The more Twitter changes, the more it stays the same

Twitter Musk Trust and Safety
FILE – A sign at Twitter headquarters is shown in San Francisco, Friday, Nov. 18, 2022. Elon Musk’s Twitter has dissolved its Trust and Safety Council, the advisory group of nearly 100 independent civil, human rights and other organizations that the company formed in 2016 to address hate speech, child exploitation, suicide, self-harm and other problems on the platform. The council had been scheduled to meet with Twitter representatives on Monday night, Dec. 12. But Twitter informed the group via email that it was disbanding it shortly before the meeting was to take place, according to multiple members. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File) Jeff Chiu/AP

The more Twitter changes, the more it stays the same

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The loud whining from liberal journalists and, to a lesser extent, the cheers from the Right, over how Twitter is run under Elon Musk ignores the fact that the social media site is operating in the same way it did before, just for a different “team.”

Establishment journalists flew into a rage (again) over the weekend in response to Twitter banning several journalists for various reasons, without much explanation or much clarity on how long they would be suspended. This was normal for right-wing users over the last several years when Twitter was run by liberal activists, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from the panicked reactions of journalists who were suddenly very concerned about free speech.

Twitter was always governed by vague, improvised rules and rulings. Liberal journalists are only just now realizing that those things can go the other way, now that all of their “contacts” at Twitter are gone.

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Although conservatives are understandably (and even deservingly) taking a victory lap as liberal journalists learn that they are no longer a protected class on Twitter, they shouldn’t get too happy. Musk is running Twitter similarly to how previous leadership ran it. He arbitrarily decided that he would ban an account after explicitly saying he wouldn’t, then changed Twitter policy after the fact to justify that reversal. He’s also walked back ill-considered policy changes due solely to user backlash, and he has adopted the liberal language of banning things that make people “unsafe.”

Twitter has not changed substantially since Musk took over, at least in terms of how decisions are made. It has been given a new coat of paint, but rules and bans are just as vague and improvised as they have always been. While it is certainly entertaining to see liberal journalists finally deal with the concerns that they dismissed for years, there is nothing stopping the pendulum of arbitrary rules from swinging back in the other direction again.

At the end of the day, the changes at Twitter are not nearly worth the amount of time, energy, and emotion that have been devoted to it in other pockets of media, because not much has actually changed outside of its partisan appeal. You would think that journalists that have an unhealthy obsession with the site would have noticed this, and yet the complaints have only grown louder as Twitter has continued to treat them the same as it has everyone else.

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