Look, I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a billionaire, nor am I the CEO of multiple companies. Nevertheless, I think I’ve got a good grasp of some business fundamentals. For example: it’s generally not a good idea to tell the people your company relies on for revenue to fuck off.

While that may seem like common sense to a normie like me, Elon Musk – a visionary and genius whose brain operates on a dimension a mere mortal can never hope to understand–has other ideas. During a interview this week at the New York Times’ DealBook Summit, Musk took vocal and profane umbrage with the fact that advertisers are leaving X (formerly Twitter) in droves. The exodus comes after Musk seemed to endorse an antisemitic conspiracy theory on the platform and a Media Matters report found many ads on Twitter were being shown alongside pro-Nazi post.

“What this advertising boycott is going to do is, it is going to kill the company,” the billionaire seethed on Wednesday. “And the whole world will know that those advertisers killed the company.”

Well, yes, my friend, that is how capitalism (something I thought Musk was fond of) works. If it hurts a company’s brand to advertise on a platform where users with names like Catturd are peddling conspiracy theories and hate speech, then they will not advertise on your platform. The advertisers didn’t kill the company, your incompetent management did.

Again: all that seems like common sense. But Musk seems to think advertisers are out to get him. “If someone’s going to try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money, go fuck yourself,” he said defiantly onstage.

Musk’s latest outburst comes at a dire time for X. The New York Times recently reported that, based on internal sales documents, the company could lose as much as $75m in ad money by the end of 2023. Meanwhile X’s value has dropped by almost two-thirds since Musk acquired the company for $44bn in 22 October. Alienating advertisers even further right now seems suicidal, an extraordinary act of self-sabotage.

Perhaps, one line of thinking goes, that’s exactly what it is. Ever since Musk took over Twitter there have been theories circulating that the billionaire’s main interest in buying the platform was to kill it. Those theories resurfaced in full force after Musk’s outburst on Wednesday.

Why would Musk want to destroy Twitter after paying $44bn for it? Well, one idea some people have is that Musk isn’t actually all that fond of free speech. Nor are the Saudis: Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding Company (KHC), along with the private office of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, are the second largest investors in Twitter following Musk. According to this line of reasoning, Musk’s plan all along was to stop free expression – mainly leftwing expression – on Twitter and, instead, turn it into a rightwing echo chamber. That would be extremely convenient for authoritarian regimes who want to police online expression and crackdown on dissent.

Another line of reasoning is that Musk wants to kill Twitter because his investment was in user accounts rather than a social network. There’s a mysterious method to his madness and he wants to destroy the current business model so he can transform it into something a lot more profitable.

Lou Paskalis, former head of global media at Bank of America, seems to be one of the proponents of this theory. “[Musk] is smart, he knows it’s illegal – although usually hard to prove – to intentionally devalue an asset to manipulate creditors, and he knows how to make money so I have to believe he sees an entirely new revenue model that the rest of us don’t yet recognize,” Paskalis told Business Insider. In other words, everything that looks like self-sabotage to the common man is actually a genius business decision.

It’s possible that there is some substance to these theories. But it’s also possible that the simplest answer is the correct one: Musk is a narcissist who has let his enormous ego get in the way of making sensible business decisions. He’s realized that he can’t actually make X profitable so he’s letting it all burn to the ground while casting himself as some sort of free speech martyr.

Again, I don’t know exactly what’s going on in Musk’s brain (I’m not sure he does either) but I do know this: theories that Musk is playing some sort of four-dimensional chess with his bizarre decisions and unprofessional outbursts demonstrate that an awful lot of people find it hard to believe that a rich white guy might not be as smart as he thinks.

This is the nine millionth report to say this and yet nothing meaningful ever seems to be done about online misogyny.

In October a New Jersey high school found itself in the middle of a deepfake scandal: boys at the school had used AI to create sexually explicit photos of their female classmates. Francesca Mani, a 14-year-old who was one of the girls targeted, immediately threw her energy into trying to get lawmakers to regulate nonconsensual deepfake pornography in the US. Her efforts have helped educate more politicians on the urgency of the issue and there is now real momentum to get a bill passed that would protect victims of deepfake porn.

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Yet another reminder that making legal abortions difficult to access doesn’t stop people getting abortions – it just makes them more unsafe.

Women’s rugby in Wales is surging in popularity – and so are concerns about head injuries in the sport. Most of the focus around head injuries in the sport is based on the men’s game and the lack of female-specific data means there’s a massive knowledge gap.

A woman is killed every three days in Italy, the majority at the hands of their partner or former partner. One of the latest victims is Giulia Cecchettin, 22, an engineering student, who was allegedly killed by her ex-boyfriend. Her death has fueled protests and a national conversation on institutionalized misogyny. “For Giulia don’t hold a moment of silence, for Giulia burn everything,” Cecchettin’s older sister, Elena, wrote. “Femicide is a state murder because the state does not protect us. Femicide is not a crime of passion, it is a crime of power.”

According to a new report, “women born after 1981 are more likely to be at risk of suicide, death in childbirth and being murdered than young women in previous generations.”

If you’ve always wanted to read a swashbuckling tale, based on a true story, about a Boston barmaid who dresses up as a cabin boy and joins a crew of pirates, then you’re in luck!

(For the sake of this pun we will all agree that penguin feet are called paws.) Not only are penguins very dapper, they’re also great at subsisting on very little sleep. A new study has found that chinstrap penguin parents sleep for just a few seconds at a time in order to watch over their newborns. They’ll take thousands of micro-naps a day, but each nap will only be about four seconds long. According to researchers, they’re able to function fine like that. If only the same were true for human parents.

QOSHE - The Week in Patriarchy Why would Elon Musk want to deliberately destroy X? - Arwa Mahdawi
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The Week in Patriarchy Why would Elon Musk want to deliberately destroy X?

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02.12.2023

Look, I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a billionaire, nor am I the CEO of multiple companies. Nevertheless, I think I’ve got a good grasp of some business fundamentals. For example: it’s generally not a good idea to tell the people your company relies on for revenue to fuck off.

While that may seem like common sense to a normie like me, Elon Musk – a visionary and genius whose brain operates on a dimension a mere mortal can never hope to understand–has other ideas. During a interview this week at the New York Times’ DealBook Summit, Musk took vocal and profane umbrage with the fact that advertisers are leaving X (formerly Twitter) in droves. The exodus comes after Musk seemed to endorse an antisemitic conspiracy theory on the platform and a Media Matters report found many ads on Twitter were being shown alongside pro-Nazi post.

“What this advertising boycott is going to do is, it is going to kill the company,” the billionaire seethed on Wednesday. “And the whole world will know that those advertisers killed the company.”

Well, yes, my friend, that is how capitalism (something I thought Musk was fond of) works. If it hurts a company’s brand to advertise on a platform where users with names like Catturd are peddling conspiracy theories and hate speech, then they will not advertise on your platform. The advertisers didn’t kill the company, your incompetent management did.

Again: all that seems like common sense. But Musk seems to think advertisers are out to get him. “If someone’s going to try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money, go fuck yourself,” he said defiantly onstage.

Musk’s latest outburst comes at a dire time for X. The New York Times recently reported that, based on internal sales documents, the company could lose as much as $75m in ad money by the end of........

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