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The Great Twitter Bot War
Elon’s Twitter acquisition just got a whole lot spicier.
Last week, he put his purchase on hold until Twitter verifies the number of bots on the platform.
The move opened up a giant can of worms, provoking attacks from some of world’s most powerful corporations and politicians.
Let’s dive in…
Bots all the way down
Elon's acquisition of Twitter is on hold because of bots.
A recent Twitter SEC filing claimed that "fewer than 5 percent" of daily active users are "false or spam accounts."
Elon has called that figure into question, and Twitter hasn't been able to prove it's real.
Earlier this month, Elon presented investors with plans to quintuple Twitter's revenue by 2028 based on the number of real users the company claims to have.
If the number of users turns out to be smaller, he will probably try to renegotiate the original $44 billion dollar deal with Twitter's board.
So far, the board is resisting.
On Tuesday, it released a statement that it plans to "close the transaction and enforce the merger agreement."
Anyone who uses Twitter knows that bots are a big problem.
Most of Elon's tweets are instantly flooded with bots promoting crypto scams.
At a deeper level, bots distort reality, making it difficult to discern what public opinion really is on important issues.
In an intriguing exchange, country singer John Rich tweeted that Elon knew Twitter was being dishonest about the number of bots on the platform before he made his initial offer.
Elon responded by writing "Absolutely," though it's not clear which part(s) of the tweet he was agreeing with.
Elon's stated goal to make Twitter into a free-speech digital town square appears sincere.
At this point, however, it's reasonable to wonder if he doesn't have a secondary motive to pull back the curtain on how the sausage of public opinion gets made on social media.
Thirty years ago, leftist intellectual Noam Chomsky coined the term "manufacturing consent" to explain how corporate media distorted public opinion to serve the interests of the elite establishment.
Until recently, Chomsky's warning carried the day, and a healthy skepticism toward corporate media was widely encouraged.
But lately, it has become the default position to view the media—including social media giants—as trustworthy arbiters of truth, while regular people are depicted as incapable of distinguishing fact from fiction on their own.
Media has weaponized labels like "disinformation," "misinformation," and "conspiracy theory" for political purposes, even as these terms have questionable legal grounding and ultimately reduce to fancy, official-sounding ways to delegitimize an opinion or belief.
Elon's Twitter acquisition promises to clear the informational playing field of censorship and allow people to decide what's true for themselves.
This goal of creating genuine public debate has made him some powerful enemies.
Over the past week, some of those enemies made big moves against Elon, as the bot war spilled over into the political sphere.
Not content to remain a target, he hit back.
Here's what went down.
It's no secret that Elon has been critical of Twitter's leftward bias.
No sooner was his Twitter acquisition announced than critics labeled it a far-right takeover.
In a May 16th interview at the All-In Summit, he shared his perspective that his acquisition represented a "moderate takeover" that would anger the far left and far right equally.
After the Summit, he revealed more details about his political evolution, saying that he'd voted for the left throughout his life, including Obama and Hillary, but now viewed the Democrats as "the party of division & hate" and planned to vote Republican.
Interestingly, he predicted a strong backlash from the establishment in response to his move toward the center.
He didn't have to wait long.
Two days after the All-In Summit, the S&P removed Tesla from its ESG index for companies working to improve sustainability, citing Tesla's "lack of low-carbon strategy."
Tesla is widely credited with starting the electric vehicle revolution. The S&P allowed Exxon and other oil companies to remain in the index.
Later that same day, Business Insider published a hit piece accusing Elon of sexual misconduct with a SpaceX contract employee six years ago.
The piece was based on a second-hand account from an anonymous source, who claimed that Elon asked the employee (whose regular duties included giving massages) to "do more" in exchange for a horse.
Business Insider claimed to have documents corroborating its story, but did not include them in the piece.
Elon responded to the article by denying the accusations and calling on the source for the piece (not the alleged victim) to provide proof.
Everyone has to decide for themselves how credible they find the allegation.
Some context is relevant.
When the Insider piece dropped, investor Ross Gerber called Blodget a "criminal" and asked "how is he allowed to run a 'media' organization?"
Last year, BI ran a similar sexual misconduct hit piece on Dave Portnoy that appeared to have been coordinated with large short positions against Portnoy's company.
In response to the Elon piece, Portnoy faulted BI for "setting back actual victims," said BI should provide evidence to back up the article, and called BI a "tabloid like the National Enquirer."
Whatever the outcome, the timing of the accusation is curious, and is likely to increase the perception that it is politically motivated.
Hopefully, more evidence is made public soon to bring clarity.
While the media sought to cancel Elon, he went on offense against the establishment.
Over the past few weeks, he's called out Bill Gates, the Biden family, George Soros, and Maxwell/Epstein for corrupt-seeming behavior.
On Friday, he went after the Clintons, asking Twitter's leadership to review a 2016 HRC tweet asserting collusion between Trump and Alfa Bank under Twitter's disinformation policy.
Beneath the HRC tweet, he tweeted a link to a BBC article about Clinton lawyer Michael Sussman, who is currently on trial for fabricating the link between the Trump campaign and Russia's Alfa Bank to the FBI.
When a user pointed out that Twitter has been suppressing tweets about the trial for months, Elon responded, "I only heard about it last month and was blown away."
He also expressed dismay that donations he made to the Clinton campaign were used for "lying."
Next, he drew a connection between the Clinton campaign and SEC chairman Gary Gensler, who previously served as Hillary's CFO.
"Goldman Gary" has attracted scrutiny from retail investors over the last year for failing to investigate market manipulation by hedge funds and holding up a spot Bitcoin ETF.
In response to a user who noted Elon's newfound aggression, he said, "I am indeed out for blood."
Finally, he announced that Tesla is building a "hardcore litigation department" to "initiate and execute lawsuits."
In a follow-up tweet, he said he was looking for "streetfighters" and promised, "There will be blood."
Elon and Tesla have been targets of the establishment for years, but last week represents a significant escalation of hostilities.
Elon didn't start this fight, but he seems committed to finishing it.
What does this mean for Doge?
The Doge Party
Without a doubt, the recent political fireworks are distressing for some of Elon's supporters, especially those in the DogeArmy that lean to the left.
The DogeArmy is inclusive tribe that encourages free thought and open dialogue, and is bound by a shared love of dogs, memes, and financial freedom.
There's no expectation to support Elon in his every opinion or action.
At the same time, political attacks on Elon form the backdrop for Dogecoin's future.
Just as his Twitter acquisition threatens the left's control of media and Tesla threatens the fossil fuel industry, Dogecoin could put an end to legacy banking and government control of money.
As the fight between Elon and the establishment inevitably gets messier, it's important to remember that he isn't attacking individual voters, but rather the political party which has sought to demonize him, sometimes as a fundraising tactic.
In a bizarre turn, Elon has become the latest iteration of "The Current Thing," a media-generated meme to keep the population squabbling with each other rather than demanding real change from its leaders.
Elon has proven a master of memes—a Meme Lord—and might very well turn the situation on its head.
Doge could play an important role on this battle, especially if it is used as a tool to distinguish bots from real humans on Twitter.
If last week was any indication, the coming months will reveal much about the inner workings of party politics, media, and the financial system.
Whether you identify as left, right, middle, or are simply an amused observer, it's worth watching this showdown with a sharp eye and an open mind.
Dogey Treats: News Bites
PayPal founder and investor David Sacks told the Best Business Show the country is being red pilled.
El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele tweeted support for Elon, writing, "Once you denounce the system, they will come after you with everything they have." El Salvador has been hosting a meeting with representatives from 44 countries to discuss its implementation of Bitcoin as legal tender.
Elon visited with Brazil's President to plan both to provide Starlink Internet to 19,000 rural schools and use it to monitor the ecological health of the Amazon. Brazil awarded Elon with the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit, recognizing exceptional contributions to the country.
A Miami church is accepting Doge.
Elon said he was spending less than 5% of his time on the Twitter acquisition
Robinhood exceeded half a million signups for its forthcoming web3 wallet in two days. Robinhood's Twitter account celebrated by tweeting "much lists, very wow." Former RH COO Christine Brown pointed out a Doge paw in the wallet video announcement.
Spacetv.net is reporting that the Doge-1 Moon Mission will launch on June 28 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The date has not been independently confirmed.
SpaceX launched another batch of 53 Starlink satellites.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the Chinese Communist Party has been blocking promotions for members who hold overseas assets, contributing to the US market sell-off.
The Head of the government's Disinformation board, Nina Jankowicz, resigned from the Department of Homeland Security. The DHS has put the board on "pause" less than a month after it was formed.
At its first Investor Day since 2017, Jack Dorsey's Block shared plans for making Bitcoin into "a tool for economic empowerment."
Chad Hurley, co-founder of YouTube, tweeted at Elon to "Stop horsing around and close this Twitter deal." Elon responded, "Fine, if you touch my wiener, you can have a horse."
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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. 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.
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