Before we begin, let’s be absolutely clear: Twitter belongs to Elon Musk. He is both the owner and the CEO. He can wake up tomorrow, fire everybody (barring prior legal restraint), and strip out the headquarters to install a dodgeball court if he wants. That’s his legal right, and it’s not in dispute.
What is in dispute is the value of having a public presence on a platform when the CEO comes into an open forum and demands to be pandered to. Everyone thinks they’re in favor of free speech, but everyone also has a line they won’t cross, whether it’s Donald Trump’s old tweets or all the racist trolling that followed Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover. We know Musk has that line — he just finished banning thousands of those accounts, with more on the horizon. Was that “political correctness?” Did he take away those users’ free speech?
The answer, of course, is that it doesn’t matter. Money hates to take sides. As Elon Musk wades deeper into the muck of the culture war, more businesses will start asking serious questions about the value of their Twitter presence. Whichever poll buzzword General Motors may click today, it has to sell cars in red and blue states tomorrow. Putting advertisers on the spot in this manner is a no-win scenario, and doing that to your colleagues just isn’t good business.