Last week was rough for Elon Musk, who announced over the weekend that Twitter still had negative cash flow and had lost 50 percent of its ad revenue since he took over.
For Musk, who has spent his tenure at Twitter firing necessary employees, demanding “extremely hardcore” work from those who remain, and cozying up to and amplifying far right figures in the name of “free speech,” the realities of running a social media platform appear to be setting in. Despite his repeated boasts of high usage, Twitter has undeniably lost some of its cultural relevance as the platform is increasingly dominated by right-wing trolls, crypto scammers, and bots.
Check out this piece in New Republic about how Musk funneled thousands of dollars to right-wing influencers on Twitter last week.
As it turns out, many companies that once advertised on Twitter do not want to be associated with what the platform is becoming. The political right may enjoy entrenched power in Washington and systemic advantages thanks to the Electoral College, gerrymandering, and unlimited political spending, but one thing it lacks is cultural clout.
Musk gambled on individuals whose views are far outside the mainstream of modern America and Twitter has suffered as a result. While the platform has had its problems in the past balancing politics and its unique role in the national discourse, today, there appears to be no sense of responsibility from Twitter’s leadership. Musk has a viewpoint that he wants to spread.
We’ve written a lot about Twitter and Musk lately because the decline of the platform has far-reaching implications. Not only does it raise a serious question what role a far-right-boosting, misinformation-hosting Twitter will play in the upcoming election, but what it will mean for activists, journalists, and concerned members of the public for whom the platform gave unique access to political leaders.
As we have previously said, it is essential for alternatives to emerge, but also unlikely. There may never be another Twitter and we will adapt. But it is a loss.
With that, please enjoy this selection of last week’s top stories!
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The oceans are changing color because of climate change, new research has found, and the implications are dire. Grist had the details.
Republicans in Congress are holding hearings on ESG (environmental, social, and governance), to prevent companies from modifying their behavior in response to the climate crisis. Center for Media and Democracy had a must-read story about how the Republicans holding the hearings and their witnesses are tied to fossil fuels.
Power in a Union
Labor activism is surging across the country. UPS is facing a potential strike by its workers. Now, political donations by the company’s CEO are facing scrutiny. The Intercept revealed that Carol Tome has been donating money to anti-union Republicans for years. Check it out!
Actors have joined Hollywood writers in their strike. It is the first time since 1960 that SAG-AFTRA actors have joined the WGA on strike. More Perfect Union put out a video last week explaining the move.
Less publicized than the Hollywood strike but no less important, Los Angeles hotel workers are also on strike. The Nation had the story.
With Donald Trump’s legal troubles mounting—the former president has already been indicted in two cases—and now there is a question of ballot access looming over his campaign. States Newsroom had a story about how the question is playing out in Colorado where the secretary of state is facing pressure to bar Trump from the ballot over his role in the January 6 Capitol insurrection on the grounds that the 14th Amendment prohibits any person who had previously taken an oath “to support the Constitution of the United States” from holding office if they have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof."
Trump’s biggest challenger in the GOP primary, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to struggle with voters. DeSantis’ poll numbers have been less than stellar, raising questions about his viability as a candidate. WhoWhatWhy had a rundown of the governor’s problems.
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