Elon Musk, the freshly anointed owner of Twitter, took to Twitter Spaces over the past weekend to discuss, among other things, the “Twitter Files.” This is an inquiry into Twitter’s suppression of the alleged contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop in the lead up to the presidential election in 2020. The investigation has been met with mixed reception.
Musk has promised several installments to the files, and the first one dropped on Friday. However, episode two has been delayed.. During his Spaces appearance, the Chief Twit claimed that the release of the probe may put his life in jeopardy, despite the fact that many outsiders had described it as lacking, considering the media already widely publicized in 2020 that posts related to this very thing were being suppressed.
“At the end of the day, we just want to have a future where we’re not oppressed, [where] our speech is not suppressed,” telling his audience why he decided to make the Files public, he added, “and we can say what we want to say without fear of reprisals.”
“Frankly the risk of something bad happening to me, or even literally being shot, is quite significant,” he continued.
He added that he’s “definitely not going to be doing any open-air car parades, let me put it that way.”
It’s true that famous individuals often become the targets of stalker, so Musk has a point there. Musk is the wealthiest person in the world, but his turbulent, outspoken presence on the social media network he now controls makes him an unusually prominent — and contentious — figure. As a general rule, he has good reason to fear for his safety, and such worries are to be expected.
“It’s not that hard to kill somebody if you wanted to, so hopefully they don’t, and fate smiles upon the situation with me and it does not happen… there’s definitely some risk there,” Musk said in the Spaces talk.
However, the extent to which the first volume of Musk’s Files constitutes a major revelation is debatable. Musk alleges that he and his colleagues disclosed the “suppression” of the dirty, very controversial Hunter Biden laptop affair by exposing images of discussions between Twitter workers and certain lawmakers. Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson dubbed it “one of the most extraordinary moments in the history of social media” on his broadcast.
What really happened with the Hunter Biden story suppression by Twitter will be published on Twitter at 5pm ET!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 2, 2022
And in some regards, Tucker is correct. We’ve never actually seen a CEO of a social media company actually do anything like this. But considering the media was openly saying that social media companies were suppressing this story in 2020, there’s not really anything new that has been revealed that would get Musk into any “trouble”, at least from what I’ve seen.
Ex-Twitter employees who were involved in the 2020 operation are not happy about it, though, saying that they are the ones who are in the actual danger by having their names publicly posted in the files.
“We’re furious,” a newly-former Twitter employee reportedly told The Washington Post.
“It’s absolutely abhorrent they would release names to the public. It can get someone killed.”
Ex-Twitter Trust and Safety head Yoel Roth, who is also mentioned in the Files, has migrated to the open source service Mastodon, saying: “Publicly posting the names and identities of front-line employees involved in content moderation puts them in harm’s way and is a fundamentally unacceptable thing to do.”