Express & Star

Elon Musk’s role in Twitter’s sad demise

It wouldn’t be the first digital platform to fall off its perch. Though the fall from grace of Twitter has been more alarming and more unexpected than most.

Musk lost the poll, but is still there

A decision by Elon Musk to spend tens of billions on a platform that used to work perfectly well increasingly looks foolhardy, rather than brave.

He has stripped out the contribution of key staff, alienated advertisers and squandered the goodwill than tens of millions had for a platform on which happy connections were once made – but now seems to offer only binary opinions allied with hate.

Musk made billions from technology and is now losing unimaginable amounts as his foray into the world of social media backfires as spectacularly as a Boris Johnson assertion there were no parties and he’d really, really, really followed the rules.

Twitter is a platform for passive aggressive subtweets and pyrrhic Twitter wars, a place for doomscrolling and misinformation, a toxic environment that disdains nuance, amplifies mistruths and rewards conflict.

A focus for activism rather than networking, socialising or marketing, Twitter’s become the place to go if you want to let off steam or get into a pointless fight with someone you’re never likely to meet. And, really, what’s the point in that?

Twitter Blue was supposed to lend the platform some credibility – so let’s see how that’s working.

Misleading posts about the riots in France have told how American rioters nicked from Ukraine are being used to fire on police.

Except, that’s entirely false, and stems from organised state misinformation factories that have been linked to the Kremlin. Here’s another: Russian soldiers have found Ukrainian baby factories where kids are being raised so that their organs can be sold on the black market.

Here’s a third. A post viewed by a million times claimed Ukranian friendly fire was responsible for a hit on a military barracks that killed eight people. It’s entirely untrue, like much else on the platform.


Elon Musk isn’t the only one whose mismanagement of a huge, cumbersome machine is leading to disaster. Robert Jenrick is the UK Minister for Immigration, a post he fell into after working under both Boris Johnson and Liz Truss.

Mr Jenrick is no stranger to controversy, and so we ought not to be surprised that he’s at the centre of yet another row.

This time, it’s over the painting over of murals of Mickey Mouse and characters from the Jungle Book, which are intended to put asylum-seeking children at ease at a reception centre in Kent.

Mr Jenrick doesn’t doesn’t want the UK to be seen as being too welcoming for migrants arriving in the country from France.

Critics have immediately accused Mr Jenrick, who apparently believes a picture of Baloo is the wrong image to paint of the UK, of being mean-spirited and heartless.

Remove the arguments over those coming over in boats, and their motivations for doing so, and the redecoration ordered by Mr Jenrick appears bizarre. After all, children are the innocents in this.

Many have been quick to call out actions that they’ve variously described as ‘evil’, and ‘cruel’, while fellow Tories have described his intervention as an unforced error, or used colourful language to express their disapproval of effectively targeting children.

As for Mr Jenrick, he says he “didn’t think the set-up in that particular unit was age appropriate because the majority of those individuals who were unaccompanied passing through it last year were teenagers”.

Still, the Government that Mr Jenrick serves could be entering its final days, with polls suggesting they will likely be out of power following the election in autumn 2024.

The aftermath of Boris Johnson’s chaotic rule and Liz Truss’s economically disastrous 49 days in office linger and as such characters as Mr Jenrick generate more ill-feeling, there’s a strong sense that the game could soon be up.