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The Ghost In The Twitter Machine
For Twitter, the past is prologue.
A little over a week ago, Elon ran a poll asking if he should end Donald Trump’s permanent suspension.
The results were hotly contested, but in the end, Trump prevailed, and his account was unbanned.
This week, I put Trump’s reinstatement under the microscope as one of the most significant events in the history of the Internet.
Let’s start with a little good news about Dogecoin-powered charity. Then we’ll take a look at how Elon is addressing open wounds from the Trump era, and wrap up by examining why Dogecoin is the antidote to Twitter’s raging culture war.
The Giving Season
This past weekend, homebuilder and philanthropist Bill Pulte took to Twitter to give away some Dogecoin.
Earlier this year, he said he wanted to use Doge for philanthropy, but needed to figure out how to use it first. He coined the hashtag #TwitterPhilanthropy in 2019 and is known for using Twitter as a vehicle to get cash in the hands of people who need it.
On Friday, he posted a video announcing the Dogecoin giveaway, assuring followers he was not joking: "Some people call it doggy coin. It's Dogecoin. I'm going to send it right now, so yes that is for real, and yes that is me."
A few minutes later, he posted video of himself using MyDoge, and reported the experience was hassle-free.
Then, he ranked Dogecoin alongside Bitcoin and USD as a vehicle for philanthropy.
He also showed off his meme game and hinted at future Doge-powered giving.
Welcome to the DogeArmy, Bill!
The Ghost of Trump
Donald Trump has been reinstated to Twitter.
The poll received 15 million votes. After 24 hours, 52% of participants voted "Yes," and Trump's account was reinstated shortly thereafter.
Since being reinstated, Trump has not posted to his account.
As part of his deal with Truth Social's parent company DWAC, Trump is required to wait six hours after he posts on Truth before reposting on another platform, with some exceptions.
But Twitter is home to world leaders, CEOs, celebrities, and other power players—it's where the global conversation happens.
It's also the platform that defined his presidency. No politician has ever used social media quite the way Trump wielded his Twitter account.
By hiding out on Truth, Trump is limiting his reach. It's hard to imagine he'll stay off Twitter forever.
Last week, Elon made light of the situation with a pair of memes depicting Trump battling the temptation to return to the bird app.
While DJT hasn't given any hints if he'll be back, the spirit of Twitter has gotten noticeably Trumpier in recent weeks.
One reason is FTX's collapse. Like it or not, the events surrounding the failed exchange and its fraudulent founder evoke an inescapably Trumpian worldview.
The scandal is exactly the kind of story Trump dines out on: a big-ticket political donor steals billions of dollars from regular people, gives it to D.C. swamp creatures, and hides out in the Bahamas while the media runs interference.
Under normal circumstances, these communities keep to themselves, but in this case they can all tell something stinks about the official narrative of the fraud.
Simply by virtue of pushing back against the obviously false mainstream narrative about SBF, Internet journalists have found themselves directionally aligned with Trump.
Another piece of the equation has been the restoration of accounts like Jordan Peterson, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Babylon Bee, Project Veritas, and Andrew Tate—people suspended for the crime of having the wrong opinion with too big of an audience.
Many of these folks aren't explicitly pro-Trump, but their banishment from Twitter followed logically from Trump's suspension.
Once you ban a sitting President, you can ban anyone. Twitter used the Trump suspension as a springboard to cancel whoever it accused of wrongthink.
Last Thursday, after another poll, Elon announced a policy of general amnesty for previously banned accounts, provided they weren't suspended for criminal activity or egregious spam.
It's safe to say that a lot of these are pro-Trump accounts purged from Twitter in 2020-2021.
The announcement led activists to once again predict a rise in hateful content and endangerment of life.
The data so far paints a more nuanced picture: according to Twitter's internal count, hate speech has declined since Elon took over after surging briefly during his first few days in charge.
Another open wound from the Trump era is the story of the Hunter Biden laptop. Elon is tackling this too.
In October 2020, the NY Post reported on the existence of a laptop belonging to Hunter Biden that linked Joe Biden to his son's business deals in Ukraine and China.
Both legacy and social media censored the story on the basis that it was "Russian disinformation," taking the the word of several ex-CIA officials. At the time, Joe Biden called it "another smear campaign."
While the Twittersphere waited two years for an official response to the laptop that never arrived, photos have steadily leaked onto the Internet, becoming some of the most-memed material ever.
In October, an independent report claimed that the laptop showed evidence of 459 crimes committed by Hunter, as well as six white-collar crimes by Joe. A poll earlier this year found that 78% of Americans believed Trump would have won the 2020 election if reporting on the laptop had been accurate.
Elon has said he will make public Twitter's internal discussions about the decision to censor stories about the Hunter Biden Laptop "to restore public trust."
Perhaps the biggest Trump-shaped shadow looming over Twitter has been increased focus on child sexual exploitation.
Trump made the fight against child exploitation a centerpiece of his administration's public relations. In 2020 he signed executive order aimed at strengthening the federal response to trafficking, calling the practice an "ancient art."
Trump's campaign against trafficking became a point of contention: his supporters took him at his world, while media and fact checkers fact-checked his crusade as a conspiracy theory.
Last week, Elon picked up the thread in response to a tweet about Antifa (yet another bone of contention from the Trump era), tweeting that addressing child exploitation was "Priority #1."
In a Newsweek editorial, human trafficking survivor/advocate Eliza Bleu praised Elon's early work while criticizing Twitter's old management for turning a blind eye to the problem.
So far, this angle of Elon's leadership at Twitter has gone mostly unnoticed by the press, aside from a Forbes piece over the weekend that predicted people would die because Elon cut Twitter content moderation staff.
To be fair, the mainstream media does not have a great track record covering this issue.
In 2019, ABC news anchor Amy Robach was caught on a hot mic explaining how her employer spiked an investigation into Jeffrey Epstein for three years.
Robach explained that ABC chose to protect the rich and powerful over Epstein's victims, saying, "there will come a day when we will realize Jeffrey Epstein was the most prolific pedophile this country as ever known."
To this day, the media carefully tiptoes around the topic, dismissing most speculations about Epstein as "conspiracy."
Despite what some might wish, the topic of child exploitation seems to be gathering momentum.
Last week, the issue burst into the open once more during a controversy surrounding the luxury fashion brand Balenciaga.
It started when Balenciaga ran advertising on its website and Instagram with children holding teddy bears in bondage gear.
Another ad contained an easter-egg prop: court documents from a Supreme Court case which made fake child sex abuse images legal.
A user posted the ads on Twitter, triggering outrage.
The story is exactly the kind of thing that looks radically different depending on whether you experience it through Twitter or not.
Initially, Balenciaga claimed ignorance, then deactivated its Twitter account, before finally issuing an apology on Instagram.
For those watching in real time, it was pretty obvious what was going on: a cutting edge luxury brand got caught sexualizing children under the guise of haute couture.
However, the scandal was compounded by Balenciaga's evasive response.
After a pressure campaign that lasted over a week, Kim Kardashian weakly denounced the brand while indicating she will still work with it.
The larger meaning of Balenciaga remains to be seen, but it's the type of topic that Trump supporters point to when they condemn media and elites.
Many Trump accounts have been banned for spreading "disinformation" by speculating on deeper connections involved in this type of thing. Still, when something like this happens, it's tough to fault them for being suspicious.
In the bigger picture, Elon is right to try to win back the trust of Trump-backers, who have been mistreated by Twitter for supporting one of the most popular (and unpopular) politicians in American history.
Permanent bans set a disastrous precedent and make conversation impossible. Without at least a few of Trump's 74 million voters, Twitter risks becoming an echo-chamber and cuts its potential American audience in half.
It'll be interesting to watch whether Trump's reinstatement remains a symbolic gesture, or ends up having real-world political consequences.
Trump may never tweet again, but his ghost will haunt the Twitter machine for some time to come.
With or without the orange one, Twitter is entering a new era.
Saturday night, Elon tweeted out slides from a company presentation.
One set of slides contained data from the last month at Twitter, putting to rest the #RIPTwitter narrative promoted by its enemies.
Another set teased upcoming features for Twitter 2.0.
The final slide was the word "Payments" next to a conspicuously empty space.
The DogeArmy quickly filled in the blank.
Early Sunday morning, Elon theorized that Twitter could reach a billion users in the next year and a half.
Giving Dogecoin utility to one billion folks through Twitter Payments could catapult Doge into the mainstream.
Unlike fiat currencies, Dogecoin is issued on a fixed and pre-determined schedule. There are currently about 130 billion Doge in existence, with five billion new coins minted each year.
If the existing supply of Dogecoin was distributed evenly to a billion Twitter users, there'd be 130 Doge available for each user.
Distributed across the world population of eight billion, there are just 16.5 Dogecoins per person.
The joke is becoming the real thing. Get stacking!
The Ghost in the Twitter Machine
Trump's ban from Twitter marked the end of one era and the beginning of another. He was booted in January 2021 and by February, the DogeArmy had stormed onto the scene.
Trump may never come back to the bird app, but his imprint on Twitter remains indelible.
When Elon took over last month, he began by addressing many of the open wounds from the Trump era, including censorship, the Biden laptop, and child exploitation.
While he's caught flak for deviating from political orthodoxy, he is right to eliminate Twitter's ideological bias, both as a business decision and on ethical grounds.
Tackling these Trump-adjacent issues means forging through dark, politically rancorous territory.
During times of upheaval like this one, people need a set of unifying symbols, traditions, and memes to guide them and keep chaos at bay.
Dogecoin offers something to feel good about on Twitter, regardless of one's political persuasion. Its utility as a charity crypto and currency of the creator's economy offers a glimpse of a happier, more harmonious version of social media.
The open wounds of the Trump era may yet take a while to heal, but with Dogecoin as Twitter's beating heart, the Doge Era has just begun.
Dogey Treats: News Bites
Starlink now works in all of Alaska and Canada.
Elon tweeted, "The amount of pro psy ops on Twitter is ridiculous! At least with new Verified they will pay $8 for the privilege haha." He also posted a Current Thing Pepe meme with the text, "Honesty I don't care about this particular psyop." In a separate post, he shared an image of "My bedside table" with two pistols and a picture of George Washington crossing the Delaware.
Twitter Added 1.6M active daily users in the last week, a new all-time high. A new verification system is expected to roll out this Friday: gold checks for companies, grey for government, and blue for all individuals. Video and written content will be monetizable Elon tweeted that "World-class software aces are joining Twitter."
Elon found a closet of #StayWoke shirts in Twitter's HQ and posted a meme about celebrities complaining about Twitter on Twitter. He asked what people think about the culture war, wrote that the woke mind virus is pushing humanity toward extinction, and said that he was working to eliminate Twitter' far-left bias. He also explained his decision to drop the idea of a content moderation council and wrote, "Fanaticism is always a function of repressed doubt."
Advertisers that pulled ads from Twitter are underperforming those that didn't.
Twitter is adopting Signal Protocol for encrypted DMs.
Elon asked for help identifying Twitter accounts promoting violence in response to revelations about Antifa's use of the platform.
Global Financial System
Credit Suisse revealed that, during the first weeks of Q4, clients had pulled out $88 billion in a "staggering bank run."
Russia is preparing to create a government-controlled crypto exchange.
Victims of Jeffrey Epstein filed a lawsuit against Chase Bank and Deutsche Bank.
JP Morgan filed a trademark for its own crypto wallet.
El Salvador is moving ahead with Bitcoin bonds and a digital assets bill.
New York passed a partial ban on proof-of-work crypto mining.
Elizabeth Warren published an editorial in the WSJ titled, "Regulate Crypto or It'll Take Down the Economy."
NBC published an editorial arguing that Bitcoin should be considered separate from the rest of the crypto industry.
BlockFi officially filed for bankruptcy.
Business Insider, citing a report from Semafor, claimed that SBF owned a $100 million stake in Twitter. Elon said the report was false and BI is "not a real publication." Elon also called Semafor's journalistic ethics into question: "Semafor is owned by SBF. This is a massive conflict of interest in your reporting. Journalistic integrity is [trash]." He described the mainstream reporting on SBF "one the biggest failures in US journalistic integrity of the 21st century."
A list of Republican politicians who accepted money from SBF/FTX circulated on Twitter.
Anthony Fauci held his final press conference, which dissolved into pandemonium over questions about the lab leak theory. The following day, Fauci was deposed, and new evidence emerged that he knew masks were ineffective before mandating them.
Washington Post published an article claiming that vaccinated Covid deaths have surpassed unvaccinated deaths.
Protests broke out across China in response to its continued Zero-Covid policies.
GameStop Chair Ryan Cohen tweeted a picture of his dad with the text, "Teddy making Thanksgiving great again."
Former DoD official Kash Patel retruthed a post critical of Citadel's Ken Griffin, writing, "total corruption by #GovernmentGangsters and their private world cronies."
Elon responded to an AMC Ape account critiquing the media, writing, "Wow."
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Memes of the Week
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Disclaimer: This is not financial advice and I am not a financial advisor. The article above references an opinion for entertainment purposes only and it is not investment advice. Always assume that the author of the article is actively trading and that the opinions expressed may be biased towards the author’s holdings. Do your own research and consult with a licensed financial adviser before making any investment decision. Do not treat any opinion expressed in this newsletter as a specific inducement to make a particular investment. Content, news, research, tools, and securities symbols are for educational and illustrative purposes only and do not imply a recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell a particular security or cryptocurrency or to engage in any particular investment strategy. The information provided is not warranted as to completeness or accuracy and is subject to change without notice. The projections or other information regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, are not guaranteed for accuracy or completeness, do not reflect actual investment results and are not guarantees of future results. All investments involve risk, losses may exceed the principal invested, and the past performance of a security, industry, sector, market, cryptocurrency, or financial product does not guarantee future results or returns. Dogecoin is a speculative and highly volatile asset susceptible to pump-and-dump schemes.
At the time of publication, Dogecoin is around $0.10 per coin.