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Was Elon Musk Trying To Make It Harder to Like Specific Tweets Criticizing Him & Tesla?

Elon Musk looks at the camera and gives an exaggerated shrug.

Something rotten is in the state of Twitter, friends. Yesterday, if you follow a very specific type of account on Twitter (car people), you may have noticed a pop-up asking if you were really sure you wanted to like a certain tweet.

As someone who (sadly) was informed it was their 14th anniversary of using that hellsite recently, I am pretty confident I’ve never gotten such a pop-up before, and I’ve seen a lot of bad takes and disinformation on the platform in that time. The tweet in question linked to an article from China Daily, discussing Tesla’s limited product availability in China.

When people tried to like the tweet on Monday, they reported getting the above pop-up, just double-checking they were really sure about that little heart. As of 3:47 CST Tuesday, after getting a ton of backlash, it was no longer occurring, at least for my account:

So. This is weird, right? According to Forbes, this wasn’t a Tesla or Mus-specific rule for Twitter but a broader one targeting any Tweet linking from state-run media sources.

The warning actually appears on any attempt to like a tweet from a state-owned news source originating in China or Russia. And you can try it yourself.

For example, China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying often tweets links to Xinhua, a Chinese state media outlet. But if you try to like any of those tweets, you’ll receive the same warning.

Except it also just so magically happens to be incredibly short-lived because here we are on a Tuesday afternoon, and no pop-ups appear when I try to like a tweet on a desktop or on my mobile.

The article continues:

The warning also appears for anyone trying to like a tweet sent out from Russian state media outlet Sputnik News. But the warning doesn’t appear for state-backed media outlets that are considered allies of the U.S., including Germany’s DW news outlet.

The pop-ups for Russian state media outlets are gone now, too, when I checked on my account.

So is it a coincidence that these pop-ups/warnings occurred when accounts were criticizing Tesla and then disappeared once articles got published, flagging how odd it is that this happened in the first place? LOL, absolutely not. It was a dumb, unpopular feature that was universally reviled based on anecdotal evidence via tweets and the attention the Forbes article got, so it was quickly walked back.

Fundamentally, Elon Musk just wants to be admired and liked by the general masses and took out a massive loan for a social media platform in order to get him there. That’s why at one point, his mom got on Twitter and scolded people for not liking her son’s new boneheaded policies. We’re all supposed to fall in line, I suppose?

I just want to keep reminding people that no one but Elon Musk (and in all likelihood, his mom, based on evidence like the above Tweet) told him to buy Twitter. It was a publicly traded company that he has gutted, ruined, and now keeps instituting boneheaded policies that he keeps having to walk back because they are deeply unpopular and just weird. Yet he acts like some put upon beleaguered good-natured everyman, and not a billionaire desperately trying to buy his seat at the cool kids’ table on social media. It’s so deeply pathetic.

Musk has said nothing about the latest feature rollout (and then de-rollout) but he did Tweet out this, so you know, business as usual for him:

There is no accountability in these Twitter policies, like the pop-up warning from the posts yesterday or whatever stupid feature that I’m sure will be rolled out next. They’re instituted with no rhyme, reason, explanation, or warning; and walked back with the same level of care and visibility. It’s asinine and the dumbest, most inefficient way to run a business. At a certain point, you can only piss off your users for so long until they walk away, and then you’re left with nothing.

The Musk fanboys will tell you to cry about it on social media, but I weep for them. For me, this is my up close and personal gathering of the Juggalos. It’s a low-stakes, slow-burning dumpster fire that is highly entertaining and still delivers from time to time, and yes, sometimes I get to debate the intricacies of magnets and how they work. What could be better? As an added bonus, Twitter very well could be Elon Musk’s un-doing, and it’s entirely his fault. It’s a fascinating decline for him, the very definition of being hoisted by your own petard, and to see the fanboys cheer him on as he repeatedly shoots himself in the foot while they tell him “masterful 4-D chess move, Sir.” They both lap it up! It’s just fascinating. How could I ever turn away? So here I’ll be, sharing whatever stupid policy they institute until I get banned, the site dies, or the Tesla board finally intervenes. (I suspect it will be the third option.)

(featured image: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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