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Earlier today, Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk made an offer to buy Twitter, and not only was it immediate front-page news across the land, but it created an immediate, anguished outcry on the website itself. I had a different reaction. Musk is trying to buy a broken website that’s helping break our culture, and that website might be beyond repair.
To understand the news event, we have to understand a few facts about Twitter, its users, and its effect on our culture. Taken together, these facts paint a picture of a website that is relatively small (compared to the rest of social media), disproportionately influential with the political elite, and distorts both the right and the left in deeply destructive ways.
If you look at a chart of popular social-media sites, you’ll note that you have to look far down the list to find Twitter. It’s way behind Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. It’s below a host of foreign social-media sites. It’s below even Telegram and Pinterest. It sits just above Reddit as the 15th-most-popular social-media site in the world.