The Left May Be Enraged at Twitter, but Where Are They Going to Go?

(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

For all the left-wing emoting going on because Elon Musk is talking about “free speech” and sort of meaning it, the most telling statistic, as well as the best indicator of true feelings, is how many leftists are actually quitting Twitter.


It’s too soon to be definitive, but like all those leftists who swore they’d move to Canada if Trump were elected president, liberals have a habit of making grandiose, virtue-signaling threats and not following through on them. I suspect there will be a few hundred thousand users who are mad enough to quit the platform, but don’t expect Bernie Sanders or AOC to lose too many of their millions of followers.

That’s because there is simply nowhere else to go.

Even among many conservatives, Twitter remains an essential platform despite the bias, the banning, and the maddening double standards. It’s not as important to the rightaverse as it once was, but it still has a big role to play.

There are other platforms with a larger user base — Facebook and Instagram, for example. But Twitter is where the political elites gather and hence is far more influential.


“If voters are trafficking Twitter, it would behoove candidates to be able to communicate with them directly where they’re at,” said Mark Jablonowski, a managing partner at DSPolitical, a digital ad firm that supports Democratic candidates.

Still, strategists said most politicians look to other social media sites like Instagram and Facebook — which have larger user bases — to directly reach more voters. Twitter’s nearly 40 million daily active U.S. users are dwarfed by Facebook’s more than 200 million monthly active U.S. usersWhere Twitter does have pull is among journalists, Washington insiders and lawmakers themselves.


It’s not the numbers that matter as much as the oversized impact Twitter has had on the national conversation.

It’s likely one reason firebrand conservative Republicans have pushed so hard to change Twitter rather than just leaving for another right-leaning platform like Gettr, Gab or the former President Donald Trump-affiliated Truth Social. “Twitter has never been a very important platform for contacting voters. It has been a very important channel for shaping narratives and interacting with opinion makers, elites and journalists,” said Eric Wilson, a managing partner of the Startup Caucus, a Republican campaign technology incubator.

Musk is going to run into the same problems left-wing censors ran into on Twitter: How are you going to define “hate speech” or “threats” or any other restriction that Musk will have to place on the platform? He will start out with the best of intentions, but the kooks, the crazies, and the out-and-out haters are not going away and will do everything possible to challenge Musk to ban them.

Someone’s “hate speech” is another’s “free speech.” That’s what has bedeviled Twitter for many years, and I don’t see it getting any better under Musk. As much as Musk might want to allow for free-wheeling discussions on his platform, Twitter is a public platform and stockholders will not look kindly on a social media company that’s thought of as the Wild West — unless Musk makes Twitter a completely private company.


Individuals are open-minded, reasonable, thinking, caring human beings. Mobs are not. And a mob — be it in the street or on a social media platform — follows the person with the loudest, angriest voice.

Twitter won’t change until human beings change.


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