Former Reddit CEO Yishan Wong has warned Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is “in for a world of pain” if he buys Twitter, arguing that the entrepreneur doesn’t fully grasp the challenges of content moderation or what it takes to enforce free speech on the internet.
In a now-viral Twitter thread, Wong noted “Elon is not going to fix some problems. I am absolutely sure of this. He has no idea what he’s in for”, adding, “Censorship is inevitable on large social network platforms. If you run one of sufficient size, you will be FORCED to censor things”. Wong clarified this is “Not by governments, or even by ‘users,’ but by the emergent dynamics of the social network itself”.
Wong’s thread believes at its core that it is impossible for Musk to uphold the free speech values associated with the old internet, due to the way in which the internet operates at present.
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The former Reddit CEO argued that with the internet growing enough for anyone to post at any time, platforms large as Twitter are forced into a degree of censorship. Wong also stated that political dynamics don’t guide these actions, but the inherent power and danger of ideas force such situations where social media platforms have to take responsibility so people don’t go out of control completely.
Wong also added, “And it’s not because certain ideas are good or bad, or true or false. It has to do purely with operational issues that arise with humans that disagree in large numbers on digital platforms”.
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The former Reddit CEO believes that running Twitter would be hard work and distract Musk from his current pursuits. He said, “And the worst part, the part that is going to hurt ALL OF HUMANITY, is that this will distract from his mission at SpaceX and Tesla because it’s not just going to suck up his time and attention, IT WILL DAMAGE HIS PSYCHE”.
Musk responded to Wong’s thread saying that Twitter needed a long tweet feature.