“We invested in the Twitter privatization in support of free speech. Whether we make a profit on our investment is not important to us."
11.30.23: Appearing today at a “Dealbook" interview by Andrew Sorkin of the New York Times, Twitter CEO Elon Musk said that advertisers who have a problem with him can "fuck off."In a post to Twitter, Pershing Square fund manager Bill Ackman defended Musk. Ackman, who is Jewish, also defended Musk from charges that a recent post to X.com was anti-Semitic. Ackman wrote:
I thought @elonmusk's interview with @andrewrsorkin was one of the great interviews ever. Musk is a free speech absolutist which I respect. I think he is entirely correct that he and
@X are treated unfairly and inconsistently by advertisers.
@tiktok_us, @instagram, @facebook and others have enormous amounts of problematic content, antisemitic and otherwise, but the advertisers don't boycott those platforms.
Musk is targeted because the other media organizations view @X as a competitor and any time his name is in an article about controversies, it draws clicks. MSM is incentivized to attack him as it actually drives attention to their sites and therefore more revenues. It is these attack articles by other media organizations that put pressure on the
@Disney's of the world to stop advertising on X.
If Bob Iger would carefully examine the facts, he would likely continue to advertise on X, but Disney caves to public pressure rather than do the right thing. Meanwhile Disney invests heavily on TikTok, likely alongside videos of kids teaching other teenagers to be anorexic and worse. I am sure Nelson Peltz can fix this when he joins the Disney board.
X presents the opportunity for advertisers to access an incredible global audience that is not available elsewhere. And it is cheap compared to other alternatives because of current circumstances.
On Musk and antisemitism: After examining the facts, it was clear to me that Musk did not have antisemitic intent when he responded with the 'actual truth' tweet, and further clarified thereafter.
I thought he made what he meant extremely clear in the @andrewrsorkin interview, namely, that Jews are drawn to support 'oppressed' groups and causes through various non-profits due to our history of being an oppressed minority.
Musk points out correctly that a number of these organizations and their members support Hamas. And he is correct in saying that Jews should rethink support for organizations that seek their elimination.
Many Jews are doing that right now.
To use a Muskism, Earth is fortunate that @X is owned by an individual that is largely insulated from financial and other influence. That said, perhaps some form of very carefully governed trust would be a better forever owner than any individual.
@PershingSqFdn invested in the Twitter privatization in support of free speech. Whether we make a profit on our investment is not important to us as we never intend to sell our interest.
I am more inclined to like and support companies that advertise on the platform because I appreciate their support for free speech. I have actually bought products I learned about from ads on @X. I can't think of another example of my responding to direct advertising other than on X.
Unfortunately, recent (and society's long-term experience) with non-profit governance, see @OpenAI, certain private universities etc. should not give anyone confidence that a traditional non-profit would be a better owner of X than Musk.
Perhaps some day the ownership of X should be distributed to each American, one share for each American during their lives and one for each person born, with a charter which permanently vests the free speech principles by which it operates.
Until then, we all should be grateful that X is owned by Musk.