How’s Twitter doing, one year after Muskification?

It has been a year since Elon Musk took over Twitter. Is that a long enough period to determine which side of the fine line between stupid and clever the acquisition fell on?

After half a year, Elon had cut the number of employees by 80 percent (CNN).

Here’s my 15 minutes of fame on Twitter:

The tweet in context, replying to a tweet from state-sponsored National Public Radio:

Correction: An earlier tweet incorrectly stated there is limited scientific evidence of physical advantage. Existing research shows that higher levels of testosterone do impact athletic performance. But there’s limited research involving elite trans athletes in competition.

The glorious like itself:

Note that Twitter’s software didn’t highlight this to me. Elon Musk was lumped in with “and N others” in the notifications. I probably wouldn’t have noticed my brief moment of Twitter fame if not for the separate notification of the ELON ALERTS tweet.

The financials sound bleak. Despite all of the payroll cuts, the company was losing money as of July 2023 (Reuters).

And, more importantly, how is our democracy doing after a year of being attacked with misinformation? Will the biggest beneficiaries of freedom of speech on Twitter turn out to be supporters of Hamas? In the pre-Musk days, Facebook and Twitter might have prevented the righteous from expressing their hatred of Israel, Jews in general, etc. On the other hand, Facebook doesn’t seem to be censoring anti-Israeli posts. Example:

It is not “misinformation” by Facebook standards to refer to what is happening as “Israel’s war on the people of Palestine” nor to assert that Israel bombed a hospital despite the fact that nobody at Facebook has seen a picture of a bomb crater.

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Who was able to listen to the Ron DeSantis-Elon Musk discussion?

After 3 years of operation, Clubhouse has a 5,000-user/room limit. Zoom offers video as well and limits to 1,000 users for their high-end subscriptions (another 49,000 can listen passively). Elon Musk tried to push the everyone-can-talk-to-everyone software frontier out to 500,000+ users and, at least for me, failed.

Who was able to listen to Ron D and Elon chatting? What did they say?

(I’m not going to cover the Ron DeSantis Presidential campaign too heavily here in this blog, despite the Florida angle, because I don’t think he is prepared to tell Americans what they want to hear (e.g., that they will become richer without working harder) and, therefore, cannot win a general election.)

The Zoom page:

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Why are we afraid of TikTok?

“China says it ‘firmly opposes’ a potential forced sale of TikTok” (CNN):

China said it would “firmly oppose” any forced sale of TikTok, in its first direct response to demands by the Biden administration that the app’s Chinese owners sell their share of the company or face a ban in its most important market.

The comments came as TikTok CEO Shou Chew testified in front of US lawmakers amid mounting scrutiny over the app’s ties to Beijing.

China’s commerce ministry said Thursday that a forced sale of TikTok would “seriously damage” global investors’ confidence in the United States.

Why is TikTok more of a security concern than apps from other countries, which might or might not be backed by China ultimately? TikTok is, at least, obviously prominent and can be monitored carefully. I would think the worst computer security problems are the unknown unknowns.

Separately, is the deeper problem with social media apps that they are addictive, especially for young people? Instead of forcing a TikTok sale, would it be smarter to require all of the social media apps to set a 30-minute daily limit per user? (of course, some addicts could get around this by creating multiple accounts, but those would seem to be edge cases)

I’m not a TikTok user, but I logged in with my Google credentials and gave the app my birthdate (Jurassic!). The algorithm is purportedly awesome, but I didn’t find any videos that I wanted to watch on the default home screen. A search for COVID doesn’t yield anything as brilliant as Adley’s April 20, 2020 explanation of Faucism. A search for “Robinson R44” does not yield better content than on YouTube:

I’m following one friend on TikTok, but he keeps his likes private (and maybe there is no way to share them just with me?) so I can’t use his favorite videos as a gateway into the service.


  1. What’s great about TikTok?
  2. Should we force a sale due to TikTok’s Chinese connections?
  3. Should we use regulation to protect ourselves from ourselves via a 30-minute limit on each social media platform?
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The hate-filled anti-hate folks in Maskachusetts

Shortly after landing in Maskachusetts last month, I posted the following on the Book of Face:

Note that I said nothing about the photo other than that it was taken at Boston’s Logan Airport in early January. Any inferences about the photo or the individual would therefore have to come from the minds of commenters. Here are some of the exchanges with the righteous:

  • anti-hater: Did you ask to take, and then (publicly?!) post, this person’s photo? Since they would be recognizable from this image, I feel very uncomfortable about this post. I’m also wondering what else you are “communicating” by posting this particular photo.
  • me: Thanks for the welcome! In keeping with its reputation as an artistic backwater, Boston does not have a rich tradition of street photography, which is more associated with New York (Helen Levitt; Garry Winogrand), Chicago (Vivian Maier) and Paris (the pioneers, such as Atget). However, the smartphone has democratized this genre and asking permission from each subject isn’t conventional.
  • (anti-hater): interesting. So you’re an aspiring street photographer, and this image is an artistic expression that you feel doesn’t merit consent? Would it be fine for someone to take a picture of your children and post publicly when their interpretive intent seems to be weaponization of an apparent part of your kids’ appearance or other aspect of their identity? C’mon, please entertain embracing more human kindness and general consideration of others than all of this suggests. Especially now that you’ve returned north.
  • me: also, if a photo makes you uncomfortable then it might be art: “Art Should Comfort the Disturbed and Disturb the Comfortable” (various attributions; Cesar A. Cruz is a common one)
  • (anti-hater): sure, but I wonder how comfortable this particular person might be if Philip is outing them in some way they are unaware of. Also, my sense is this post is to poke fun of — not honor or celebrate — freedom of expression. I might be wrong, I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am.
  • (Trump-hating, Biden-loving Manhattan immigration profiteer weighing in): I call bullshit. You took and posted this photo for one reason: to make fun. If this is your art, I’d say it needs work.
  • (Pennsylvania Deplorable): You have yourself a complete makeover! The new you has returned to Boston! Impressive.
  • (anti-hater): ✨ Allyship and advocacy ✨ for the lgbtq+ community (anonymous or otherwise) matters, in more life-significant ways than I gather many of the folks commenting here might be aware.
    Please, embrace learning:
    Since I have reason to strongly question Philip’s “artistic intent,” below are Philip’s public blog-thoughts on a recent local MA Pride event — and I’ll add, the town’s inaugural Pride celebration, initiated and organized by its middle schoolers ( 🌈 Amazing, right!?! 🏳️‍⚧️ )…/official-lincoln…/ [a pro-2SLGBTQQIA+ post, in my opinion!]
    !! Importantly for contextualizing my concern about the initial photo on thjs post: “LGBTQ youth are not inherently prone to suicide risk because of their sexual orientation or gender identity but rather placed at higher risk because of how they are mistreated and stigmatized in society.”
  • (Florida pilot, formerly of the Boston suburbs): This is a nice gentle reminder of why I relocated.

To the extent that any negative inferences were made about the photo or individual by the anti-haters, doesn’t that show that they, in fact, are intolerant of the lifestyle that they imagine this individual to be leading?

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Did Elon Musk break Facebook?

We were informed that Elon Musk’s firing of more than half of the paycheck-collectors at a social media company would result in a social media company’s service melting down, coughing up errors, etc. At first, Twitter soldiered on, but now the prediction has come true… about Facebook.

Has anyone else noticed how poorly Facebook works when a discussion gets complicated? I’m notified that someone responded and I click on the notification and get taken to an unrelated part of the discussion. I’m notified that someone responded and the response is not visible until I close the browser window and restart my Facebook web page (i.e., single-page app). Sometimes I respond and the text never appears in my own view, though it has been posted to the thread and can be viewed later. What I initially see is whitespace.

Readers: Which site is performing better right now from a purely technical point of view, Facebook or Twitter? Also, how do people feel about the 50,000+ people that Elon Musk fired at Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Meta/Facebook, and other Silicon Valley companies?

Separately, Facebook decided that I violated Community Standards by posting a reply that included the Web address of a local pinball dealer:

The pinball link was treated like content that questioned Anthony Fauci or the CDC or, even worse, one that expressed skepticism regarding the ability of a cloth mask to block an aerosol virus. Speaking of cloth masks, here’s the one that Dr. Fauci recommends wearing while playing pinball…

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Should Twitter ask you every hour or two what you want to see?

The Silicon Valley religion is that robot software can figure out what you want based on what you’ve done in the past. The result is that Twitter shows you tweets that are a lot like tweets with which you’ve previously interacted. But what if you’re in the mood for something different? Suppose that you’ve spent a lot of time on Twitter condemning hate, ridiculing Deplorables for their refusal to wear masks and accept experimental vaccines, exhorting young people to get out and vote for Democrats, and demanding additional investigations of the January 6 insurrection. If you open up the Twitter app as you’re settling down for the night, the application will show you political tweets. But what if you don’t want to see the same stuff at 9 pm that got you riled up at 9 am?

Suppose that Twitter had a “laugh” emoji option for a reaction to a tweet. Then it would be possible for a user to click “entertain me” and see the recent tweets that other users thought were funny. Based on text analysis, the system could respond to a “teach me” click with tweets that were educational in nature and/or linked to thoughtful tutorials. With a bit of merging of ChatGPT into Twitter search, perhaps this could be done as freeform text rather than a set of predefined moods, but I think the moods/interests button would be better (less effort) for most users.

Note that this could be done without cooperation from Elon Musk & Co. as a skin on top of Twitter by a search engine that had ingested at least a significant subset of tweets.

How does it work now? Spectacularly badly. If I type “funny” into the search box, the results are mostly people fighting. “funny tweets” works on Google to find Twitter accounts that offer hand-picked items.

Here’s a site that tries to do the third-party skin… Some of the tweets were a lot funnier than people hitting each other, but they can’t take advantage of anything known about an individual user, e.g., that he/she/ze/they likes knitting or aviation or whatever. Examples:

Readers: What do you think about this idea? Twitter should track your moods and figure out your mood by asking you… What are you in the mood to see?

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How is Twitter identifying offensive content?

Here’s a puzzler from a Twitter exchange in which I was a passive observer. Twitter says that there are offensive replies:

If a person were to click on “Show”, he/she/ze/they would be exposed to a world of Nazis, anti-2SLGBTQQIA+ hate, Faucism-denial, Trump-support, etc., right? Here’s what was hidden:

How were these replies “offensive”?

Here’s the full thread, started by Dr. Karen (profile says pronouns “he/him” and “Vote Blue”):

Check out the full beard that this physician chooses to wear. How could he possibly achieve any kind of effective seal with a mask, be it cloth, surgical, N95, or N190 (my personal choice: double N95)?

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Gender studies graduates at Twitter fact-check the Harvard Medical School professor

Here’s a great example of gender studies graduates at Twitter practicing California-style Science. A statement is scientifically false if it “goes against CDC guidelines” (as it happens, Professor Kulldorff’s March 2021 heresy of recommending COVID-19 shots primarily for older folks is today the official policy of the Danish government, informed by MD/PhDs).

What was the result of the censorship? The journalist explains in a tweet later in the thread:

After Twitter took action, Kulldorff’s tweet was slapped with a “Misleading” label and all replies and likes were shut off, throttling the tweet’s ability to be seen and shared by many people, the ostensible core function of the platform:

In my review of internal files, I found countless instances of tweets labeled as “misleading” or taken down entirely, sometimes triggering account suspensions, simply because they veered from CDC guidance or differed from establishment views.

Separately, my rage against long-form argument in a Twitter thread is somewhat reduced because I’ve found the “read like a book” icon at the top of the screen. Here’s how it then renders:

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Matt Taibbi’s story about Twitter’s suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story

Have folks tried to follow and understand the story about Twitter’s pre-election-2020 suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story and other material that politicians asked them to deep-six?

I think there is supposed to be a narrative in here, but it is so chopped up by the presentation as individual tweets that it is tough to follow.

Has Matt Taibbi mostly proved that Twitter needs a substantial re-thinking to be suitable for long-form text? (I think tweets should be allowed at any length up to the standard relational database CLOB (character large object) limit of 2 billion characters, but a reader sees only a short summary (that long-form authors are forced to craft) until he/she/ze/they clicks “more”)

Readers: Have you figured out whether there is anything of interest in this reveal of internal Twitter machinations?

Update: In the official NYT version of history, Twitter’s shaping of what viewpoints people could express (or send to each other in private messages) never happened. The front page of the NYT time has space to talk about “notable diversity” of the U.S. World Cup team, but there is nothing about the Twitter files reveal. (Separately, I dispute that the US team is diverse. There are no gender ID requirements for World Cup players and yet for some reason players of only one gender ID have been selected.)

(Joe Biden’s granddaughter also does not exist according to the NYT. A search for plaintiff “Lunden” Roberts or granddaughter “Navy Joan” yields no results on

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Twitter is 99.99 percent hate-free

“Hate Speech’s Rise on Twitter Is Unprecedented, Researchers Find” (NYT, today):

Before Elon Musk bought Twitter, slurs against Black Americans showed up on the social media service an average of 1,282 times a day. After the billionaire became Twitter’s owner, they jumped to 3,876 times a day.

Slurs against gay men appeared on Twitter 2,506 times a day on average before Mr. Musk took over. Afterward, their use rose to 3,964 times a day.

And antisemitic posts referring to Jews or Judaism soared more than 61 percent in the two weeks after Mr. Musk acquired the site.

This sounds plausible. After all, even Jews plugged into the ruling political party (#2 Joe Biden campaign donor after George Soros) were forced to take refuge in the Bahamas.

Yet, as the social media censors would say, this story is “MISSING CONTEXT”, i.e., that there are more than 500 million tweets per day. A few thousand that contain “hate words” (possibly used by those quoting or complaining about perceived hate) is a tiny percentage. The cited study actually shows that Twitter is more than 99.99% hate-free!

Here’s an example of a “slur against gay men” that came up when I searched for “fag”. This meets the criterion described in the NYT, but the tweet is not hate speech.

Here’s another example in which the author is not expressing a negative opinion about members of the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community:

And from a user with a profile of “white, trans, bi, she/her, … Marxist-Leninist-Maoist”:

Separately, who went to a high school in the hate-free pre-Trump days? My memory is that the word “fag” was used more than 3,964 times per day just by the 2,000 students at our high school. We were under the benevolent leadership of Jimmy Carter (folks who were nostalgic for the Carter administration got a replay with Biden after all, at least of the main feature: inflation) and it was in mostly-Democrat Bethesda, Maryland where even the Republicans believed that bigger government was generally better (since everyone in that company town worked for the government in some way).

Speaking of hate, here’s Pfizer spewing hatred for people who pay taxes that flow straight into its corporate pockets, i.e., the 50 percent of Americans who are without a Ph.D. and who yet want to ask a few questions before getting injecting with experimental drugs:

Note that the Deplorables cannot comment on the post!

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