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Elon Musk Has Begun Begging People To Tweet As Twitter's Decline Continues

Photo: Evan El-Amin, Vic Hinterlang, Tinseltown / Shutterstock, Pixabay, & Wikimedia Commons
Elon Musk, Donald Trump, Kanye West, Alex Jones

By pretty much any measure, Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s $44 billion takeover of Twitter has been a bit of a bust.

Amid a new proliferation of hate speech and the reinstatement of far-right figures like Alex Jones, Donald Trump and Kanye West, users have bailed on their accounts in droves.

Brands have quickly followed suit, pausing or pulling their ads on the platform — just in time for the holiday season.

It all seems to have finally rattled Musk a bit — so much so that he’s now essentially begging people to tweet.

Taking to the platform himself yesterday, Musk tweeted: “I meet so many people who read twitter every day, but almost never tweet. If I may beg your indulgence, please add your voice to the public dialogue!”

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The most noticeable change since Musk took over Twitter — aside from all the hate speech, of course — is the wave of high-profile figures and celebrities who have left the platform.

Musk has repeatedly billed his takeover as an effort to make Twitter "an inclusive arena for free speech,” but in practice it has been anything but, with Musk seemingly applying the rules totally unequally depending on which end of the political spectrum a user lives on.

A new report in “The Intercept” details how scores of left-leaning and anti-fascist Twitter accounts have been suspended for supposed violations of Twitter policies, suspected to have arisen from coordinated far-right campaigns to report the accounts en masse.

Far-right accounts themselves, meanwhile, have been left untouched even as they continue spreading disinformation and hate speech.

Until yesterday, that is.

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West appeared on far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ show “InfoWars” Thursday alongside far-right extremist Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist who has openly called for a Trump-led dictatorship.

During the discussion, West doubled down on his antisemitism by openly praising Adolph Hitler.

The rapper said, “I like Hitler,” claimed to “love Nazis” and said that "I see good things about Hitler” — comments so extreme that even Jones became visibly uncomfortable.

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Even those comments weren’t enough to get West banned from Twitter again — but his subsequent tweet of an image featuring a Swastika inside a Star of David was.

Musk suspended West Thursday night, saying the image, believed to be a proposed logo for West's 2024 presidential campaign, was classified by Twitter as an incitement of violence.

Musk's tweet imploring people to increase their use of Twitter appeared the following morning, and Musk has since launched a new initiative to lure advertisers back to the app.

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Whatever the motivation, Musk’s tweet is telling–especially since engagement is up, but revenue is cratering

Despite the controversial and often jarring changes Musk’s leadership has wrought, Twitter has seen a burst of engagement since Musk’s takeover–particularly among those posting right-wing disinformation.

But that hasn’t been enough to right the ship.

Roughly half the app’s top advertisers have bailed, and Musk reported that the app was at one point losing $4 million per day.

Combine all that with the continued proliferation of virulent bigotry like West’s, and it’s not hard to see Twitter’s usage falling even more in the future.

And with even Musk himself warning that Twitter may be in real danger of bankruptcy? Well, begging people to tweet just might be as good a strategy as any. 

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.