The furor over Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter intrigues me. It reveals much about the state of our States where social media is concerned. Fairness is no longer based upon each team playing by the same rules; it’s about whose ox is getting gored. A sword has two edges and both of them cut. Some would like swords that have one edge and cut only one way. I cannot read Musk’s mind, but it appears he believes that if social media is a sword, it should have two edges. Or none at all.
Imagine a baseball game where the umpire calls every hit a foul ball for one team while overlooking strikes on the other. Or a basketball game where the referees selectively assess fouls on one team while ignoring them on the other. Eventually, the disadvantaged team is going to revolt. It’s an apt analogy of the ‘rules’ multiple platforms have utilized to modify content. The giants of social media have systematically thrown the game for one team over the past several years. They have prevented legitimate, informative discourse by censoring content that contradicts the bias du jour no matter how factual that content is.
Take the Hunter Biden laptop investigation, for example. The narrative was first geared toward vehemently denying the laptop was his. This soon evolved into explaining it away as Russian disinformation. The owner of the repair shop was discredited and targeted with death threats. Those who reported on the sick, salacious content contained in the laptop were immediately censored and, as in the case of the New York Post, frozen out of Twitter.
The following is from npr.org, 10/14/20:
“Twitter went further. It is blocking users from posting pictures of the (Hunter Biden) emails or links to two of the New York Post's stories referring to them, spokesman Trenton Kennedy said, citing its rules against sharing "content obtained through hacking that contains private information.”
We now know that the laptop was indeed Biden’s, that the content was not obtained through hacking, that it wasn’t Russian disinformation, that it contains unimaginably sick videos, that it’s a treasure trove documenting shady deals and international influence peddling. As the truth slowly rises out of the mire, the footprints of those who selectively buried the story are glaringly evident.
Enter Elon Musk. Musk is hardly an ideologue. He is neither conservative nor liberal, a pragmatist perhaps, and it seems he believes in playing by the same rules for both teams. Why this upsets one team to the point of hysteria (witness the flurry of invectives thrown at Musk) reveals an insidious pathology that erodes social harmony; one small, vocal, and powerful segment will not accept the same rules for both teams. They want nothing less than a thrown game.
This is troubling. What if the ‘other’ team, so incensed over this disparity, takes over the game, hires new refs and flips the bias? The once favored team suddenly finds itself playing by the same unfair rules they alone established. This is the very fear exploding on the public stage which explains the hysteria.
We cannot possibly get along without all playing by the same rules and no team should be either unjustly favored or disadvantaged. Hopefully, fairness on social media will be restored no matter how much it upsets people who resent the least contradiction to their flagging narrative. Is it possible this is Musk’s sole intention? We should earnestly hope so.