NYU professor Scott Galloway fired off a series of jokes at the expense of new Twitter owner Elon Musk on CNN Newsroom Sunday, telling anchor Jim Acosta he wouldn’t be surprised if the social media platform goes down soon, but predicting that we would manage to survive its collapse.
Musk’s tenure at Twitter has been rocky, sparring with advertisers, and an abruptly-halted rollout of a new $8-per-month verification checkmark under the “Twitter Blue” program, and laying off thousands of workers — then having to attempt to woo some of them back in the office. The sharp reduction in Twitter’s workforce from the layoffs and resignations has induced many Twitter users to speculate that the social media platform may soon fall apart entirely.
On Saturday, Musk reinstated former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account. The ex-president, who was banned from most social media platforms over his incitement of the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol, has not yet tweeted since he was reinstated.
Acosta welcomed Galloway on the show, mentioned how the professor had said last week that he wouldn’t be surprised if Twitter went down in the next week, and asked if he still thought that was likely.
“Yeah, I was tempted to buy a head of lettuce and do the same thing they did with Prime Minister Truss,” said Galloway, referring to the British tabloid Daily Star’s viral livestream mockery of Liz Truss’ record-setting shortest tenure as PM.
“Twitter will survive in some form,” Galloway continued, but “when you lay off this many people this quickly, it seems to me that there’s real collateral damage” and a “nonzero probability you have a pretty significant technical glitch.” He noted that the site “feels a little bit more buggy right now.”
“I just wouldn’t be surprised if the site goes down,” he said. “It’s important to remember, Twitter is not a national treasure. If Twitter were to go away, and I don’t think it will, I think we’d be all right.”
Galloway predicted that a “bunch of competitors” to Twitter would “pop up” over the next few months, with so many advertisers and consumers looking for options.
Musk was “an agent of chaos,” said Galloway, “and he’d rather kill a puppy live on Twitter Spaces than not be the headline every 48 hours. He manages to do it, and we take the bait.”
Was Twitter still “the kind of platform people want to use,” Acosta asked, considering “everything that’s been going on,” like the restoration of Trump’s Twitter account after Musk conducted a poll about it. After the poll ended in Trump’s favor, Musk tweeted the news he would be reinstated with the comment, “Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” Latin for “the voice of the people is the voice of God.”
“Maybe ‘the voice of the bots’ doesn’t translate into Latin,” Acosta quipped, but Musk does have “a cult following.”
Galloway referenced the Latin quote, the people have spoken, and said it was more like “the GRU has spoken — we don’t know who voted in this poll.”
“His polls are like a drunk using a lamppost, more for support more than illumination,” said Galloway, pointing out a previous example when Musk had taken a poll about whether he should sell Tesla stock but was already doing it.
Bringing back Trump “was just purely a stunt,” Galloway continued, but we still didn’t know what exactly this would mean, since Trump hadn’t tweeted yet and it wasn’t clear if his Truth Social agreement would even let him.
Twitter was a big deal “among a small group of influential people, kind of the chattering class in media and academia, we’re addicted to Twitter,” the professor said, acknowledging that after this television segment, the “first thing” he would do is check Twitter. But the platform was “pretty much irrelevant” for people under 25, he said, and dwarfed by other apps like Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram.
Acosta noted that the last tweets showing now on Trump’s account were “almost like following the bread crumbs to the scene of the crime of what happened on Jan. 6, just inciting people, telling them to come to the Capitol and all this stuff about overturning the election results,” and asked Galloway how dangerous he thought it was to allow Trump back on Twitter.
It was “getting less dangerous,” Galloway replied, because Trump was “becoming less relevant and losing followers.”
Still, bringing back Trump was not a “good business move” because more moderated platforms were more profitable. It was also “not a responsible thing to do” in Galloway’s opinion, but he was “going to enjoy it, because I want a front row seat to the continued undoing of the former president.”
“You’re not serving stakeholders of the country by massively increasing election misinformation across a platform,” Galloway concluded. “That will start the moment this account — that Trump is back tweeting misinformation.”
“And to think he’s going to do otherwise is just not dealing with reality,” said Acosta. “That is just who he is.”
Watch above via CNN.
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