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Even Twitter Thinks Elon Musk’s Tweets Are Out of Control

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The simple view

In all the months since Elon Musk has tried to control Twitter, his impulses never once seemed to make sense. Here’s a guy who’s focused on using big science to solve big problems. He leads two large and inspiring companies, Tesla and SpaceX, both of which face significant challenges that he must contend with. He has another company that wants to solve the brain and another that wants to tunnel under big cities. He has seven children…sorry, nine. He must figure out how to get to Mars. But something obsessed him about taking over a 16-year-old company built on brief bursts of self-expression, to the point where he was risking billions of his own dollars and endless distractions to do so, at least until he made up his mind changed .

The only explanation seems to lie in Musk’s own usage of the platform – 18,600 tweets. Twitter can drive people crazy. It makes them do and say things they wouldn’t otherwise do. And few have fallen for it as much as Elon Musk.

So it’s no coincidence that Twitter’s lawsuit, demanding that Musk go through with the deal after Musk withdrew his takeover bid, relies heavily on… his tweets. Right on the record, the company’s lawyers took screenshots of them to build their case, starting with the disrespectful puns Musk made to indicate he was about to make a takeover bid. (He quoted the Elvis tune “Love Me Tender,” citing F. Scott Fiztgerald’s 1934 novel The night is tender.) The filing uses Musk’s tweets to refute his claim that the deal is void because the company misled him about the volume of bot traffic on the platform. It also included several instances where Musk used Twitter to denigrate Twitter, the company he allegedly wanted to buy. Perhaps most damning was Musk’s response to Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal’s thread about the company’s efforts to curb bots: a tweet consisting of a single poop emoji. To quote the brief, “It appears to Musk that Twitter, the interests of his shareholders, the transaction Musk approved, and the court process to enforce it all constitute an elaborate joke.”

While I’m not a lawyer, this seems like a clever legal tactic. I know from personal experience with a junior high school vice principal that people in authority don’t like it when they think the whole process is a ridiculous affair. Even the most unbiased judge might disagree with Musk’s arguments as he frets about the revered regulations that bring order to our financial system.

Is Twitter to blame for this behavior? I’m sure it’s pretty common for senior executives to talk trash in the privacy of their corner office. But Twitter entices impulsive people to share those private thoughts with the world. Musk, whose riches must have initially made him feel invincible, has 100 million followers who like, retweet, and comment supportively of what he does online. Apparently it was all too easy – and clearly a lot of fun – to add trolling to takeover.

https://www.wired.com/story/plaintext-elon-musk-tweets/ Even Twitter Thinks Elon Musk’s Tweets Are Out of Control

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