The Conservative Treehouse was incredibly prescient about Twitter
The latest Twitter file drop makes it even more explicit than before: the American government was Twitter’s secret partner. That’s why Joe Biden felt comfortable ordering an ostensibly private corporation to silence critics. Readers of The Conservative Treehouse are surprised because the site predicted this partnership months ago. While his details may be off, his instincts were spot-on.
Before the 10th drop, we learned that the FBI and CIA were constantly demanding information from Twitter and instructing it about which accounts it needed to drop. The 10th drop shows that this went all the way up to the White House.
The government-Twitter relationship is important because Twitter wasn’t just any company. Social media sites usurped the old means by which people communicated, becoming the new public forum. They promised their sites were modern bulletin boards on which users could freely post social and political information, provided the content was inherently legal. This bulletin-board status matters because, by claiming they were curators, not editors, Section 230 protected them from libel actions based on the content their users posted on the sites.
But of course, neither Twitter nor Facebook was a neutral bulletin board policing only for clearly illegal content such as child porn (rife on Twitter until Musk took over) or threats to kill someone (also rife on Twitter if directed at Libs of TikTok). Instead, both sites engaged in heavy-handed policing, silencing anything or anybody that ran afoul of Democrat policies or beliefs regarding COVID, transgenderism, Ukraine, Trump, Hunter Biden, etc.
Before Musk took over, conservatives were able to infer this from the manifest conduct in which sites such as Twitter and Facebook engaged—and it mattered a great deal because this censorship affected election outcomes and public policy. When they complained, they were told that, notwithstanding the Section 230 protections from which they benefitted, the social media companies were private companies, so they could do anything they wanted.
Image by Andrea Widburg
It’s only been since Musk started releasing Twitter’s internal records that conservatives finally have smoking guns showing ideological, partisan censorship. More importantly, the Twitter files show that the company was the federal government’s lackey. The government was using Twitter, ostensibly a private entity, as a conduit for engaging in the government censorship banned under the First Amendment.
What’s fascinating is that Sundance long ago figured out that Twitter had to be a secret public-private partnership with the government. He explained this in April when Musk made his first offer to buy the site:
In the big picture of tech platforms, Twitter, as an operating model, is a massive high-user commenting system.
Twitter is not a platform built around a website; Twitter is a platform for comments and discussion that operates in the sphere of social media. As a consequence, the technology and data processing required to operate the platform does not have an economy of scale.
There is no business model where Twitter is financially viable to operate…. UNLESS the tech architecture under the platform was subsidized.
In my opinion, there is only one technological system and entity that could possibly underwrite the cost of Twitter to operate. That entity is the United States Government, and here’s why.
At this point in the essay, Sundance carefully explains that Twitter’s unique format— “no content other than commentary, discussion and the sharing of information”—means there’s no way it can make money. Fundamentally, user engagement is extremely expensive, burning resources without generating wealth. He continues:
With 217 million users, you could expect 50 million simultaneous users on Twitter during peak operating times. My back of the envelope calculations, which are really just estimations based on known industry costs for data performance and functions per second, would put the data cost to operate Twitter around at least $1 billion per month (minimum). In 2021, Twitter generated $5.1 billion in revenue, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The only way Twitter, with 217 million users, could exist as a viable platform is if they had access to tech systems of incredible scale and performance, and those systems were essentially free or very cheap. The only entity that could possibly provide that level of capacity and scale is the United States Government – combined with a bottomless bank account.
If my hunch is correct, Elon Musk is poised to expose the well-kept secret that most social media platforms are operating on U.S. government tech infrastructure and indirect subsidy. Let that sink in.
Sundance may be off about the details (if he’s right, Musk will lose every penny of his investment because, without the government, Twitter cannot make a profit) but his instincts about that partnership were right on the money. And if Sundance is right about the details, every person in government who was involved needs to be fired or impeached—and their pensions blocked.