Does it Matter if Elon Musk Ruins Twitter?
Podcast
Does it Matter if Elon Musk Ruins Twitter?
If we think social media is to blame for polarization, we're probably wrong.
Published on: May 1, 2022  

Much of the freakout about Elon Musk buying Twitter is based on an assumption that social media is integral to democracies and a critical tool for dissidents living in repressive regimes. But what if that assumption is overblown? Are the dustups over Twitter's new ownership really just a proxy war for the broader freedom of speech debate that has been ratcheting up recently?

Just as Elon was talking up Twitter, Barack Obama gave a major address calling for government regulation of social media platforms to curb "misinformation." Here, then, are two contrasting visions that speak to essential differences over freedom and truth—and who determines what constitutes truth in the first place.  

In Part 2 of the conversation, available here for subscribers, Shadi and Damir debate whether low information or high information voters are better for democracy. Ordinary voters say they believe in crazy things, but in their day-to-day lives don't behave as if they believe. Ideologues, on the other hand, tend to be well-educated, so clearly better education or information isn't the answer. But then what is?

Subscribers get access to all paid content, including weekly bonus episodes, Q&A features with Shadi and Damir, our full essay archive, as well as members-only conversations with guests like Ross Douthat and Glenn Greenwald.


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