Column: Twitter Gained Influence on a Foundation of Lies That Elon Musk Threatens to Uncover

The greatest threat Elon Musk poses to Twitter is not taking control of the platform for future purposes, but uncovering the previous inner workings of the entire ruse.

Musk estimates that fake accounts make up at least 20 percent of all Twitter users, exceeding the 5 percent Twitter reported to the U.S. Securities and Exchange. If Musk can prove his case — and a recent audit survey about the sum of fake followers suggests his case is strong — Twitter would face legal consequences.

Musk also has an opportunity to pull back the curtain on the foundation of lies that propelled Twitter to lead the most influential institutions in the country into a false reality.

The strength of Twitter is its ability to manipulate the conversation. Musk is right when he calls the service a de facto public town square. Twitter is the arbiter of facts and misinformation, the producer of trends, and the editor of the free press. Twitter amassed enough influence to normalize even the most fringe political characters and interfere in presidential elections, say by suppressing a credibly reported story about a candidate’s family.

In addition to infesting its platform with politically-controlled users, skeptics have long accused Twitter of accomplishing its feat of power through selectively censoring content and shadowbanning accounts. All three of these practices gained credence following Musk’s purchase of Twitter.

The day after Twitter accepted an offer from Musk for $44 billion, there was an irregular change in follower counts. Joe Rogan and Donald Trump Jr. gained hundreds of thousands of followers, while supposed good guys Barack Obama and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez saw substantial declines.

Twitter blamed these oddities on a broad user response to Musk’s purchase. “These fluctuations appear to largely have been a result of an increase in new account creation and deactivation,” Twitter said. No one believed that explanation then. Now, it’s almost certain that was a lie.

More likely, upon learning that Musk could obtain access to the way Twitter operates behind the scenes, Twitter frantically tried to cover its tracks by eliminating pages of fake users and evidence that showed that its algorithm disfavored select posts.

That’d also explain why a social media service could so successfully popularize kooky ideas, like #DefundThePolice and that pregnant man emoji.

Faceless Twitter employees have had the ability to tilt certain users’ perceived favorability — a substantial factor in online activity — as they choose.

This is a form of dopamine. Users feel an immediate rush from likes, shares, retweets and comments. If their followers ignore them, they feel rejected. Engagement motivates users, providing them a sense of belonging. It’s persuasion at its finest.

Indeed, there are all too many accounts that will follow current narratives and avoid independent thought. No one wants to be the lonely poster on the online playground. As a result, a social media platform can program vulnerable users to accept any idea or trend.

In a society that only memes can describe succinctly, the message-board famous photo of an NPC proclaiming its support for the “Current Thing” summarizes the manipulative nature of Twitter.

With power that great, Twitter chose to distort the truth. For evidence, look no further than when the hall monitors escorted the Babylon Bee’s satirical account off Twitter for referring to a biological man as a male. 

In a world in which the truth is punishable, the lie becomes reality.

And on Tuesday night, Project Veritas, one of the few outlets that practice journalism, obtained a clip of a Twitter executive bragging about the lengths to which the company went to stranglehold users who challenged the accepted falsehoods.

Meet Alex Martinez, a man born to work for this Twitter regime:

Consider what he’s saying, that Twitter is so devoted to — in his words — “a woke ideology” that falsifies facts that it is even willing to sacrifice profits for its preferred narrative. That describes a cult, not a business.

Twitter never provided an open service for free-thinking or honest discourse. As the executive inside the company admits, Twitter is a tool to amplify one side of the discussion and silence the other.

That is how Twitter promulgated the woke way, by convincing trendsetters that the rest of the country aligned with the Twitter norm. But the rest never did.

Apologizing for your whiteness is a strategy to gain retweets. Yet you try that in public, and people wonder what’s wrong with you, assuming something is indeed seriously wrong.

The phrase “Twitter is not real life” has new meaning. The entire platform is deceiving, from the numbers to the engagement to the fame.

If you’ve allowed Twitter messaging to alter your way of thinking, as the supposed movers and shakers have, you’ve participated in a lie.

The true Tale of Elon Musk and Twitter is about exposing how a social media platform that most working Americans barely know exists has reshaped our culture, a lie at a time.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers media, politics, and sports at OutKick.

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