It's becoming increasingly clear what Elon Musk is doing to his recently acquired social network.
The Twitter CEO reactivated Donald Trump's previously banned account based on the "false mandate" of a poll gamed by his right-wing fan base, after restoring access to rabidly antisemitic and anti-trans accounts, and those moves put his other, more mystifying actions into focus, according to MSNBC's Zeesham Aleem.
"Musk's brief tenure at Twitter so far has been marked by extreme chaos: mass firings, ad hoc policies that are often suspended or inconsistently applied, and contradictory messaging about what Twitter does and doesn't stand for," Aleem writes. "But his behavior looks more intelligible if it is understood as crafting a political project."
In essence, the Tesla and SpaceX tycoon had reshaped the social network to reward right-wing extremism in the same way Trump rebuilt the Republican Party around those same elements.
"In reality there is no evidence that Musk views Twitter through the lens of enriching society as a whole, or building a civic space that's designed to meet the needs of a vast and complex global society online," Aleem writes. "Rather, he seems increasingly to view his fans and right-wing thinkers as his base, and he wants to cater to them and amplify their power. (Sound familiar?)"
Musk has long tried to present himself as a futurist focused on technological solutions to humanity's problems, but his management of Twitter has revealed that he's just another rich Republican intent on freeing his business interests from government oversight and exploiting bigotry to gain more personal power.
"Musk's game is becoming increasingly obvious, and the interests he has in playing this game are also obvious," Aleem writes. "As the richest man on Earth and a proudly exploitative executive, he has a direct interest in amplifying the power of the right. He shares the Republican Party's hostility to unions, higher tax rates on corporations and the ultra-wealthy, and regulations on businesses. He also seems to find the left's growing focus on anti-bigotry off-putting, and he doesn't like challenges to his authority."