This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, August 17, 2022:
A court ruled on Monday that Twitter must “collect, review and produce” documents from Twitter’s former consumer-product head Kayvon Beykpour and provide them to Elon Musk.
This is the breakthrough Musk has been seeking, and it could, depending upon what those documents show, be the end of Twitter’s resistance and the beginning of a truly “free speech” platform on social media.
Initially Musk asked the court for permission to quiz 22 Twitter executives about those bots, but the key executive he wanted was Beykpour.
Around the time that Musk formalized his bid to take the social media company private in April, Beykpour was fired. Although the court denied Musk the opportunity to quiz the others, Beykpour is the one Musk most needs to prove that Twitter inflated — and has continually inflated since its beginning — the number of real users the platform enjoys.
Called MDAUs — monetizable daily active users, or real people with money to spend — Twitter claims 238 million of them. Musk thinks a more accurate number is 173 million, a difference of 65 million.
Musk’s attorney, Alex Spiro, can hardly wait: “We look forward to reviewing Beykpour’s communications and will continue to seek information and witnesses until the full truth comes out.”
According to Dan Brahmy, CEO of the Israeli tech company Cyabra, Twitter has understated the number substantially, and the share of fake accounts is 13.7 percent, not the five percent Twitter claims.
If that proves true then Musk will have a decision to make: 1) withdraw his bid to buy the platform, or 2) renegotiate the purchase price down from the original $54 a share and complete the purchase.
As the richest man in the world, Elon Musk doesn’t need to turn a profit, although he wouldn’t turn it down. His primary purpose, according to his own words, is to make Twitter a public free-speech zone for its users, who will pay $3 a month for the privilege of speaking/tweeting their minds without fear of reprisals or being censored or canceled.
Musk had asked his 80 million Twitter followers what to do back in March:
Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy.
Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?
More than 70 percent of those who responded said no. Then Musk asked, “Is a new platform needed?” One responded: “Just buy Twitter!”
In his letter to Twitter’s chairman to do just that, Musk reiterated his support for free speech:
I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy.
However, since making my [initial] investment I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form.
Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company.
Musk knew that the company was in thrall to commercial interests selling advertising to those MDAUs: “The power to dictate policy [to Twitter] is greatly enhanced if Twitter depends on advertising money to survive.”
Musk also knew that Twitter was almost completely staffed with liberal Democrats. Many acted as self-appointed censors of conservatives, dropping not only Donald Trump from the platform but hundreds of others of like mind, including Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Dr. Robert Malone, a contributor to mRNA vaccine technology.
As Media Research Center vice president Dan Gainor noted:
From the top to the bottom, these companies [Google and Twitter] are overwhelmingly liberal, overwhelmingly pro-Democrat.
At the top, they contribute to Democrat causes. At the bottom, they contribute to Democrat causes in overwhelming numbers.
The trial begins on October 17, just two months away. This should give Twitter plenty of time to not only reveal the true numbers to Musk but also negotiate a better (lower) price so Musk can begin the process of turning Twitter into a free-speech zone. And do so profitably.