elon musk on the twitter files, free speech, & more

Elon Musk: The Twitter Files | Twitter Spaces – December 4th, 2022

Key Takeaways

  • The idea of the Twitter Files was to come clean on everything from the past to help build public trust for the future; why should people believe Twitter in the future if Twitter doesn’t come clean about the past?
  • “It’s just obvious that there’s been a lot of control of information and suppression of information, including things that affected elections.”Elon Musk
  • Elon determined that maliciously posting swastikas on Twitter was an incitement of violence and something that warranted an account like Ye’s to be removed
    • “I personally wanted to punch Kanye, so that was definitely inciting me to violence.” – Elon Musk
  • Most social media companies were started and grew out of San Francisco, which has resulted in the exportation of San Francisco’s moral framework to Earth
  • The legacy media is trying to turn the Twitter Files into a “nothing burger” because the legacy media was complicit in deceiving the American public
  • “Frankly, Twitter was acting like an arm of the Democratic National Committee.” – Elon Musk
  • Competition is a force for keeping companies honest; if there’s a competition for the truth, and Twitter wins the competition for the truth, then Twitter will win over the readership and the attention of the public, which will force everyone else to tell the truth too
  • “The risk of something bad happening to me or even literally being shot is quite significant. I’m definitely not going to be doing any open-air car parades.” – Elon Musk
  • People take free speech for granted and assume it is the default operating system for society; throughout history, free speech has been highly unusual, not common  
  • Elon’s “bullsh*t meter” started ringing in his one phone call with Sam Bankman-Fried
  • People often take civilization for granted when they’ve only existed in an upcycle; they assume that things just always get better in the future, but things don’t automatically get better  
  • “Hunter Biden seems kind of fun, to be honest. It seems like he knows how to have a good time.” – Elon Musk   
  • “George Orwell’s 1984 is supposed to be a warning, not an instruction manual.”Elon Musk 
  • “If it’s the last thing I do, I will defeat the damn bots and trolls.” – Elon Musk

Intro 

  • Elon Musk (@elonmusk) is a business magnate and investor. He is the founder, CEO, and chief engineer of SpaceX; angel investor, CEO, and product architect of Tesla; founder of The Boring Company; co-founder of Neuralink and OpenAI; and owner and CEO of Twitter 
  • In this conversation, Elon Musk hopped on Twitter Spaces (while traveling on his private jet) to discuss the Twitter Files, the Hunter Biden Laptop story, the suspension of Kanye West, the exportation of San Francisco’s moral framework to the rest of the world, election interference, NPC Groupthink, free speech, concerns over his own safety, the rise and fall of civilizations, the deterioration of once elite institutions, crypto, SBF, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, the intelligence community, Tesla, what made him buy Twitter, Neuralink, Big Brother, defeating the bots, and what can be expected in the release of more Twitter files. Over 1.1M people joined the Twitter Spaces at some point.  
  • Check out these Podcast Notes from Elon’s conversation with Ron Baron immediately after the Twitter acquisition 

The Twitter Files  

  • The idea of the Twitter Files was to come clean on everything from the past to help build public trust for the future
    • Why should people believe Twitter in the future if Twitter doesn’t come clean about the past?
  • Elon gave Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss unfettered access to old Twitter documents
  • Their access is not like a “North Korea tour guide situation”; Taibbi and Weiss have access to everything and have complete autonomy over how they release it 
  • “I was seeing Matt’s tweets as he was tweeting them. I was just as eager to see them as everyone else.” – Elon Musk  
  • Elon thinks Matt did a great job; there may have been a few cases where email addresses should have been excluded 
  • “It’s just obvious that there’s been a lot of control of information and suppression of information, including things that affected elections.”Elon Musk 

The Suspension of Kanye West on Twitter

  • It was Elon’s decision to remove Kanye West from Twitter
  • Elon removed Ye from Twitter because he was inciting violence, which is against the law 
  • It is not legal to form a “Let’s Go Murder Someone” club
  • The relevant question is, “What is incitement of violence?”
  • Elon determined that maliciously posting swastikas on Twitter was an incitement of violence and something that warranted an account to be removed 
  • “I personally wanted to punch Kanye, so that was definitely inciting me to violence.” – Elon Musk  

Back to the Twitter Files

  • There will be more releases of Twitter files beyond Matt Taibbi’s release of the documents related to the Hunter Biden laptop story
  • The point of releasing Twitter files is to come clean on everything
  • People don’t have to agree or disagree with what Twitter has done in the past or what it will do in the future, but they should at least know what has occurred, or what is occurring behind the scenes 
  • Twitter users will be better able to calibrate and interpret what they learn on the platform if the company is more transparent relative to a version of Twitter that pretended to be unbiased, but was clearly not  
  • It is impossible to get everyone to agree with the actions that Twitter takes, but it is possible for Twitter to be fully transparent going forward
  • Elon Musk wants to maximize transparency in the following areas:
    • What is Twitter doing?
    • What is Twitter not doing?
    • How does the algorithm work?
    • If an account is suspended, why is it suspended?
    • If an account is de-boosted, show why it is de-boosted. 
    • If an account is search-banned, show why it is search-banned.
  • Adding more transparency to the platform will be a slower process than people will like
  • “I got to make sure Twitter is stable from a financial standpoint, and is not losing tons of money and goes bankrupt, in which case all bets are off.”Elon Musk  

The Exportation of San Francisco’s Moral Framework 

  • Most of these social media companies were started and grew out of San Francisco, which has resulted in the exportation of San Francisco’s moral framework to Earth 
  • The exportation of the city’s moral framework is problematic because now San Francisco politics affect the entire world, according to Elon
  • The centralization of information by social media companies operating in places that have strong political biases is “not good”
  • There should be a wide range of political views represented on Twitter, not just “far far left” views that are common in San Francisco
  • “Generally, I want Twitter to be a force for good for the future of civilization.” – Elon Musk 

Elon’s Message To The Legacy Media About The Twitter Files

  • The legacy media is trying to turn the Twitter Files into a “nothing burger” because the legacy media was complicit in deceiving the American public
  • “Shame on them.” – Elon Musk on the legacy media deceiving the American public 

Election Interference, Twitter, and DNC Collusion 

  • If Twitter is doing one team’s bidding before a pivotal election, such as shutting down dissenting voices, then that is the very definition of election interference 
  • “Frankly, Twitter was acting like an arm of the Democratic National Committee.”Elon Musk 
  • The level of collusion between social media companies and the DNC is “insane”, according to Elon 
  • Twitter is the one company that is no longer colluding and no longer going with the non-player character (NPC) groupthink 
  • “I should probably increase my security or something.” – Elon Musk on Twitter unsubscribing from NPC Groupthink   
  • “Maybe I should be more worried than I am, but generally if you do right by the people, then you have the people on your side.”Elon Musk 

Senator Warren & NPC Groupthink

  • Senator Elizabeth Warren said that one person should not have control over the narrative, referring to Elon’s control over Twitter 
  • “It’s not one person who has control of the narrative because there’s the entire mainstream media establishment who all talk like groupthink NPCs. There’s Facebook, there’s Google, there’s TikTok. No, the actual problem is there’s one person who isn’t toeing the line – that’s the real problem.”  – Elon Musk’s response to Elizabeth Warren 
  • As soon as one person stops toeing the line, it becomes very obvious who is toeing the line and who is a mouthpiece for NPC groupthink 
  • Competition is a force for keeping companies honest; if there’s a competition for the truth, and Twitter wins the competition for the truth, then Twitter will win over the readership and the attention of the public, which will force everyone else to tell the truth too 
  • In the United States, there is a risk of going against the will of the people 

On Being Killed By the Establishment, Free Speech 

  • “The risk of something bad happening to me or even literally being shot is quite significant. I’m definitely not going to be doing any open-air car parades.”Elon Musk  
  • “It’s not that hard to kill me if somebody wanted to, so hopefully they don’t.” –  Elon Musk 
  • Elon wants a future where speech is not suppressed and we can say what we want to say without fear of reprisal  
  • You should be able to say what you want as long as you are not causing harm to someone else 
  • People take free speech for granted; throughout history, free speech has been highly unusual, not common  
  • We have to fight very hard to keep free speech because it is such a rare thing
  • Free speech is not something that happens by default 
  • Controlled speech is the default, not free speech 
  • It is incredibly ironic that so many legacy media reporters and politicians call for constraints on free speech
  • Given the history of what’s been sacrificed to have free speech in society, reporters and politicians calling for constraints on free speech is “crazy”, and it feels like we’re living in Bizarro World, according to Elon Musk 

Elite Educational Institutions

  • The elite educational institutions are effective at propagating the anti-free speech, woke mind virus 
  • You’re told what to think at these elite educational institutions 
  • How much actual intellectual freedom is there at elite educational institutions?
  • The founders of Harvard were right to adopt the motto “Veritas”, which means “the shield of truth”, but is Harvard the shield of truth today?
    • Maybe not, according to Elon 

Crypto

  • Being able to control the monetary system and censor transactions is akin to censoring free speech 
  • PayPal has strayed from the path of freedom to transact; it is moving in the direction of social credit instead of being an open monetary system 
  • Without endorsing any single cryptocurrency, Elon thinks there is a role for crypto in the future as a means of ensuring that the monetary system does not get completely corrupted 
  • Crypto provides competition to the fiat system: the more overly restrictive the fiat system becomes, the more crypto will grow
  • “Basically, the better that the fiat system works, the less prominent crypto will be. The  worse the fiat system becomes, the more crypto will grow.”Elon Musk  
  • “Whether banks create their own cryptocurrencies is somewhat irrelevant; people will use the cryptocurrencies that they think will accrue value over time, and not use ones that don’t.” – Elon Musk 

SBF

  • Elon had one phone call with SBF that was supposed to be about SBF participating in the Twitter deal 
  • Elon took the call because Morgan Stanley and others kept saying that SBF was the best and that he had tons of money 
  • On the call, SBF talked about himself and FTX the entire time, speaking at a mile-a-minute, and ultimately tipped off Elon’s “bullsh*t meter” 

Julian Assange & Edward Snowden  

  • “I just don’t know enough about the Assange situation to say whether he should be punished or not punished. But I’m generally in favor of freedom of information, and if there is any doubt, we should lean on the side of freedom of information.” – Elon Musk 
  • The people of the United States should be the ones to judge Edward Snowden, not select people in the government  
  • There is no easy answer to the Snowden and Assange situations
  • Elon agreed to do a Twitter poll asking his followers whether or not they think Snowden and Assange should be pardoned, which can be found here 

Twitter’s Roadmap  

  • Put all the information out there to try and get a clean slate 
  • Work iteratively to provide the most truthful, accurate, and timely information to the people
  • If Twitter is successful in doing so, then it will compete for effectively than any other source of information, which will attract more users to the platform 
  • New Twitter’s competitive pressure will force other social media companies and legacy media institutions to also be more truthful because otherwise they will simply lose their readership
  • Twitter will make many mistakes, but iteratively, the company’s net vector will be toward truth
  • Hopefully, Twitter becomes the place to actually figure out what’s going on, and get the unfiltered truth 
  • Instead of mainstream media crafting narratives, which really just consists of a handful of editors, the Twitter collective will identify the most truthful or relevant narrative 
  • It is common for big news organizations to ignore significant events happening around the world, which is not optimal if society relies on them to distribute information 
  • Allowing content creators to post the truth on Twitter will put competitive pressure on YouTube and Facebook to allow for the same, or else their monetization will flow to Twitter  

Twitter and The Intelligence Community 

  • Twitter will refuse any illegal requests made by the U.S. government or requests that can be fought using the legal system 

The Rise and Fall of Civilizations 

  • In the scope of history, we are in this rare, precious situation where there is freedom of speech for the most part 
  • “We have this rare moment in history where the voice of the people is mostly not suppressed. But now, there are people trying to suppress it, and we need to fight really hard for the freedom of speech. I think this is essential to the future of civilization.” Elon Musk      
  • People often take civilization for granted when they’ve only existed in an upcycle; they assume that things just always get better in the future, but things don’t automatically get better  
  • Civilizations tend to have an arc; we do not want to find ourselves on the downslope of that arc 
  • Elon subscribes to the Douglas Adams philosophy that says the universe is the answer:  we should strive towards greater understanding to expand the scope and scale of consciousness 
  • A religion of curiosity contributes to the continual progress of humanity

Hunter Biden & The Ministry of Truth 

  • “Hunter Biden seems kind of fun, to be honest. It seems like he knows how to have a good time.”Elon Musk     
  • The government’s push to create a disinformation ministry after the 2020 election was completely insane, according to Elon
    • George Orwell was turning in his grave when the government announced a “Ministry of Truth” department
  • “George Orwell’s 1984 is supposed to be a warning, not an instruction manual.”Elon Musk 

Tesla Earnings on Twitter Spaces

  • There are tons of legal hindrances that limit the amount of fun Elon could have on a Tesla Earnings Twitter Spaces 
  • Regardless, he commits to doing an earnings call on Twitter Spaces

WeChat, The Evolution of Tech at Twitter 

  • Twitter should add some of the functionality that WeChat has, not necessarily make it like WeChat  
  • Adding both fiat and crypto payments to Twitter is a “no brainer”
  • Twitter will add long-form written and video content functionality that can be easily monetized 
  • Excluding acquisitions, the evolution of technology at Twitter has been very slow 
  • “If it takes a year to do an edit button, and the edit button still doesn’t work properly, then you can have a million good ideas but they’re irrelevant because you can’t implement them.”Elon Musk  

European Union 

  • The European Union’s Digital Services Act is “mostly good”, according to Elon, but we must be cognizant of how it is implemented 
  • Government officials should not be unilaterally deciding what is and what is not “misinformation”, let alone unelected government officials who no one knows exists 

What Made Elon Musk Buy Twitter 

  • Since Elon took over, Twitter has done more to stop child exploitation on the platform than the company did over the previous ten years 
  • There wasn’t a single Schelling point that convinced Elon he had to buy Twitter
  • Some things that contributed to Elon’s desire to buy Twitter:
    • The increasing NPC Groupthink from legacy media
    • All the social media companies toeing the line 
    • Society trending more toward speech suppression than freedom of speech 
  • Without these trends reversing course, it is possible for freedom of speech to dissolve 

Neuralink 

  • Artificial intelligence is moving much faster than Neuralink is progressing 
  • For the next few years, Neuralink is focused on restoring movement to people that have a broken neck or spine, and restoring vision  
  • Companies developing artificial superintelligence should not be allowed to go “hog wild”  without some form of oversight, given the risks to society  

Section 230 

  • It’s not necessarily a good thing if the House, Senate, and Executive Branch of the U.S. government are all of one party
    • It’s ideal when at least one of these three is of the other party to ensure checks and balances 
  • “I’m actually a huge moderate.”Elon Musk on his political affiliation 
  • The government should pass laws that are in the best interest of the people, not in the best interest of a small segment of people 

Big Brother Vibes

  • Twitter will adhere to the law, but it will not go beyond the law
  • Twitter will work to reduce the number of partnerships and backdoors that have “Big Brother vibes”, such as the Trusted Partner program 
  • If Twitter does not believe a law is in the best interest of the people, then Twitter will work to change the law so that it is in the best interest of the people 

More Twitter Files To Come 

  • There needs to be some type of coherence in the initial release of the first few Twitter files releases, which is why it’s just Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss releasing them 
  • Once Twitter believes that the critical stories have been told, then a data dump of all the files may be more appropriate 
  • The people attacking Matt Taibbi should look in the mirror and ask themselves why they chose to deceive the American public, according to Elon 

Defeating The Damn Bots & Trolls

  • “If it’s the last thing I do, I will defeat the damn bots and trolls.”Elon Musk  
  • Defeating the bots and trolls is an all-out war, and Twitter is going to win the war “big time” 
  • It must become more expensive for the bad actor to operate bots and trolls, hence the eventual rollout of Twitter Blue
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