Have you heard about this guy Elon Musk? Well, he just bought an app. Crazy.
Musk, a billionaire who sidelines in cars and space but mostly works in memes, is in line to be the new owner of Twitter after his $44 billion acquisition bid was accepted by the company’s board today. Twitter is a popular social media app that a small portion of the population uses but somehow has the power to disrupt our entire global socipolitical system (along with its buddies over at Facebook, of course). Musk, a prominent user of the app who loves to tweet jokes that have already been tweeted by millions of middle schoolers while also complaining about “wokeness,” has been trying to take over Twitter for the last three weeks. Given how lax Twitter has been about patrolling hate speech, political extremism, and outright lies about our government (including, of course, 2020’s election), many are worried what Musk, who says he’s buying Twitter to protect free speech, will do to prevent misinformation and propaganda from being spread on Twitter. Will Georgia’s own unhinged congressional embarrassment Marjorie Taylor Greene, who was calling on Trump’s staff to enforce “Marshall law” to undo the election as late as Jan. 17, 2021, be able to share her blatant lies and nonsense on Twitter again? Will Trump, who was eventually banned after leaving the White House, and after multiple violations of Twitter’s terms of service, return to the app where he once bleated like a child dozens of times a day? (Trump has already said he won’t return to Twitter even if Musk invites him to, but his own social media app, Truth Social, is such a disaster that it’s only a matter of time before Trump dumps it and claims it never existed.) Does it even matter if these two, or other far right extremists who have been banned by Twitter, start using the app again, when there are still countless accounts and bots that spread the same kind of bullshit they’d post on Twitter? Not really.
Some are celebrating Musk’s potential ownership of Twitter. Others are mourning the death of an app that they have deeply mixed feelings about—an app that let them build and find communities of like-minded people, forging lasting personal and professional relationships, but that also has been rife with hatred and harassment, a chief driver in the extreme political division we see today, and is also just really bad for mental health. You really have to hand it to the bad actors on Twitter and the incompetence of the people who run the joint; something that’s been responsible for so many jobs, friendships and romances probably shouldn’t have such a toxic overall reputation.
Twitter’s also been crucial for comedy—both people who make comedy and those who simply want something to laugh at. Lord knows how big it’s been for this comedy section; we don’t run ‘em too much lately, but there have been months when hastily slapped together tweet galleries made up most of our traffic. (Well, along with our hastily slapped together streaming comedy lists.) Today’s news of Twitter acquiescing to Musk’s takeover attempts has been the topic of probably 75% of the tweets I’ve seen today, from serious explanations of why this is worrisome, to people claiming they’ll be leaving the service, to (most importantly) really good jokes about how stupid and fucked up this entire thing is. Let’s look at the funniest of those tweets, collated here for easy consumption. Who knows, with the notoriously prickly Musk taking over, this could be the last time you really get to make fun of the guy on Twitter—no matter what he might say about “free speech.”