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First Amendment

Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Andrew Torba



Elon Musk joined battle on Friday, when he closed his purchase of Twitter and fired its executive echelon. Now he seems to have suffered a reverse, likely clashing with his habitual bête noire, Jeff Bezos of Amazon. And Andrew Torba waits in the wings, arms folded, barely restraining himself from telling Elon, “I told you so.”

Elon Musk, Twitter, and content standards

When Elon Musk bought Twitter, he immediately started firing executives and engineers. Many, almost all conservatives, who had lost their accounts under Twitter’s old regime, rejoiced. When Elon then said that permanent bans were at an end, they all waited to get their accounts back.

Before Friday was out, Elon disappointed them. Reportage comes from Editorji, NDTV, CNBC, and The Verge. To be specific, Elon Musk announced the formation of a moderation council, and a moratorium on any changes in policy.

He said his new council would have “widely diverse viewpoints.” And he made “super clear” that, at present, the Twitter rules have not changed.

Immediately a “woke” denizen protested the apparent reinstatement of Kanye “Ye” West, following some over-generalized statements he made. In fact his suspension had a seven-day limit, which expired probably while Elon was walking into Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters carrying a bathroom sink. In any event, the reinstatement happened automatically, according to program, and did not cross Musk’s desk.


Thus far, Laura Loomer, Lauren Witzke, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), each of whom has lost Twitter accounts and is now on Telegram, have remained silent on this latest development. So has President Trump, who praised Musk Friday and said Twitter was now “in sane hands.”

The Quartering knows why

But one influencer – The Quartering – advanced a theory CNAV finds eminently persuasive.

Recall that Parler abruptly fell off-line in January of 2021. Parler had been on Amazon Web Services, which unceremoniously discontinued service. A month later, Parler was back, apparently on different servers.

The problem: Amazon Web Services are the hosts of Twitter. When Parler went down, most people assumed Amazon took it down to protect Twitter. But Amazon had another, plainer motive: to stifle any platform offering speech it didn’t like.

And now Twitter is Enemy Territory, on two counts. First, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos have been almost spiteful rivals for years. They run competing space programs (SpaceX from Musk, and Blue Origin from Bezos). And they will not cooperate, even though the two programs could complement one another to great mutual advantage.


Second, Jeff Bezos is “woke.” Everything he does, he does to promote “woke” precepts. Twitter was on board with that; Parler was not. So Parler had to go.

Now Elon Musk, of whom Bezos is a bitter rival, has bought Twitter precisely to make it a free-speech platform. So imagine Jeff Bezos’ reaction:

Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-AHEM! NOTHING DOING!

Others who don’t like free speech

Nor is Bezos the only one. The Quartering cited Google (the Play Store) and Apple (the App Store) as two other companies who might sanction Twitter.

Thierry Breton, Internal Market Commissioner for the European Union, archly commented,

In Europe, the bird will fly by our rules.

The European Union does not recognize freedom of speech.


On The Verge, commentator Nilay Patel posted an obscenity-laced rant against Elon Musk. In it he made this point, that speaks volumes about Musk’s ideological opposition:

You have to ban racism, sexism, transphobia, and all kinds of other speech that is totally legal in the United States but reveals people to be total [jerks]. So you can make all the promises about “free speech” you want, but the dull reality is that you still have to ban a bunch of legal speech if you want to make money.

Mr. Patel lays no foundation whatsoever for his claim that big advertisers all want the “woke.” Nor, anywhere in his rant, does he define the three things he finds offensive. Therefore, one must assume that the rules of Gramscian Critical Theory apply. Furthermore, his ideas on what the First Amendment actually means are at total variance with its letter and spirit.

Unfortunately, his attitude either typifies, or excuses, those of the Jeff Bezoses and Thierry Bretons and other enemies of freedom.

Andrew Torba to Elon Musk – I told you so

While all this drama unfolds, Andrew Torba watches and waits – perhaps for Elon Musk to order a serving of crow. Torba told Musk in April that he would be buying a platform with a third-party infrastructure. On April 14, he left detailed warnings of the very problems Musk now faces. He listed everything:

  • Third-party infrastructure (specifically by Amazon),
  • Google and Apple disallowing the Twitter app from their stores,
  • Need to comply with censorship laws of other countries,
  • The Twitter community itself (and if Nilay Patel is a fair example, Torba is correct!), and
  • Lack of any revenue stream other than advertising.

Gab has solved or worked around all these problems, by:

  • Building their own infrastructure,
  • Replacing “phone apps” with browser shortcuts,
  • Not opening company offices in censorious countries, and
  • Assiduously building many revenue streams, not advertising alone.

As for communities, Gab has built its own community from scratch. The only criticisms of that community have come from those who would never join it.

Torba then suggested Elon invest two billion dollars in Gab, instead of the forty-four billion dollars Elon paid for Twitter.


As of this moment, Andrew Torba has said nothing further. But one can well imagine the schadenfreude he must feel as he contemplates this latest reverse. (Disclaimer: CNAV has no contractual relationship with Gab other than your editor being a registered user.)

Last-minute confusion

Yesterday evening, The Epoch Times reported that Elon Musk pledged to reinstate any account that the previous management of Twitter had suspended for “minor or dubious reasons.” Musk said this to Jordan Peterson’s niece Mikhaila when she asked about her uncle’s suspension.

Again, how that “squares” with talk of “moderation councils,” CNAV cannot determine. As we said before, we will watch and wait.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

CATEGORY:First Amendment
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