March 29, 2023

"Genuine users are rightly outraged at the idea of being blackmailed into paying Musk to prove who they are."

"These people — the signal amid the Twitter noise — are, after all, a core component of the value of the network. So of course they shouldn’t (and won’t) pay — and so their visibility on Twitter will decay.... In a further twist, only paying users will get a vote in future Twitter policy polls — meaning Musk will guarantee populist decision-making is rigged in his fanboys’ favor...."

Writes Natasha Lomas in "Twitter is dying" (TechCrunch).

"The upshot is Musk is turning Twitter into the opposite of a meritocracy. He’s channeling pure chaos — just like the cartoon ‘chaotic evil’ villains love to.... That our system allows wealth to be turned into a weapon to nuke things of broad societal value is one hard lesson we should take away from the wreckage of downed turquoise feathers.... We should also consider how.... our democratic systems seem so incapable and frozen in the face of confident vandals running around spray-painting ‘freedom’ all over the walls as they burn the library down."

So: "Musk is turning Twitter into the opposite of a meritocracy." How's that?

Lomas's idea must be that people who had blue checks in the past embodied merit — presumably because they'd achieved places of distinction within traditional media. The new system gives checks to those who pay (and have their identity verified). So, there's no more reliance on the meritocracy of the world beyond Twitter, and there's democratization within Twitter (at least for those who are able to pay).

Then merit is established by writing things that get liked or retweeted or responded to — right? How is it the "opposite of meritocracy"? It's just a different meritocracy, more of a marketplace of ideas. Why would you call that "chaos"? It's just populism as opposed to elitism.

Now, of course, I have to admit that what gets propagated within the internal mechanism of Twitter is often inflammatory junk. It's hardly a perfect meritocracy, but neither is/was traditional news media. 

77 comments:

Adam2Smith said...

Every single day that Twitter survives and thrives is a sharp stick in the eye for a certain class of people. You know who I mean.

wendybar said...

Only dying for the blue checked Propaganda media who aren't special anymore.

Enigma said...

The establishment always rejects things that threaten its power. Oligarchs remain oligarchs through hegemony. This story merely shows that the old older favored one group at the expense of other groups, and so the old group now has sour grapes.

gahrie said...

It's just the Progressive obsession with "experts". It is one of the things that 20th century and 21st century Progressivism share.

Who is being blackmailed? Who is being forced to be on Twitter? Most of the "experts" that she's concern-trolling for deduct the fee from their taxes as a business expense anyway.

Progressives know their ideas cannot compete in the free marketplace of ideas, so they instinctively seek to shut the marketplace down, or at least control access to it.

Gusty Winds said...

A blue check on Twitter is like a modern college degree. It really doesn't mean shit. Especially in terms of intelligence, accuracy, truthfulness, or ethics.

It's a hell of a lot cheaper though.

The arrogant credentialed HATE when the ditch diggers are given equal status. And yet...they are the ones trying to shove equitable outcomes down the middle class' throat.

n.n said...

Twitter, Google, Comcast, Columbia University, US government...

Registration. Authentication. Processing fee. Taxation with, for representation. The elitists are all a twitter that no one cares about their tribbles (sic).

Gusty Winds said...

Funny that these people who have achieved a certain "status" aren't confident enough in their name alone. They need and elite blue check so their fragile egos can feel apart of the club, and they have and empty credentialed perch from which to look down upon the masses.

More than anything, Musk in trying to get a handle on all the bots that are unleased by both sides.

If you're rich and famous, and have achieved "status", you were willing to pay the $15K bribe to the old censoring Twitter regime instead of $8 per month now?

Makes perfect sense. If everyone could afford a Ferrari, nobody would feel special driving one. Our self proclaimed elite have the depth of a puddle.

AlbertAnonymous said...

Genuine users?

Go fuck yourselves.

You all LOVED Twitter when you could control who got a voice and who didn’t. It was, as the Professor points out, very elitist with its “blue check mark” crap. All our “betters” (bettors?) get to spout, whilst silencing, throttling, deemphasizing, etc. those with whom they disagreed and wanted gagged.

Now that it’s no longer such a tool of leftist control, OMG it’s going to destroy our democracy!

Blackmail? Don’t use the service. Period.

SMDSMMFD

chuck said...

There is an anti-Musk industry out there, and they use twitter to complain :) My gut reaction is to check mark the complainers as politicized, I trust their content less.

Twitter was in trouble before Musk bought it, we will see if he can save it.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

The upshot is Musk is turning Twitter into the opposite of a meritocracy.

Does this woman even understand what the word "meritocracy" means?

Sheesh!

Left Bank of the Charles said...

“Lomas's idea must be that people who had blue checks in the past embodied merit …”

No, this is her idea: “If you pay Musk for this meaningless mark you’ll also get increased algorithmic visibility of your tweets and the power to drown out non-paying users.”

tim maguire said...

I've been complaining for years that most of the dumbest things on my twitter feed are put there by people with blue checks. I don't see how opening it up to people who care enough about twitter to put their money where their mouth is will do worse than the old "merit" system.

Mark said...

Meanwhile, when Musk announced stock options for employees last week, he stated the valuation of Twitter at $20 billion.

Down $22 billion in less than 6 months lolololol

Michael K said...

I never joined so it is immaterial to me.

Leland said...

Is Tech Crunch one of those media companies looking to use ChatGPT to write stories?

Big Mike said...

Does Althouse still believe every negative thing she reads about Musk and Twitter? I’m glad to see some skepticism.

Lem the misspeller said...

Twitter is dying again?

How many lives does it have?

Mason G said...

"Twitter is dying"

Wall closing in, are they? If Ms. Core Component is unhappy with how Twitter is being run, she's free to stop posting there, isn't she? That'd show Musk who's boss, no doubt.

MadTownGuy said...

The report of Twitter's death is exaggerated.

Leora said...

Strong vibe of the guy telling the girlfriend that she's not going to be able to get along without him when she tells him to go if he won't chip in for the rent.

Kate said...

Good God, there isn't a drop of reason in anything Lomas says here.

Bob Boyd said...

Musk bad. Musk doesn't care about oppressed peoples. Won't facilitate "harm reduction."

Drago said...

"The Walls Are Closing In" for Twitter!!!

LOL

Yancey Ward said...

Twitter was sure to die without the fee. It might not be a viable business regardless of what Musk does, but I trust him to do the very best to make it viable.

Critter said...

I will be surprised if more than a relatively few drop out of Twitter over the charge. The blue checks can’t stand the ignominy or the perception that they can’t afford a blue check. Payment is small relative to the size of their egos.

n.n said...

It's because he's African-American, a Person of Peach (PoP), operating a minority-owned business, right?

Readering said...

I never noticed blue checks before, and won't going forward, I don't think. I don't begrudge Musk any method he tries to get valuation back up from $20b (which still seems too high).

Kay said...

It is sad that the tech industry disrupted all these traditional industries with the promise of free stuff only to come back and make us all pay later.

Kevin said...

"Genuine users are rightly outraged at the idea of being blackmailed into paying Musk to prove who they are."

This is the 2023 version of "don't you know who I am?"

Kevin said...

Let's see. Why is he doing this?

CTRL-F "bot" came up empty.

Joe Smith said...

Nobody goes there anymore.

It's too crowded...

n.n said...

It might not be a viable business regardless of what Musk does, but I trust him to do the very best to make it viable.

Pro-Life? That sounds like a threat.

gahrie said...

Meanwhile, when Musk announced stock options for employees last week, he stated the valuation of Twitter at $20 billion.

Down $22 billion in less than 6 months lolololol


1) Twitter was already worth a lot less than $42 billion when he actually bought it but he was contractually forced to pay the $42 billion.

2) Twitter was losing money long before Musk bought it.

3) Why do you idiots continue to bet against Musk and sell his companies short? Tesla and SpaceX were doomed to be failures. The Boring Company is supposedly a failure simply because it hasn't had the fantastic success of his other companies. And we haven't seen Neuralink's products yet. If they are anything close to projection they will revolutionize medical care. How much would you pay to walk again? Or see again?

4) In 2022, Musk was a Leftwing hero. He was named man of the year by many. In 2023, Musk became a villain, the enemy. What did he do? He took control of Twitter away from the Left.

gahrie said...

No, this is her idea: “If you pay Musk for this meaningless mark you’ll also get increased algorithmic visibility of your tweets and the power to drown out non-paying users.”

Instead of:

If you pay someone at Twitter a bribe for this meaningless mark you’ll also get increased algorithmic visibility of your tweets and the power to drown out non-paying users.

Drago said...

readering: "I never noticed blue checks before, and won't going forward, I don't think."

Wow. "Big", if true.

LOL

Drago said...

"genuine users"!!!!

That's my favorite part.

My gosh, they are so very, very "genuine". Though I am compelled to ask, why not "earnest" as well?

One should never underestimate the importance of being earnest......

Drago said...

gahrie: "2) Twitter was losing money long before Musk bought it."

Correct. Losing billions per year.

Musk claims Twitter is already on a trajectory to be cash flow neutral this very year.

And just wait until Starship reaches Falcon level of iterative/reusable performance! Talk about having additional cash available to flow to Twitter for advances and growth.

Darkisland said...

Mark,

Ask yourself how Musk came up with the $20 billion? Since there is no market to set the value, any value that anyone sets on Twitter is arbitrary and fairly meaningless.

Let's say a year from now Twitter stock is valued at $50. Would you rather that your options were issued at $50 today and thus have no gain? Or at $20 and you get a gain of $30?

And if you as an employee are given, say, 1,000 shares at $20, you have to pay income tax on $20,000. If you are given 1,000 shares at $50, you have to pay tax on $50,000 income. Which would you prefer, pay more income tax or less income tax?

I think also CA has a property tax on stocks (not sure, someone clarify). Would you rather the tax be calculated on $20m or $50m, Mark?

The lower the stock value, the better off everyone is except for the taxman. He can't put it too low without the tax people objecting. But as long as he sets it somewhere that he can defend it as reasonable, it is hard to argue whether Twitter is worth $20 or $50 today.

Essentially all Twitter has behind the stock value is physical assets, perhaps $3-7/share and goodwill (Brand recognition etc) and future earnings. The goodwill only exists because of future earnings. The future earnings are an estimate. Or in technical terms, a guess.

John Henry

Darkisland said...

Maybe she should just move to one of the Mastodon servers? Like Journo.host?

Re the bluecheck, I have read people who would be eligible for bluecheck on the old Twitter who refused it. The rational was that bluecheck was harder, but not much harder to hack. But if you see something that was hacked into a bluecheck users account you will not believe their protestations about being hacked.

Kind of like the way cops do not lock their lockers in the stationhouse. Locked or unlocked, someone could still plant something. If it is locked, it is harder to argue that it was planted.

John Henry

Temujin said...

Those who scream the most and loudest about losing Democracy are always the ones that actually hate democracy, hate the masses, hate the populists who appeal to the masses. The 'democracy shouters' are always the elite, who prefer their social media to be the same as their fitness and tennis/golf clubs, their schools and restaurants- private and upscale. No room for people who, with a degree from a Big Ten school in their back pocket, have the impudence to think they can intellectually banter with their betters.

Butkus51 said...

they lost their silencing toy

Heil

Darkisland said...

Since 1900 there have been 500-1000 car companies started in the US. Some on a shoestring and bound to fail (Like Henry Ford's first 2 companies) some extremely well funded and run by very competent people.

The only one founded since 1910 that is still in business today is Chrysler. And that just barely. Arguably it should have gone out of business in 1979 and only exists today for political reasons.

And Elon Musk's Tesla.

And putting satellites in orbit really IS rocket science. A strong argument can be made that nobody, govt or private, has been as successful at it as SpaceX.

And you think he won't make Twitter successful? He says it will be worth $250 billion in 5-10 years. I don't have the foggiest idea how he gets from here to there. But that is why I am John Henry and he is Elon Musk. I would never bet against him succeeding at anything he tries.

John Henry

bobby said...

I found some software that helps me to create many many fake little identities. It also establishes e-mail addresses for those entities. It can then be set to sign those entities up on Twitter, where they can appear to be real people. AI programs then arm them against themes that displease me.

That's what Musk is fighting with this move. I'm certainly not going to pay ten thousand bluecheck fees for my fake accounts.

The Vault Dweller said...

People wouldn't be upset about having to pay for a blue check mark if the blue check mark didn't confer some value to it's bearers. And the value the individual user gains from having a blue check mark far exceeds any value Twitter might get from that one individual user being on twitter. Despite the recent cries from many, Twitter is still the best place to widely disseminate your message. It is why those same people are still tweeting on twitter and not tooting on Mastodon.

Yancey Ward said...

Substack has checkmarks, too, of different colors. They signify how many paying subscribers a writer has. That is a meritocracy. What Twitter checkmarks do is not.

robother said...

Breaking news: Those who make a living being rightly outraged every day are rightly outraged today. Check.

JaimeRoberto said...

"Meanwhile, when Musk announced stock options for employees last week, he stated the valuation of Twitter at $20 billion.

Down $22 billion in less than 6 months lolololol."

Since the price of the employees' options are probably tied to the valuation at the time the options were granted, this is a good thing for the employees.

Rocco said...

The upshot is Musk is turning Twitter into the opposite of a meritocracy.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...
"Does this woman even understand what the word 'meritocracy' means?"

Whoever is best able to spout the party line gets to rise to the top.

Ampersand said...

Another 'walls are closing in ' piece.

Stoutcat said...

From the article:

"Well, Twitter is no longer free. Literally and figuratively. And we are all so much poorer for that...

"If you pay Musk for this meaningless mark you’ll also get increased algorithmic visibility of your tweets and the power to drown out non-paying users."


Jeez, lady, make up your mind. If it has non-paying users, that sounds free to me.

Bruce Hayden said...

"These people — the signal amid the Twitter noise — are, after all, a core component of the value of the network. So of course they shouldn’t (and won’t) pay — and so their visibility on Twitter will decay.... In a further twist, only paying users will get a vote in future Twitter policy polls — meaning Musk will guarantee populist decision-making is rigged in his fanboys’ favor...."

Boo! Hoo! They could have spent their own $43 Billion and bought Twitter themselves. They didn’t, and Musk did. The company was circling the drain, as it aimlessly silenced anyone it’s government and Dem masters told them to when,n they banned Trump, much of the country figured that was one step too far. The company might survive under Musk, but no doubt wouldn’t under its old management. At least now Blue Checkmarks are a revenue source for the company, instead of a side gig for the employees.

Doug said...

No one's making you use Twitter, Natasha.

Original Mike said...

$8/month is going to kill these people? They spend more than that on their morning coffee.

I've seen this with phone apps too, and it mystifies me. People will pay $1k for a phone and then grouse about paying $5 for an app.

Original Mike said...

"Genuine users are rightly outraged …"

The author appears to have no clue that it is challenging for Twitter to determine who is a genuine user. This is a method for doing that.

Can she really be that dense?

Paddy O said...

Someone paid a lot of money for their blue check and doesn't want to have to prove their signal is actually not noise.

Paddy O said...

What's interesting is that all this is about paying $7 or $8 a month to show investment in the conversation, with a growing list of benefits. Anyone who is a genuine signal should have that without even noticing. But it's not about having it, it's about who else now gets let in.

The digital aristocracy doesn't like to mingle with hoi polloi. Even if hoi polloi often are much more creative and interesting and thoughtful because their jobs aren't dependent on being funded by corporations and elitist power mongers.

Paddy O said...

Mark Twain's great short story (his short stories are so much better than his novels) "Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven" includes a really interesting portion on how the really great creative geniuses among us are often never given a chance in this life because they lacked the opportunity or connections. But in heaven, everyone will be known for their ultimate potential.

In our world, most gates are not kept by St. Peter but by those representing the other destination.

Leland said...

It's hard to believe anyone would claim "rightly outraged" for an option to spend $8/mo for something you supposedly enjoy. I get not wanting to do it, but "rightly outraged"?

Krumhorn said...

Anyone who cannot afford to pay for the blue check mark is not someone whose opinion I particularly need to hear. In other times, these would be the folks sweeping up horse biscuits from the streets with a straw broom.

….or have I said the silent part out loud?

- Krumhorn

narciso said...

well chrysler is now totally owned by fiat no?

Narr said...

I genuinely pay no attention or money to Twitter. Sometimes I end up there but leave very quickly.

typingtalker said...

"Genuine users are rightly outraged at the idea of being blackmailed into paying Musk to prove who they are."

Got that backwards. The blue check proves that those claiming to be you, but without a blue check, are not you. Call it insurance ... to keep thieves from stealing your traffic.

Cameron said...

And yet Zuckerberg is doing exactly the same thing with Meta (Facebook/Instagram) and the same people are strangely silent.

Its almost like its more important who is doing it that what is being done.

n.n said...

Blackmail as in a Whitmer event? as in a Capitol invitation and summary retraction? as in a dossier? as in a laptop left and forgotten? as in an assembled mob and DIE dean? as in a casting couch? as in an ally providing terrorist intelligence then left to be sodomized and aborted? as in a groomer with trust or authority? as in sex, conception, and subsequent abortion? Bray (sic) tell, what blackmail?

Fred Drinkwater said...

Jaime, unfortunately that option pricing thing is probably going to give the SEC and DOJ another avenue to attack him.

Rusty said...

Mark doesn't like capitalism very much.

Clyde said...

She sounds like someone pissed in her Cheerios.

traditionalguy said...

The employees at Twitter are still mostly Progressive moles. And battling Traditional American culture is in their DNA. Elon wants better but he’s not getting it yet. Those moles are determined “dead men walking.”

Narayanan said...

what is the thinking on valution?
if based on P/E ratios is 20B more rational vs 40B?


[P/E ratios are used by investors and analysts to determine the relative value of a company's shares in an apples-to-apples comparison. It can also be used to compare a company against its own historical record or to compare aggregate markets against one another or over time.]

Narr said...

Another admirer of Twain's great but little-known Stormfield tale in Paddy O at 5:21!

This place is the best.

Narayanan said...

la démocratie c'est moi

Saint Croix said...

Paddy and Narr

thanks for the Twain shout out

never heard of that one!

found it online

I'm also partial to Twain's humor when he smacks down
bad art. Dude!

Chris N said...

Just got off the phone with Zoe Satchel-Post.

She will now be known as Zoe Satchel-Menchu.

***zoe works in education, mixed-media, and writes in the space where the economy intersects with fashion-theory. She was going to become a married philanthropist with good writing ability, spending her husband’s family money on cancer research for their sick kid, but now is happening.

Freedom is next!

Christopher B said...

No, "genuine users" are not outraged, or at least shouldn't be. If Blue Check means that an account has submitted to a process to verify that it is connected to a real human being who promises to consistently post under that Twitter id, then any Blue Check user should welcome a more stringent standard of verification that includes an ongoing fee to discourage casual users from getting to claim that status. What you are outraged about, lady, is that Blue Check used to mean "I'm in the Kool Kids Klub" and now it won't.

boatbuilder said...

Well, it wasn't chaos when the FBI was running things. Who does Musk think he is?

effinayright said...

Leland said...
It's hard to believe anyone would claim "rightly outraged" for an option to spend $8/mo for something you supposedly enjoy. I get not wanting to do it, but "rightly outraged"?
********

It's only an analogy, but I'm reminded of the 60's hippies pissed off that they were being required to actually PAY for concerts they wanted to attend, claiming "the music belongs to the People".

Yeah, right.

Paddy O said...

Narr, Excellent!

That one and "Some Learned Fables For Good Old Boys And Girls" should be known much, much more than they are.

Saint Croix, I love that one too! His German language essay is similarly biting and great.