Vice headlines a story, "Neo-Nazis, Antisemites, and the N-Word: Twitter Just Hours Under Elon Musk." The New Republic headlines a hysterical "Why Elon Musk’s Idea of "Free Speech' Will Help Ruin America."
The subhead of that story reads, to wit: "Twitter without content moderation — and with Donald Trump and others reinvited — means that lies and disinformation will overwhelm the truth and the fascists will take over."
My best progressive friend told me that she thought Musk bought Twitter just "because he could," implying a rich man’s toy.
That assessment is quite incorrect.
Twitter’s the laggard in social media asset value, "horribly mismanaged" (in Peter Thiel’s insightful analysis) by its lovely hippie founder, Jack Dorsey, of the opinion that "Twitter … should have never been a company. That was the original sin."
This writer is an aging hippie, who has nothing against hippies.
Larry Page and Sergei Brin, the founders of Google, hired Eric Schmidt because of his participation in Burning Man.
Why? As Peter Drucker once supposedly observed, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast."
Yet, Musk and his investors surely believe he can turn a $44 billion investment into a $440 billion asset. Or, anyway, something well north of $44 billion.
Shortly after buying Twitter Musk proclaimed "Dear Twitter Advertisers: . . . Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences! In addition to our adhering to the laws of the land, our platform must be warm and welcoming to all. . . . "
Translation? No 8chan internet cesspool here.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, Musk announced that "Twitter will form a content moderation council with 'widely diverse viewpoints'. . . . " Exactly right!
And I, "the second most conservative man in the world" per a Washington Post columnist, have expertise. This writer is the only conservative to win the world’s preeminent award for Web Advocacy, curated by the Paris-based World eDemocracy Society, the Trophée du Choix des Internautes, recognizing me as one of the "Top Ten Who are Transforming the World of Internet and Politics" for my critically acclaimed 2008 book, "The Websters’ Dictionary: How to use the Web to Transform the World."
Moreover, that year, I was the network creator for TeamSarah.org. It was recognized as the largest and most successful white label conservative social network of its era.
Using Gina Bianchini’s Ning.com I created this site for the pro-life SBA List in about an hour. Soon it was getting a million interactions a month (earning me pariah status in the mercenary world of the beltway bandits).
Fluke? In 2022 I, with my best Web-protégé, Bill Collier, founded (and serve as the blogger for) UkrainianGlory.org. It received 547,000 unique visitors in September and 620,000+ unique visitors in October. Without advertising.
Back to TeamSarah.org.
Along with those million interactions came a whole lot of "hellscape."
Progressive trolls aggressively posted vile content designed to discredit Team Sarah, falsely painting it as a hotbed of racism, sexism, homophobia and other sins.
I recruited the same Bill Collier, one of the founders of the progenitor to the Tea Party, to serve as its community governance manager.
Collier and his team were able to find, enter, document and expose the dens of the progressive fanatics scheming to discredit us with phony content.
Collier’s exposé of the progressives’ underground fake content factories allowed us to keep the establishment media from falling for their attempted defamation.
We were joined by another Web-adept Tea Party conservative, Rachel Alexander, founder and editor of intellectualconserative.com. Together we produced a simple, effective, community governance standard: “the Commons.”
Collier trained the moderators to assess suitability of content by three factors - a/k/a, The Three Commons:
- Common sense.
- Common decency.
- Common courtesy.
Anyone who violated the community standard of common sense, decency or courtesy would be admonished. If they persisted, their misconduct would be hauled before Team Sarah’s equivalent of Twitter’s "Content Moderation Council."
There, people, not algorithms, would make an assessment. If it flunked one of the Commons the mods would be authorized to ostracize persistent violators.
Dorsey’s Twitter had a "Trust and Safety Council." That Council’s membership was comprised almost exclusively of progressive and progressive-leaning entities.
Per Pew, only about 6% of the American population identifies as progressive left.
Twitter’s leftward tilt biased it outside the general social consensus.
As was Twitter’s right. Yet … bad for business!
Balance among partisans, far different from "hate speech," is a great thing. Advertisers wish to reach more than 6% of potential customers.
Musk’s promise to restore widely diverse viewpoints (the very antithesis of fascism!) is good business. To achieve a civically excellent and commercially lucrative "common digital town square" Musk would do well to adopt the heretofore enumerated Three Commons.
And to make Twitter the most valuable social media platform on Earth, Elon, invite Collier and Alexander in to help you build Twitter’s new Content Moderation Council.
Ralph Benko, co-author of "The Capitalist Manifesto" and chairman and co-founder of "The Capitalist League," is the founder of The Prosperity Caucus and is an original Kemp-era member of the Supply-Side revolution that propelled the Dow from 814 to its current heights and world GDP from $11T to $94T. Read Ralph Benko's reports — More Here.
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