Elon Musk, serial entrepreneur, at TED2013: The Young, The Wise, The Undiscovered. Wednesday, February 27, 2013, Long Beach, CA. Photo: James Duncan Davidson
Since the takeover of Twitter by the billionaire Elon Musk, we feel the Western countries and the supranational authorities a little embarrassed at the corners. As long as the leaders of the sprawling network social were “on the safe side”, we could get along. Censorship of speeches, exclusion of divisive personalities, accounts that jump, followers that disappear, double standards between the progressive camp and those who resist it: the Rules of Twitter (with a capital R, as in most catechisms) did not hide not their sympathies. We were there, to resume Darmanin’s formula, “wicked with the wicked”. Musk’s demands, even before the takeover, on the transparency of the algorithms or the number of fake accounts, had begun to cause some anxiety among the employees and the leaders of the blue bird. Now there is panic.
In Europe also, the panic begins to be seen. Freedom of expression, and then what else? On a continent ruled by Ursula von der Leyen, elected by no one, herself surrounded by an Areopagus elected by no one, we have trouble with these concepts from another time. As proof, the reaction of Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the internal market, at the origin of European legislation (the Digital Services Act, or DSA) which limits the freedom of expression on the Old Continent and even provides for financial sanctions against companies that contravene it. “In Europe, said Thierry Breton, the bird will fly according to our European rules”. At the extreme limit of the sanctions provided for, we find the Twitter ban across the EU. This would be what is called a “strong signal”.
“The bird is free,” tweeted the new CEO, after making a very noticeable entrance into the premises of his new company, a sink in his arms. This cleaning metaphor was also that of Donald Trump (“Drain the swamp”), who will, by the way, probably return to Twitter. Let’s not jump to the conclusion that Musk is necessarily a philanthropist or an idealist. The photos, complacently relayed by the progressive camp, of employees who sleep in their office to show that they should not be fired, or dismissals by email, are beginning to be exploited. Musk is a visionary and probably something of a genius. Let’s give him time to develop a long-term strategy that he has probably meditated on for a long time. He doesn’t belong to any minority, funds Republicans and (probably the worst) only says common sense things that make wokists howl. Let’s give him time to take his place in a universe that is largely hostile to him – as he is hostile to us, to us.
This anti-Musk hatred, already palpable in the completely biased narrative that European newspapers repeat like parrots, is in fact a hatred of freedom of expression. Hate speeches are, in fact, very present and not at all moderate in Europe, and particularly in France: fundamentalist Islamic sermons, songs by Nick Conrad, outings from the France Insoumise or the Republican Indigenous Party… None of this shocks the European Union. It is less serious than the possibility of having, in Europe, contradictory sources of information. Well, let’s go, let’s ban Twitter like we banned RT and Sputnik. Let’s even promote a kind of European ORTF, with mandatory programs. Let’s push the totalitarian movement to the end. But let’s keep in mind that it will be difficult for us to give lessons to China or Russia after that. We already don’t give it to the Qatar or to Saudi Arabia, which are, as we know, good friends of Europe and defenders of democracy.
Will our worn-out human rights language save us from ridicule? I’m afraid it’s too late for a long time.