In a tweet last Friday, former Reddit CEO Yishan Wong said that Tesla CEO Elon Musk is ‘in for a world of pain” if he actually acts on his plans to buy Twitter. Wong argued that Musk did not entirely understand the challenges of enforcing free speech and content moderation on the internet. He said that he is ‘sure’ that the billionaire CEO would not successfully fix any issues. In the currently viral thread, he mentioned that Musk has no clue “what he’s in for.”
The thread is mainly based on Wong’s strong belief that Musk would not be able to truly maintain the ideals of free speech from the ‘old internet.’ This is owing to how the present day’s internet works, with all its complications. Wong argued that as the modern internet is advanced to the point where anyone posts anytime. Resultantly, platforms as far reaching as Twitter are generally compelled into censorship. Though not by governments or users, platforms are eventually forced into censorship by the ’emergent dynamics’ of the network themselves.
Censorship is inevitable on large social network platforms. If you run one of sufficient size, you will be FORCED to censor things,” he said.
I've now been asked multiple times for my take on Elon's offer for Twitter.
So fine, this is what I think about that. I will assume the takeover succeeds, and he takes Twitter private. (I have little knowledge/insight into how actual takeover battles work or play out)
Despite beliefs of users or the government, Wong specified that politics do not dictate these factors. In fact, the ‘powerful and dangerous’ nature of ideas that instead determine these factors. Moreover, Wong mentioned such large platforms should be responsible for controlling people from losing control on the internet.
Additionally, he said that it is not the nature of the idea but rather the results of ‘operational issues’ that come up with users. He went on to state that these users that are visibly often in disagreement in great number on online platforms nowadays. Other than the true basis of Wong’s debate, what he wanted to prove was that it is rather difficult to run a social media network. Musk had previously thought of running his own network, and currently runs huge companies of other sorts. However, operating a social media network is still harder than what Musk can imagine.
Continuing, Wong gave the example of Twitter’s co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey’s extreme lifestyle to prove his point. Many speculate that Dorsey’s lifestyle is affected by the trauma and chronic stress that accompanies such positions. He went on to point out how this goal of Musk would badly effect ‘all of humanity.’ Wong referred to the Tesla CEO getting distracted from his goals at Tesla and SpaceX. Resultantly, Musk referred to this as a ‘novella of a thread.’ In response, he said that a ‘long form tweet feature’ was long overdue for Twitter.