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Welcome Back to Twitter, Mr. Duke

Given that yesterday was a holiday, there wasn't much news. The biggest story, from a politics standpoint, was that Elon Musk staged another one of his not-so-scientific polls and "learned" that users would like all suspended Twitter users to regain access to the platform. Their wish is apparently his command, and so he announced that, with the exception of spammers and people convicted of crimes, amnesty will be granted to all suspended Twitter users.

What this means is that a bunch of really upstanding Americans, from David Duke to Roger Stone to Milo Yiannopoulos, will theoretically be returning to Twitter. Groups that monitor social media platforms have already noted an uptick in racism, antisemitism, sexism and other forms of bigotry on Twitter since Musk took over. Needless to say, welcoming back a bunch of Klansmen, Proud Boys, conspiracy theorists and Trump administration officials isn't going to help on that front.

It is at least possible that Musk is just playing around here. Maybe, after earning a bunch of headlines (admittedly, on a day when there isn't much competition), he'll announce he changed his mind. Alternatively, maybe the "amnesty" only lasts until the person tweets something problematic, and then they're banned again. We're not so sure what the point of that exercise would be, though; why let David Duke back on board for 6 hours until he shares yet another choice thought about Jews or people of color? And in case you are wondering, the tweet that bought him the banhammer the last time was one denying that the Holocaust ever happened.

Musk's overall plan for Twitter also remains an inscrutable mystery. Reinstating the whack jobs is not going to help assuage the concerns of skittish advertisers. It's also going to increase the risk that Twitter violates E.U. rules and gets itself blocked in those nations. Oh, and if he crosses enough lines, then Apple and Google might well remove Twitter from their app stores.

That said, let us give you the two best guesses we have at the moment. Guess #1 is that Musk recognized that Twitter wasn't making money under its old business model, and so he's going to make it an actual right-wing platform (as opposed to a wannabe right-wing platforms, like Gettr, Truth Social, and Parler). After all, Fox only attracts 10% of the nation's eyeballs (and virtually no eyeballs worldwide), and yet it makes good money.

Guess #2 is that Musk realized he blew it when he agreed to buy Twitter, and so he's going to run it into the ground, declare bankruptcy, and try to escape as much of his financial obligations as is possible. We are not privy to the precise details of how he financed the purchase, nor do we fully grasp the nuances and subtleties of bankruptcy law (and, unfortunately, the staff financial analyst got confused and is now stuck in Türkiye), but maybe taking a $10 or $15 billion hit when the platform fails is the cheapest way for him to escape this albatross. (Z)

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