Elon Musk’s link lunacy will make X worse

Elon Musk struck a major blow for free speech by buying Twitter, tossing its woke rules and opening internal info to reporters who then exposed the massive government drive to censor all social media.

But now he’s outright flailing in trying to reinvent the service, which he’s renamed X to match the cross-company Musk brand.

That move itself was dubious, business-wise: Everyone knew what Twitter was; a one-letter name is beyond confusing and, frankly, irritating.

And his uneven moves to set his own content-restricting rules badly undermine all the cred he scored on free speech.

Now comes his drive to remove headlines and text from links posted on the site.

That might serve his hopes to turn Twitter/X into a go-to news site in its own right, but only by trashing the value the service now offers.

Musk claims it’s about reducing clickbait, but the impact is far greater.

The move would render linking news pieces on X basically useless, as only the lead image would show, leaving users to either ignore it or click blindly — effectively hiding the stories.

That limits discussion, drives away journalists and frustrates users.

This Post Reader calls the new name confusing and irritating.
Musk recently changed the name of the staple social media app Twitter to X.
Photothek via Getty Images

And so makes X even less of the “digital town square” he (sometimes) also says he wants it to be.

He may hope it’ll push journalists to upgrade to “Blue,” a paid version of X that allows you to post more than the site’s 240 character limit and offers a piece of ad revenue based on views.

But most of us in the media will just give up; driving traffic to what we’ve written elsewhere (and seeing on a single feed what the rest of the media are doing) is a prime reason we use this service in the first place.

We get paid to report (and opine) by our employers, not Musk, and whatever he offers in payouts can’t come close to giving up our day jobs.

And big-name independents are already prospering via sites like Substack; earlier Musk moves in this become-a-major-news-site fiasco have already driven successful go-it-aloners like Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss to basically abandon Twtter/X.

Twitter was always about fostering a conversation; you could join it or just watch it. Maybe Musk sees no way that can bring in enough revenue to justify what he paid to buy it, but these spastic moves (seemingly serving conflicting strategies!) can only further reduce its value to users, and thus its cash value.

He’s got every right to do as he wishes; he can afford to lose his whole investment here.

But he’s also wasting time on seemingly self-indulgent, prideful games when he has other companies to run, and potentially sapping confidence in his ability to run them.  

Already, Ronan Farrow is retailing gossip that Musk has a ketamine problem.

Elon, you brought on Linda Yaccarino as CEO in May. How about giving her a free hand to chart X’s future, while you focus on the challenges facing Tesla and SpaceX?

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