Elon Musk, from person of the year 2021 to ‘most infuriating’

The irony of the New Yorker. Twitter’s handling of him has been turbulent to say the least

Elon Musk, from person of the year in 2021 to the ‘most exasperating’ in 2022. The irony of the New Yorker, which hypothesizes an imaginative award for the founder of Tesla and Space X and for a few months the new, explosive, patron of Twitter “for his constant but unsuccessful attempts to fill the gaping abyss of his soul with the attention of indifferent strangers”, finds a more serious confirmation in the judgment of the Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugam who branded Musk as “a petulant oligarch”.

“The truly privileged are surrounded by people who dare not tell them when they are behaving badly, so I am not surprised to see Elon Musk immolate his reputation – wrote the economist in a recent editorial in the New York Times, referring to his controversial and chaotic management of Twitter – the more interesting question is why are we dominated by these kinds of people, because clearly we are living in the age of petulant oligarchs.”

Last year, Time’s decision to name the billionaire visionary, then richest man in the world, person of the year “for his ability to create solutions to an existential crisis, to represent the possibilities and dangers in the era of the tech giants, to lead the most ambitious and revolutionary transformations”.

But the acknowledgment does not seem to have boded well for Musk, who – Twitter aside – closes the year with Tesla stock, the core of his wealth, which has lost more than 50% of its value since the beginning of the year. year. Of course, his over 183.6 billion dollars always place him at the top of the world plutocracy, but this year he had to cede the throne of the richest man in the world to Bernard Arnault, CEO of the French luxury brand Lvmh, who has billions has 186.2.

And according to some observers, Musk’s real “obsession” with Twitter, the social media platform that last October after long negotiations he managed to buy for 44 billion dollars, is having repercussions on the rest of the Musk empire and risks further compromise the Tesla brand, the electric car born as a symbol of environmentalism and social innovation. According to a survey by YouGov, cited in recent days by Le Monde, the perception of Tesla in November has become globally negative and partisan.

And in other polls, dedicated solely to the American public, it can be seen that in the last few months of the year, favor towards the brand on the part of Republicans has grown and that it has declined on the part of Democrats, mirroring the escalation of positions increasingly shifted to right of Musk, who has never positioned himself as a neutral manager of the platform in recent months, but uses it to launch messages against the ‘wake up’ culture to his 122 million followers – again second, after Barack Obama’s 133 million ‘ (progressive), against Joe Biden and family, the central bank and the anti-Covid measures.

From October to now, his management of Twitter has been turbulent to say the least: Musk oversaw the firing of more than half of the company’s global workforce, the easing of content moderation, and the reintroduction of previously banned accounts — such as those of Donald Trump and right-wing extremists — which some groups say has caused a surge in hateful and offensive content on the platform.

Musk’s reign has also been marked by a faltering launch of the Twitter Blue subscription service and the flight of some advertisers who disagree with his “absolute free speech” policy. A policy that Musk has not failed to blatantly deny with the suspension of the accounts of journalists from the main US newspapers who usually write about him, accused of having revealed information about his position, endangering him and his family.

In short, with Musk Twitter, and its users, are on a roller coaster, up to the last surprise, that of the announcement that he will resign as CEO of Twitter, as soon as he finds someone “crazy enough to accept the job”. If he does, he will respect the wishes of users who 57% were in favor of his resignation in a survey he launched himself. Results that he had previously said he wanted to respect, but then questioning the result and then changing his mind again. Now the American media are reporting that Musk is actively “looking for a new CEO”, but others are not ruling out new surprises.