by WorldTribune Staff, April 19, 2023
Elon Musk said he was shocked at the level of penetration that U.S. government agencies had with Twitter prior to his buying the social media platform.
“The degree to which government agencies effectively had full access to everything that was going on on Twitter blew my mind, I was not aware of that,” Musk told Fox News host Tucker Carlson in an interview that aired Monday night.
“Would that include people’s DMs (direct messages)?” asked Carlson.
“Yes,” responded Musk. "Because the DM's aren't encrypted."
It had been suspected for some time that individual employees at Twitter had full access to users' private messages, but for the feds to have enjoyed the same access was seen as stunning.
Musk said he is moving to create a feature, which he hopes to unveil later this month, that would give users on the platform the option to encrypt direct messages with the hopes of limiting government interference.
If the encryption option is selected, "no one at Twitter can see what you're talking about," Musk said. "You could put a gun to my head and I couldn't tell you. That's how it should be."
Musk explained that he made it a personal mission to expose the extent to which Twitter and the federal government went to moderate content, particularly with his release of "The Twitter Files," which granted independent journalists access to Twitter's archives for a series of reports, including what led to former President Trump's suspension and the government's role in Twitter's censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story.
One of those journalists, Matt Taibbi, referred to the cozy relationship between the social media network, NGOs and the U.S. government as the “censorship-industrial complex.”
According to Taibbi, the system worked as “a bureaucracy willing to sacrifice factual truth in service of broader narrative objectives,” acting as an insult to the principles of a free press.
Musk also addressed his concerns with artificial intelligence (AI) and his plans to establish an alternative to ChatGPT, an AI app developed by progressive programmers that he helped initially fund, but now fears can lead to "civilizational destruction" if mismanaged.
Musk had earlier appeared to suggest that he would sue OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT.
Responding to a post from podcast host Benny Johnson that asked whether he would "sue Open AI for defrauding" him, Musk responded: "Wait for it …"
"AI is more dangerous than, say, mismanaged aircraft design or production maintenance or bad car production," Musk said. "In the sense that it has the potential — however small one may regard that probability, but it is non-trivial — it has the potential of civilization destruction."
Musk also told Carlson:
• The head of Google called him a "specist".
• OpenAI was to be open source. Now it is closed and for profit. He is working on a third option.
• On the transformation of digital media with all-important incentive of getting clicks: "They just have to get a rise out of people at expense of truth in news."
• On downsizing Twitter by 80 percent: "You don't need 80 percent [of former staff] to run a glorified activist organization."
Former President Donald Trump used a Truth Social post to add context for interpreting Musk's comments in the interview: "I don’t believe Elon Musk voted for Biden, not for a minute! He told me that he voted for me, but who knows about that, and who cares? Elon is just trying to make friends with the absolutely horrible Biden Administration because of all the government subsidies he gets, and all the permits he needs. His space company, car company, battery company, tunnel company, and even Twitter, which was illegally controlled by the FBI, need government HELP & SUBSIDIES. HE IS JUST “MENDING FENCES!”
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