to ever walk this planet. One of the other things we love about King is his willingness to share his thoughts & feelings on a wide variety of topics. But never from a know-it-all perspective and always with a vibe that shows he's as connected now to the pop culture landscape as ever before. So when he had something to say about SNL host Elon Musk's plan to charge those folks on Twitter with verified accounts ("blue-checkers"), we were all ears. And it did not disappoint because we knew there was no way that Musk could resist responding. So what follows is a very opinionated, not objective, rundown of what went down between the two… more of a serious editorial. But with jokes.
Now, here's King expressing via Twitter the very same sentiment that millions of "blue-checkers" have been expressing since the news hit. Basically, Musk and his vision for Twitter can pretty much go f*** themselves seven ways to Sunday if he thinks he's going to get content for free and then make the content creators pay for the "privilege" of creating content on his newest plaything.
Of course, Musk was going to respond because some folks will never pass up a chance at some self-indulgent "star-f***ery" even when the said star is pretty much calling you out. Of course, Musk jumps into already playing the victim because it's everyone else's fault he overpaid for Twitter. And in a weird move that proves (A) Musk will never get it because it's not about it being $20 or twenty cents, and (B) how Musk would be the worst person ever to appear on Pawn Stars. Seriously. With one tweet, King already had Musk dropping from $20 to $8.
Musk: "I was looking for $5000 for this sculpture I found at a garage sale."
Rick (Pawn Stars): "There's no way I can pay that."
Musk: "Okay, how about $20?"
But here's where it gets brain-bleedingly bad because, much like dozens upon dozens of King's works, Musk doesn't see himself as the problem. Oh, no! It's a third-party boogeyman that he's trying to fight. In fact, he needs King and all the other "blue checkers" to be his sidekicks as he takes the fight to… THE BOTS & TROLLS!!!! Now, just to be clear, in case you might have a lapse in recent pop culture history? Twitter has had a verification system in place for years, and it hasn't stopped the bots and trolls. So charging will do what to change that? Ahhh! I know! More money means Twitter can spend more to fight bots and trolls, right? One really big problem, though…
What do you do when the biggest troll on Musk's Twitter is Musk himself? On Sunday, the self-described "innovator" definitely wasn't practicing what he was preaching when he tweeted out a link to a Santa Monica Observer article that was throwing out wild allegations about the attempted assassination of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the brutal assault on her husband, Paul Pelosi, without a shred of evidence. When the backlash and accusations of him being a hypocrite were too much for him to deal with (and, some would say, after the damage had already been done), Musk pulled the tweet. Meanwhile, the use of the N-word and other hate speech on Twitter has skyrocketed since the ownership change.
Welcome to Elon Musk's Twitter! Where the more things change, the more they… get very, very worse.