Elon Musk’s Twitter: The New Center of the Conservative Universe?

Elon Musk’s Twitter has been transforming into a version of Fox News, and it seems to be putting Fox News on a glide path toward diminished relevance among conservatives.[0] Musk’s beliefs are undeniably shaping Twitter in his own image, with the platform becoming a haven for far-right influencers and advancing the interests and conspiracy theories of the right wing.[1] Musk has actively worked to elevate a particular right-wing, anti-woke ideology, reinstating legions of accounts that were previously banned for violating Twitter’s rules, including a number of white nationalists. Musk’s own rhetoric has moved from trolling to dog-whistling to promoting conspiracies, and it has intensified in recent months, culminating in his recent anti-Semitic remarks about George Soros.[2] By taking a leisurely walk through Musk’s responses on the platform, it becomes apparent that the billionaire frequently engages with far-right figures and expresses agreement with their discriminatory memes.[2]

Twitter, once considered the arch-nemesis of the right, is now becoming the new center of the conservative universe, replacing the decades-long dominance of Fox News.[3] On Wednesday night, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis reportedly capped off this about-face by formally launching his presidential campaign in a live Twitter-streamed conversation with the platform’s owner, Elon Musk.[4] This makes sense, given that Musk has been actively working to elevate a particular right-wing, anti-woke ideology.

The shift of Twitter towards the right has been evident and easily understandable.[5] Following Elon Musk’s takeover, multiple accounts previously banned for far-right content were restored.[5] Musk has been more transparent about his political views, frequently denouncing the “woke mind virus” and actively endorsing right-wing accounts and content. The platform’s recomposed class of paid blue checks is conspicuously right-leaning and includes influential figures who previously feared being, or were, banned under old policies and leadership.[5]

The right has adopted Twitter as Twitter has welcomed the right. After being unexpectedly removed from his highly-rated program on Fox News, Tucker Carlson intends to launch a new show on Twitter. The Daily Wire, owned by Ben Shapiro, intends to broadcast all of its programs on the platform.[5]

Twitter is being established as a focal point of conservative media not only due to DeSantis’s supposed announcement tactics.[3] The largest digital media operation on the right, the Daily Wire, founded by Ben Shapiro and Jeremy Boreing, made an announcement yesterday. They will be streaming all of their top shows on Twitter in the near future.[3] The outlet is emulating Tucker Carlson’s move, who, upon losing his Fox News program last month, declared that his next programming endeavor would be on Twitter.

Musk’s recent hiring of Linda Yaccarino, a veteran marketing and advertising executive at NBC Universal, to serve as Twitter’s new CEO, signals the tech entrepreneur is looking to build a stronger advertising apparatus amid a whirlwind of changes to its content moderation policies and business strategy.[6]

However, the move towards a right-wing Twitter has not been without controversy. Mark Cuban has criticized Musk for seemingly promoting his own interests since he purchased Twitter last fall for $44 billion. Cuban has accused Musk of rigging the platform to promote his own tweets and points of view, claiming that the site’s algorithm highly ranks tweets that your followers interact with. The largest Twitter accounts are getting greater reach via the platform’s “For You” timeline, particularly ones whose tweets align more with Musk’s beliefs.[7]

Furthermore, Twitter’s recent problems with its “Spaces” feature during DeSantis’ announcement have left Musk furious, with insiders reporting that Musk was clearly upset and annoyed by the issues with the event.[8] According to a former Twitter employee who spoke with CNN, Spaces was predominantly a prototype and not a polished final product.[9] The beta test remained ongoing indefinitely.[8]

In conclusion, Elon Musk’s ownership of Twitter has transformed the platform into an alternative social-media platform – one that offers a haven to far-right influencers and advances the interests and conspiracy theories of the right wing.[10] With right-wing figures rushing back to the platform after a mass unbanning of accounts and the removal of protections against COVID-19 misinformation and for transgender users, it seems that Twitter has become the new center of the conservative universe.[1]

0. “Is Elon Musk’s Twitter about to supplant Fox News?” BGR, 24 May. 2023, https://bgr.com/business/is-elon-musks-twitter-about-to-supplant-fox-news/

1. “Elon Musk steering Twitter to the right” Crikey, 25 May. 2023, https://www.crikey.com.au/2023/05/25/elon-musk-twitter-right-wing-political-bias/

2. “Twitter Is a Far-Right Social Network” The Atlantic, 23 May. 2023, https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2023/05/elon-musk-ron-desantis-2024-twitter/674149/

3. “Watch Out: It Looks Like Twitter Wants to Be the Next Fox News” Vanity Fair, 24 May. 2023, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2023/05/ron-desantis-twitter-wants-next-fox-news

4. “Twitter is starting to look a lot like Fox News” Business Insider, 24 May. 2023, https://www.businessinsider.com/twitter-elon-musk-starting-look-like-fox-news-ron-desantis-2023-5

5. “Twitter Will Drive Conservatives Mad — and Further Right” New York Magazine, 25 May. 2023, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2023/05/twitter-will-drive-conservatives-mad-and-further-right.html

6. “Musk challenge to Fox faces setback with DeSantis debacle” The Hill, 26 May. 2023, https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/4021501-musk-challenge-to-fox-faces-setback-with-desantis-debacle/

7. “Mark Cuban to Elon Musk: It’s ‘disingenuous to say Twitter is the home of free speech'” Morningstar, 24 May. 2023, https://www.morningstar.com/news/marketwatch/20230524469/mark-cuban-to-elon-musk-its-disingenuous-to-say-twitter-is-the-home-of-free-speech

8. “Elon Musk was left furious after Ron DeSantis’ Twitter Spaces campaign launch saw his own app crash repeatedly” msnNOW, 26 May. 2023, https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/other/elon-musk-was-left-furious-after-ron-desantis-twitter-spaces-campaign-launch-saw-his-own-app-crash-repeatedly/ar-AA1bITsE

9. “Ron DeSantis’ disaster campaign launch on Twitter Spaces blamed on decimated staff” Daily Mail, 26 May. 2023, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12129409/Ron-DeSantis-disaster-campaign-launch-Twitter-Spaces-blamed-decimated-staff.html

10. “Elon Musk has transformed Twitter into a haven for right-wing political leaders” Hunger TV, 24 May. 2023, https://www.hungertv.com/editorial/elon-musk-has-transformed-twitter-into-a-haven-for-right-wing-political-leaders

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