Musk and the “click whores”

I love talking about economics because economics is life. It’s not just numbers, curves or graphs. It’s also a lot of psychology. If not, explain to me why the richest man in the world spends 44 billion dollars to buy Twitter, a social network that loses money?

I know that Elon Musk is very rich, but that’s no reason to sign a check for 44 billion. Better, as his fortune is mainly lodged in the form of Tesla shares, Elon Musk had to sell a package of Tesla shares to buy Twitter. In addition, the comments he makes on the freedom of expression he wants total or almost on Twitter also cost him money. We can even estimate that his thirst for freedom has already cost him 100 billion dollars of his personal fortune since since last January Tesla shares have lost 52% of their value.

The takeover of Twitter partly explains this tumble, because the Stock Exchange believes that this takeover will distract him and prevent him from properly managing his other activities. To be frank, he is not the only arch-billionaire to have lost feathers on the stock market. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos lost $83 billion. Marc Zuckerberg, the founder of Meta, saw his fortune shrink by $80 billion. Which proves that the parties of the extreme left must stop getting excited about billionaires and asking for taxes at all costs, the stock market is doing its job better than any tax adjustment.

But back to Twitter. For the moment, Elon Musk, who appeared as the superhero of American capitalism, has had bad press since he bought Twitter. As he ordered the return of more than 60,000 accounts banned for life, including that of Donald Trump, Elon Musk gives the impression that hate and false speech will explode on Twitter. However, Twitter lives 90% from advertising and brands do not like to find themselves in an environment of hate and lies – it’s too dangerous. So they leaked Twitter, which infuriated Elon Musk who allegedly personally called the CEOs of a hundred brands to yell at them. In any case, this is what the Financial Times reveals.

In this regard, I would like to tell you about an experiment carried out by researchers in Chicago and Columbia, study relayed by Professor Daniel Sibony of HEC Paris : they answered the question, what would happen if we stopped moderating the content of a social network? That’s basically what we blame the new Twitter for. To measure it, these researchers divided 800 people into two groups, one with artificial intelligence algorithms to detect toxic content and mask it, and the other half of the 800 people surveyed had just a “placebo” extension. “which concealed nothing. The result of this research is that moderation algorithms do work. By masking just 6% of content, they reduce exposure to toxic content by 73%. And since the toxic is contagious, these users in turn publish 25% less toxic content.

So that’s great! Long live moderation. Not really, because the same researchers find that these protected users consume less advertising and less content. What does it mean ? Very simple: that all social networks know it and not just Twitter. The toxic, it brings in money. Yes, torrents of mud, we denounce them in public, but in reality, it brings a lot of money to social networks. But let’s also be on the safe side: some traditional media use and abuse this mud. Just look at the quality of the titles that work on quite a few news websites. In our jargon, we call it “click whores”. If the expression is vulgar, it says the only function of these titles without nuances. And there, with this single sentence, I made new friends. Too bad, they don’t like the franchise, but they won’t have my hatred. And long live moderation, the real one, that of nuance.

I know that Elon Musk is very rich, but that’s no reason to sign a check for 44 billion. Better, as his fortune is mainly lodged in the form of Tesla shares, Elon Musk had to sell a package of Tesla shares to buy Twitter. In addition, the comments he makes on the freedom of expression he wants total or almost on Twitter also cost him money. We can even estimate that his thirst for freedom has already cost him 100 billion dollars of his personal fortune since since last January Tesla shares have lost 52% of their value. The takeover of Twitter partly explains this tumble, because the Stock Exchange believes that this takeover will distract it and prevent it from properly managing its other activities. To be frank, he is not the only arch-billionaire to have lost feathers on the stock market. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos lost $83 billion. Marc Zuckerberg, the founder of Meta, saw his fortune shrink by $80 billion. Which proves that the parties of the extreme left must stop getting excited about billionaires and asking for taxes at all costs, the Stock Exchange is doing its job better than any fiscal adjustment. But back to Twitter. For the moment, Elon Musk, who appeared as the superhero of American capitalism, has had bad press since he bought Twitter. As he ordered the return of more than 60,000 accounts banned for life, including that of Donald Trump, Elon Musk gives the impression that hateful and false speech will explode on Twitter. However, Twitter lives 90% from advertising and brands do not like to find themselves in an environment of hate and lies – it’s too dangerous. So they leaked Twitter, which infuriated Elon Musk who allegedly personally called the CEOs of a hundred brands to yell at them. In any case, this is what the Financial Times reveals. In this regard, I would like to tell you about an experiment carried out by researchers in Chicago and Columbia, a study relayed by Professor Daniel Sibony of HEC Paris: they responded to the question, what would happen if we stopped moderating the content of a social network? That’s basically what we blame the new Twitter for. To measure it, these researchers divided 800 people into two groups, one with artificial intelligence algorithms to detect toxic content and mask it, and the other half of the 800 people surveyed had just a “placebo” extension. “which concealed nothing. The result of this research is that moderation algorithms do work. By masking just 6% of content, they reduce exposure to toxic content by 73%. And as the toxic is contagious, these users in turn publish 25% less toxic content. So, Top! Long live moderation. Not really, because the same researchers find that these protected users consume less advertising and less content. What does it mean ? Very simple: that all social networks know it and not just Twitter. The toxic, it brings in money. Yes, torrents of mud, we denounce them in public, but in reality, it brings a lot of money to social networks. But let’s also be on the safe side: some traditional media use and abuse this mud. Just look at the quality of the titles that work on quite a few news websites. In our jargon, we call it “click whores”. If the expression is vulgar, it says the only function of these titles without nuances. And there, with this single sentence, I made new friends. Too bad, they don’t like the franchise, but they won’t have my hatred. And long live moderation, the real one, that of nuance.

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Musk and the “click whores”


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