Earlier today, NBC News reported that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is slated to kick off his 2024 presidential campaign in a Twitter Spaces event with Musk. Twitter, quite literally, is a launch pad for right-wing political leaders. Also today, The Daily Wire, the conservative-media juggernaut that is home to Ben Shapiro as well as the political commentators Matt Walsh and Michael Knowles, who are known for arguing against trans rights, announced it would bring its entire slate of podcasts to Twitter starting next week. And earlier this month, the former Fox News host Tucker Carlson announced that he would take his prime-time-show format—a dog-whistling broadcast style known for its fearmongering and bigotry——to Musk’s platform.
Both Carlson and certain Daily Wire hosts have been deplatformed elsewhere—Carlson, of course, only recently lost his sinecure on cable, and Walsh had his popular YouTube channel demonetized over his transphobic commentary. And although they reportedly haven’t brokered official deals with the platform, Carlson and The Daily Wire will likely make use of Twitter’s new subscription features and ad-revenue sharing to monetize their audiences.
This should feel familiar. Twitter is essentially following the playbook of platforms like Rumble, which used to be the go-tos for canceled and deplatformed right-wingers seeking a soft landing and the promise of revenue. Like Rumble, which pivoted from a struggling YouTube alternative into a full-fledged far-right platform in the late 2010s, Twitter appears to be dipping into the well of popular right-wing shock jocks as a way to revive the financially adrift website.
Twitter’s blue check is a digital maga hat.