Ron DeSantis was supposed to take to his Twitter Spaces today to officially announce his bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Unfortunately, for the Florida governor, Twitter apparently wasn’t ready for the influx of people who were waiting to hear the announcement. Shortly after the space launch, the broadcast went off and DeSantis had to wait before saying he was running to be President of the United States of America.
“We’ve got a lot of people here, and I think we’re kind of melting servers, and that’s a good sign,” GOP confidant David Sachs said during a moment when the spacecraft came back up briefly before falling back down again. The announcement eventually took off after Twitter moved the Space account to Sacks because Musk’s account was “breaking the system.” Sachs said Space, with more than 500,000 people tuned in to listen at one point, was the largest group “ever met online,” The claim he was quickly derided.
“When Elon Musk went up to buy Twitter, he paid a lot of money for it. And I’m sure he’s a good businessman — Elon, I’m sure you’re going to make money on that eventually — but the bottom line is you,” DeSantis said of Musk’s purchase of Twitter after he Space has finally begun.
Musk’s decision to personally give DeSantis a platform should prompt any questions about his policy. Since taking over the platform last October, the billionaire has repeatedly engaged with and empowered fringe far-right voices. At the beginning of December, Twitter reinstated the account of Andrew Anglin, founder of the website The Daily Stormer. Before that, Musk raised conspiracy theories about the attack on Paul Pelosi. Recently, he publicly attacked Anthony Fauci and George Soros. By helping DeSantis announce his presidential candidacy, Musk is aligning himself with a politician who has signed legislation restricting access to abortion and banning transitional care for minors.
Prior to today, Twitter, under his previous leadership, had never dealt directly with a presidential candidate. At most, the political outreach experienced by users of the platform included a polling hub directing people to information on how to vote and live broadcasts dedicated to debates between presidential candidates. The company now plans to give former Fox News analyst Tucker Carlson a platform.
During Donald Trump’s years as president, the public became accustomed to seeing an American leader using Twitter as a personal megaphone. The former president was banned from the site in 2021 following the riot at the US Capitol on January 6. Last November, Musk appeared to make the decision to reinstate Trump’s account based on the results of a Twitter poll. The company reinstated Trump’s account on November 19, 2022, but even with some attempts at public persuasion from Musk, the former president has not tweeted since before he was banned.
The fact that Twitter experienced technical difficulties should come as no surprise. Under Musk’s leadership, the company has cut the majority of the workforce it had under former CEO Parag Agrawal, including much of the team responsible for its critical infrastructure.
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