Investigate the man who terrorized America

The boss of Tesla, the space firm SpaceX and the Starlink satellite network is the richest man in the world… also the most out of control. Following risky and chaotic tweets, Musk promises complete freedom in the social network, even if it means shaking democracy.

In a sentence, delivered at the end of Tesla’s earnings conference in September, Elon Musk announced the color: “Obviously we will pay a lot.” Analysts Say Twitter Is Worth $25 Billion; he got it for 44 billion dollars.

An overpaid purchase is an investment celebrated with a machete. Not in a champagne flute, useless to make the clean cut he intended to make. Problem: Elon Musk is a builder, not a degreaser. This is the first time he has bought a company. Genius entrepreneur, definitely. Management of companies in poverty, which remains to be seen.

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His first order to Twitter employees was to make them smile. Especially developers, who are asked to “print 50 pages of their work within thirty days for Elon Musk and his engineers to review”. As time goes by, the company runs out of reams of paper. Printed lines of code piled up on desks. In terms of savings, things got off to a bad start… Then, in the afternoon, an e-mail dropped: “Stop printing!!! Be prepared to show your lines of code on your computer.”

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He parted ways with 50% of the 7,500 employees… via e-mail

On the same day, Elon Musk, who called himself “chief twit” (“twit” means idiot), removed the top 5 leaders. For a reason that will certainly be debated in court, the parties have no intention of leaving Musk their $ 150 million golden parachute. Not to mention severance pay for 50% of the 7,500 employees who broke with him via email.

“This is important in a company that loses 4 million dollars a day,” the new owner reasoned. This prompted him to ask the “survivors” of this purge to find between 500 million and 1 billion in structural savings each year. “Starting with so many servers” that power the network. When Elon Musk is pointed out that, a week before the American election, where Twitter risks heating up like never before, the weather isn’t perfect, he’s in a different place. And wondering how to pluck the throat of his little blue bird. The obsession is not new.

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Subscribed to only 189 accounts, Elon Musk has 100 million followers and tweets all the time

Two months before the Covid19 pandemic was declared, in January 2020, 7,500 Twitter employees gathered in Houston for their annual convention, called #OneTeam. As usual in this type of event, Jack Dorsey, still boss of the social network he founded in 2006, raised the temperature, announcing a surprise guest. Moments later, Elon Musk appeared on a giant screen, greeting the crowd and smiling. Thunderous applause. The enthusiasm of Twitter employees for the Tesla boss is not pretentious: Musk is one of their best customers. Subscribed to only 189 accounts, he has 100 million followers and tweets all the time. As soon as an idea pops into his head, and he has many, including absurd ones, he posts it. To the delight of the social network, which feeds the comments and controversies provoked.

In half-medieval, half-samurai warrior attire for Heidi Klum’s Halloween party on Oct. 31 in New York City.

© Stephen Lovekin//KIPA

On stage, Jack Dorsey spoke remotely to Musk and, somewhat jokingly, asked him: “By the way, do you want to run Twitter?” The room erupted in laughter. The richest man in the world already owns an electric car manufacturer (Tesla), a space launcher company (SpaceX), a brain implant start-up (Neuralink), a company that digs tunnels under Los Angeles ( The Boring Company)… The question is “funny”, really. How can he find time to take care of one of the most influential social networks in the West?

Elon Musk is part of the libertarian movement, where regulation is necessarily an obstacle

However, Musk is taking his time to respond. He left a silence that broke with laughter, before explaining that he would try to make the operation of Twitter’s algorithms more obscure, and that he would improve the readability of the moderation systems. “How do you know if the comments are real or if someone is trying to manipulate the system? Or true, but it is also possible to manipulate the system?” Help remains shocked. Among them, hundreds of moderators use Twitter, a key tool in its operation. In retrospect, they were right to worry, because they were already part of the majority of the cart of employees who were thanked within an hour. “Even for the United States, this is brutal”, commented one of them.

“The bird is released”. His October 28 hiring announcement promises unfettered freedom of speech.

© Dr

Like many American tech entrepreneurs, Elon Musk is part of the libertarian movement, where regulation is necessarily an obstacle. And by its standards, Twitter lives in a straightjacket. “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital public square where issues important to the future of humanity are debated. Twenty-four hours after the Twitter takeover, hate barkers are unleashed .The network firewall has been pierced by a surge of racist messages: + 1700%, according to the analysis company Dataminr. Insults are raining: 215 every five minutes, coming from all over the world.

Musk and Trump have the same principles: anti-system, ultra-liberal, does not hesitate to say anything

With an America torn by a week of crucial elections, the Twitter stranglehold of the man who describes himself as “an absolutist of freedom of expression” is frightening. All the way to the UN, urging Musk to enforce human rights there. The interested party makes arrangements to ensure: “Of course, the platform cannot become a hellish place where everything can be said without consequences.” But, already, the advertisers, who provide 91% of the revenues, are fleeing. Within days, General Motors, CocaCola, Unilever, American Express, Spotify, Nintendo and many other brands, including the French, suspended their ads, waiting to find out what the scope of freedom of expression according to Musk.

On the eve of the transaction, when the future owner arrived on Twitter, a sink (

On the eve of the transaction, the future owner arrived on Twitter, a sink (“sink” in English) in the arms to illustrate the expression “Let it sink” (“I let you understand the information”).

© Dr

If Twitter is an economic dwarf (5 billion dollars in turnover against 118 for Meta [Facebook], for example), it is on the other hand a political giant. It is enough to see the reactions of the American political class – enthusiastic on the Republican side, worried on the Democratic side – to be convinced of this. Donald Trump, chased from the platform after the incidents in the Capitol in January 2021, did not hide his satisfaction: “Twitter is in good hands and will no longer be run by crazy radical leftists who hate our country! »

An “infox” circulates twenty times faster on the Internet than real information

The two men look alike. The verb that is high, asserts its own antisystem, same ultraliberal approach, does not hesitate to say anything. Like when Musk talks about the benefits of chloroquine during the pandemic or, more recently, suggests that the attacker of Nancy Pelosi’s husband, who was attacked with a hammer, was in fact her boyfriend. The tweet will be deleted in the face of the outcry it causes.

The problem, and this is the concern provoked by the acquisition of Musk, is that a “foxy” spreads twenty times faster on the Internet (study of the journal “Science”) than a real information. . At a time when radicalism plagues public debate, this is far from good news. Especially for Joe Biden.

He just bought a megaphone with 220 million subscribers

Without explaining why, Biden chose to make Musk the enemy. How? By not inviting him, in the summer of 2021, to an electric car summit organized at the White House. Worse, he insists that General Motors is a pioneer in its sector and praises its creations, without mentioning Tesla! Elon Musk quickly responded (on Twitter, of course): “Tesla has invested more than twice as much as GM and Ford combined in the production of electric vehicles”, becoming one of his main opponents. In Russia, that won’t be a problem. But in a democracy, being the enemy of the richest man in the world is not the best idea. Especially when he offered himself a megaphone with 220 million subscribers where not only friends of Joe Biden. The proof: Musk took sides and called for the Republican vote.

Finance director Ned Segal was thanked by Elon Musk at the time of the acquisition, along with all the company's leaders.

Finance director Ned Segal was thanked by Elon Musk at the time of the acquisition, along with all the company’s leaders.

© Ellian Raffoul Photography

Ultimately, what does Elon Musk intend to do with Twitter? “Let him be as incredible as possible,” he wrote in an email dated April to the CEO he had just fired. Therefore, the goal is not to make money. Compared to Tesla’s valuation (650 billion dollars), for him Twitter is a mosquito. But Musk knows how to take a business off the ground. In 2004, SpaceX was worth $100 million; society is now worth 125 billion!

He considers the possibility – for a few dollars, of course – of sending a private message to a celebrity

According to investors he met to prepare his round, Elon Musk wanted to get inspiration from WeChat, a Chinese model that is not well known in the West. An application that is both WhatsApp, Uber, Instagram and PayPal. Enough to quintuple advertising revenues and attract more than 900 million people by 2030, Musk predicts.

More eccentrically, he considered the possibility – for a few dollars, of course – of sending a private message to a celebrity. But are the celebrities still there? Some have already stated that they do not intend to pay $8, as planned by Musk, to keep their account certified. “He should pay me!” brings Stephen King. Same shout from anonymous, less concerned. Elon Musk answered them in his own way: “You can destroy me all day, it will be 8 dollars.”

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