Weekly The Generation, Year 1, Issue 15
December 12, 2023
Elon Musk seems hellbent on transforming what was once Twitter into a far-right fever swamp. The billionaire conspiracy theorist once vowed that the platform, which he rebranded as X, would not “become a free-for-all hellscape” under his watch. But since he made that pledge in October 2022, Musk has ordered a number of actions that fly in the face of those words.
The most glaring example, arguably, came over the weekend when Musk welcomed back right-wing extremist Alex Jones, the notorious conspiracy theorist most infamous for tormenting the families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting with reprehensible lies. Jones had been banned by the social media company’s previous management for repeated violations of harassment and hate policies.
Not only did Musk cave to the demands of the right-wing mob and reinstate Jones’ account, but X actively encouraged its users to follow it. Prior to his ban five years ago, Jones had nearly 900,000 followers on Twitter. By Monday evening, he had had surged to 1.6 million on X.
This behavior should not be seen in a vacuum. It’s part of a year-long pattern for Musk, who acquired Twitter in October 2022 for $44 billion.
Regardless, what is perhaps most alarming about Musk’s behavior is how he has seemed to go out of his way to amplify the voices of right-wing extremists. Not only has Musk allowed them to return to the platform, but as X’s most-followed user, he has repeatedly promoted their dishonest posts and appeared to seek out their approval.