My open letter to Elon Musk

By Jon Sutz

December 2, 2022

Summary:

(1) The crusade being waged against your management of Twitter by certain “civil rights” and “social justice” organizations, celebrities and political figures, is almost entirely based on falsehoods, innuendo and jaw-dropping hypocrisy.

(2) The evidence exists to comprehensively refute these critics, and expose them and most of their allegations for what they are. But unless the best of this evidence is transformed, soon, into concise, attention-grabbing means by which to begin informing everyday Americans — and advertisers — of the reality, Twitter will be irreparably harmed.

(3) This letter presents a step-by-step approach for you to quickly begin pursuing this mission, and simultaneously: (a) Educate the general public and major advertisers on the outrageous policies that Twitter employed before you bought it; (b) Efficiently demolish the credibility of your dishonest critics; (c) Rally widespread support for rational new rules and policies; and (d) Train moderators.

(4) I pay special attention to dismantling the credibility of one of the leaders of the crusade against you, the Anti-Defamation League, herein and on this resource page: The ADL hypocritically smears Elon Musk for facilitating anti-Semitism


Dear Elon:

As I write these words, I witness you being savaged by a campaign of numerous “civil rights” and “social justice” groups, regarding their speculation of what Twitter might be turned into, under your ownership. Even President Biden and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights have joined this crusade, unified in their “concerns” that you might force Twitter to allow hate and incitement to flourish.

To Americans who get their news from mainstream sources, these critics’ “concerns” sound reasonable, and justified.

Several of your critics’ claims seem to have merit (but are based on falsehoods). Most of their “concerns,” however, represent provable hypocrisy and worse. More on that in a moment.

These stated objective of these critics’ crusade against you has been to get advertisers to boycott Twitter. As you said recently, they are having a significant effect.

Those who know the reality of what Twitter was before you bought it, however, find these critics’ “concerns” to be laughable, if they weren’t so obscenely Orwellian. This is because we know that the same groups and individuals behind this crusade against you were almost uniformly silent about the fact that Twitter’s previous management chose to enable and indirectly profit from some of the most egregious violators imaginable of its rules and policies against hate, incitement and terrorism (but only if the perpetrators were of certain extremist political orientations).

So how could those behind this crusade be so successful at causing (a) a significant, growing number of Twitter advertisers to flee, since you bought it, and (b) great trepidation among those corporations that might have considered purchasing ad campaigns?

The answer is:

(1) Because the general public is almost entirely unaware of the reality of how Twitter operated, and what its management perpetrated, before you bought it

(2) So long is this disparity of knowledge exists, those behind the crusade against you will (a) enjoy the perceived moral high ground, and (b) have the power to persuade more and more corporations to shun Twitter

Who am I to offer such an assessment?

I am a multimedia designer, writer, director and creative consultant, with deep experience in developing analytical visualizations to help explain complicated and controversial subject matter. On occasion, I am retained to use this skill to help law firms prevail in complex and high-value litigation. Whenever possible, I also help advance the causes I care about — many of which are closely aligned with yours, particularly regarding freedom, reason, achievement, and honest journalism.

The purpose of this letter is to submit for your consideration the following, which I think you may find of high, timely value, as you rebuild Twitter, and prepare responses to those behind this crusade against you:

(1) A deep-dive into some of the evidence I’ve compiled that demonstrates Twitter’s previous management enabled the most egregious violators of its stated rules and policies, particularly regarding hate and incitement. They include a rogue’s gallery of users including hard-left celebrity extremists and violent domestic anarchist groups — and even the terrorist group that harbored and protected Al Qaeda before and after it perpetrated the 9/11 attacks:

(2) My new mini-documentary, that I designed from the ground up to provide the general public with a “crash course” in the evidence to support (a) — in only 12 minutes. Specifically, my film demonstrates the following facts:

(a) In March 2022, Twitter shut down, without reason, a promotion it sold a 501(c)3 nonprofit that I persuaded to sponsor a fundraiser I created, to help rescue US allies that were abandoned in Afghanistan, from the Taliban.

(b) Twitter did this at the same time it was — and continues to be — enabling the top leaders of the Taliban.

As unbelievable as this may sound, Elon, my documentary also presents four more contrasting case studies, to prove this outrage was not an anomaly.  Rather, it was part of Twitter’s continuing pattern of choosing to enable the worst-of-the-worst violators of its rules and policies — while at the same time, punishing other users for insanely stupid, or illegitimate reasons.

Also, the icing on the cake was that Twitter placed a “sensitive content” warning atop my film — while allowing the veritable monsters I profile in it to face no such punitive actions.

Here it is. Read the press release here.

(3) My suggestion for a three-step process for you to use the evidence that I (and other serious researchers) have compiled, to efficiently advance your objectives re Twitter. Specifically, this process will enable you and the new Twitter leadership team you are now building, to:

(a) Rebuild Twitter atop a foundation of rational rules and policies, that are consistently and evenly enforced, regardless of the user’s political or ideological orientation, or celebrity status

(b) Create an innovative means by which to train (and retrain) employees, using real-world case studies of what Twitter’s previous management allowed.

(c) To publicize (a) and (b) in an attention-grabbing, grimly humorous way, that will help to begin quickly, permanently changing public perceptions of what Twitter actually was, versus what it could be, under rational leadership. Successfully done, this will dramatically shift the entire moral center of this controversy, to one that is evidence-based and contextual.

Further, the above process will enable you to prove that:

  • The groups and individuals now expressing such “concern” about your ownership of Twitter, as well as the corporations that have pulled their advertising since you acquired it, were almost invariably silent about its previous management enabling the most egregious violators of its policies, up to and including terrorist organizations.
  • In a grimly ironic twist, those corporations, which profess to now be so concerned about their brand images, actually enabled the most egregious hate to flourish on Twitter, through their ad buys.

Knowing of and respecting your benevolent nature, Elon, I realize you may feel averse to addressing those groups and corporations in such a confrontational way.  However, I believe there is great utility in doing so, even in a benevolent way (such as by giving them the benefit of the doubt, that they really did not know what Twitter was doing), by saying to them, publicly:

“Based on what you know now, will you help me to make Twitter into a more rational, better-managed, brand-safe platform?”

And atop this foundation, I think a persuasive case could be made to the American people, en masse:

“Whatever else we may disagree about, can we at least agree that Twitter’s previous practices were shameful, and must stop right now?”

Elon, if you value the contents of this letter, I hope you will make a generous, tax-deductible donation to the Afghan Ally Rescue Campaign (info here), to help offset how Twitter kneecapped our efforts to get the families of two abandoned US allies to safety. We need a minimum of $100,000 for this immediate need — and much more to (a) help rescue other families, and (b) sustain them as they await amnesty application processing.  To make a tax-deductible donation, see section 5 here.

Respectfully,

Jon Sutz


The three-step process I recommend for rebuilding Twitter — and demolishing your critics’ credibility

These three steps, followed in sequence, will set Twitter on a course that will fulfill your vision — for a platform that welcomes free speech, dissent, and is a brand-safe environment, that enforces rational rules on a nonpartisan, consistent basis:

Step 1: Define and publicly articulate the core principles upon which Twitter will operate, and and moderate user content

Step 2: Create training simulations for Twitter employees, that employ Sharyl Attkison’s “Substitution Game” model as a guiding principle — using real-life examples of user content that Twitter’s previous management allowed, vs that which it shut down

Step 3: Package Steps 1 and 2 into an ongoing public relations campaign, entitled “You Be The Moderator!,” that will reveal the fraudulent nature of your critics’ “concerns,” and creates widespread public support for your reforms


Step 1: Define and publicly articulate the core principles upon which Twitter will operate, and and moderate user content

Elon, I’ve seen you publicly denounce some of Twitter’s insane user moderation decisions, and denounce what you describe as “the woke mind virus.” I’m aware you’re in the process of creating a content moderation council, which will address certain hot-button issues — such as if any users who were banned by Twitter’s previous management should be reinstated, and under what circumstances.

Beyond specific incidents, though, I think there is a huge opportunity here, as soon as it’s practicable, to zoom way out of the whole situation, and set a new, explicit moral foundation for Twitter rules and policies.

Here’s where I suggest beginning:

Civilized society requires that reasonable guard rails be established against legitimate, prohibited behavior.

Twitter is not however, a city, a town or a nation; it is now “Elon’s House.” What kind of behavior do you allow in your own physical home, Elon? And what do you prohibit? This is a good starting point for defining how Twitter will operate.

As you’ve said, Twitter must be a safe place for guests and advertisers — while at the same time, fostering and hosting robust, civil discussions about contentious issues. I assume we agree that this includes rejecting the notion that any issue, person, group, nation or ideology is beyond scrutiny, or evidence-based criticism. Or, as Thomas Jefferson said, regarding his founding of the University of Virginia — the first in the world not created to serve a religion:

“This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. for here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”

As an admirer of Jefferson’s, I cheered when I saw you say that Twitter could be “a “collective, cybernetic super-intelligence.”

As American citizens, we have the moral and legal right to challenge or voice our dissent against any supposed “authority” — and Twitter should be a place where that is not just allowed, it is welcomed, so long as it does not cross any reasonable red lines.  This stands in sharp contrast to the criminal punishments that are being inflicted on people who post items on social media that the government doesn’t like, in totalitarian regimes such as China — but now, also in the UK, Australia and even America.

Yet today, we are surrendering the principle that free speech is a virtue, as we and our children have been told that anything that makes us feel uncomfortable, or challenges what we believe to be true, causes the “victims” to suffer actual harm.  According to a recent decision by the US Supreme Court, even displaying the American flag, at a taxpayer-funded American school, can be legally prohibited. on this basis. Further, we’re told that anyone who expresses themselves in unpopular ways must be morally denounced, and officially prohibited — both by government, and by private enterprises.

Such a tyrannical notion could never take root in America, if we ensured that our children are taught the virtue of free speech, and of the revolutionary nature of the US Constitution, in codifying it into law.  Unfortunately, for several generations we’ve allowed our schools to whitewash the US Constitution out of existence — and instead, to groom our children to believe tyranny is preferable to freedom.

You may find this hard to believe, Elon.  But consider some of the research I’ve compiled through the years:

  • 40% of American adults cannot identify a single right protected by the First Amendment. 21% said it contains the “right to own a pet”; 17% said it contains the “right to drive a car.” Only 50 percent of college students can correctly answer one or more questions about the First Amendment; 48% believe it does not protect “hate speech.” (Sources in 1.6 here)
  • Elected officials at all levels in the U.S. are even less literate regarding U.S. history and civics than the general population.
  • 83% of U.S. college graduates, and 68% of elected officials, cannot identify the functional differences between the free market and a command (totalitarian) economy.
  • 19% of American college students overall (including 22% of Republican students) believe it is “acceptable” to initiate violence to prevent a invited guest from speaking on campus, if his/her critics claim s/he makes “offensive and hurtful statements.”
  • 80% of seniors at America’s most elite colleges and universities cannot pass a high school history test, yet all will be able to graduate without taking a single history class of any kind.
  • 82% of American adults cannot identify two rights stated in the Declaration of Independence.
  • 39% of American college students overall (including 44% of Republican students) believe the U.S. Constitution does not protect “hate speech.”
  • 39% of high school students disagree with the statement, “Newspapers should be allowed to freely publish without government approval of stories.”

See more related data in my report: “America At The Precipice.”

On November 28, you Tweeted, “On November 28, 2022 you asked, “Why are so many in the media against free speech? This is messed up.”

I agree.

Elon, you are standing at a precipice: You can merely tweak Twitter’s existing rules and policies, and ensure they are enforced consistently, and without regard to politics. And that would be a really good thing.

Or, you could help spark a public, philosophical revolution regarding speech itself, that:

  • Champions the moral virtues of freedom of thought, expression, etc.
  • Begins shining the radiant sunlight of liberty into the minds of those who’ve been taught to close themselves off from anything and anyone that challenges them, or the established order — and believe that government, and social media platforms, should use brute force to implement this policy

If Twitter’s new rules and policies are explicitly based on the above, with clear, reasonable guard rails established and enforced against the kind of egregious violations that actually endanger people — which its previous management allowed (see Section 2) — you will have done Twitter, America, and the civilized world a great service.

Lastly, you should then robustly publicize these principles, especially to prospective advertisers, and invite any serious opponent to debate you or your team (described in Section 3).


Step 2: Create training simulations for Twitter employees, that employ Sharyl Attkison’s “Substitution Game” model as a guiding principle — using real-life examples of user content that Twitter’s previous management allowed, vs that which it shut down

Elon, if you’re not familiar with investigative journalist Sharyl Attkison’s “Substitution Game,” see here. As she describes it:

“It involves comparing how the press treats similar events or people depending on how the reporter or news organization feels about the issue or the newsmaker.”

I think you should create a modified version of the “Substitution Game,” that presents the general public with:

(a) Examples of real-world moderation situations that faced the highest levels of Twitter’s previous management, involving shocking examples of hate, incitement and threats, but…

(b) …scenarios that reverse the identities of the perpetrators, and their targets

(c) The question: “If you were the moderator in the situation in (b), what would you decide?”

(d) The reveal: In each of the actual situations that Twitter’s previous management faced, it made the exact opposite decisions — showcasing, with irrefutable proof, that those decisions were based on hyper-partisan political bias, not on rational principles

Here are three simulations that could be produced soon

Every current and prospective Twitter moderator and user policy employee should have to pass these simulations (and others, to be developed), as a condition of being hired/maintaining their job.

Properly developed and implemented, these simulations will also enable you to “weaponize” them to fight back against the crusade that certain activist groups are waging against you, as described in Step 3.

The first three simulations:

(1) Threatening or inciting violence against the President and First Family

(2) Threatening or inciting hate or violence against people, and nations, based on ethnicity/religion

(3) Doxxing of, threats and inciting violence against law enforcement officers


(1) Threatening or inciting violence against the President and First Family

The opening narrative of this simulation:

“Imagine we are back in 2009-2017. What should Twitter do in the following situations?”

(a) If a right-wing celebrity posts a picture of them holding up an item that unmistakably depicts the bloodied, severed head of President Obama? And Tweets a suggestion for how someone on the White House medical staff could assassinate Obama?  Then Tweets a vulgar attack against another user, for daring to criticizing her?

(b) If a right-wing celebrity posts a video in which they point a handgun at an actor who’s made up to look just like President Obama, and shoot him in the head?

(c) If a right-wing celebrity posts a Tweet that threatens to stalk and harass President Obama’s daughters, Sasha and Malia, at their school?

(d) If a right-wing celebrity posted a Tweet that calls for Sasha and Malia Obama be “ripped from their mother’s arms and put in a cage with pedophiles”?

According to its rules, Twitter should have quickly:

  • Shut down each of those users’ accounts
  • Permanently banned them
  • Sent the evidence to the Secret Service (considering that such threats against USSS protectees, and urging others to perpetrate violence against them, is a felony, per 18 U.S.C. 871 and 18 U.S.C. § 373)

Instead, in every one of these cases, Twitter’s previous management allowed the left-wing extremist celebrities who did these things, against a different president, to remain active users.  In order:

(a) Kathy Griffin (Bonus: Twitter allowed her to post the picture of her holding up the president’s severed, bloody head, again  — and yet she remains an active user, today)

(b) Snoop Dogg

(c) Tom Arnold

(d) Peter Fonda

In doing these things, Twitter’s previous management normalized and legitimized the use of its platform to incite and threaten violence against presidents, and their children — so long as they are not of the political party to which Twitter employees direct 98.7% of their donations.


(2) Threatening or inciting hate or violence against people, and nations, based on ethnicity/religion

The opening narration of the simulation:

“What should Twitter do in these situations?”

(a) If a right-wing, anti-Muslim extremist group posts a Tweet that cheers, and links to a detailed, interactive map of the locations of Muslim activists and civil rights organizations in a major US city? And if America’s leading Muslim civil rights group declares it “a Muslim hit list” — because it provides these extremists with the exact locations of Muslims whom it alleges oppress white people?

(b) If the unelected right-wing ruler of a pariah nation repeatedly posts Tweets containing dehumanizing smears against Muslims in general — and calls to exterminate 7 million of those who live in Mecca and Medina, their ancestral homeland? And after a leader of America’s leading Muslim civil rights group publicly describes him, and the nation he rules, as the number one state sponsor of anti-Muslim hatred & terrorism?

(c) If a violent right-wing extremist group, designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the US government in 1997, repeatedly posts Tweets containing incendiary lies against Muslims, and celebrations of violent attacks on them?

(d) If a student at a US university posts a Tweet that explicitly claims, “I want to kill every motherf*cking Muslim”?

(e) If an influential right-wing preacher posted a Tweet that claimed, in response to criticism that he incites hate and violence against Muslims and others, “I’m not anti-Muslim, I’m anti-rat,” explicitly comparing followers of Islam to rodents.

According to its rules, Twitter should have quickly, permanently shut down each of those users’ accounts.

Instead, in all but one of these cases, Twitter’s previous management allowed the users behind these posts — all directed at Jews and Israel — to remain active to this day. In order:

(a) BDS-Boston and The Mapping Project (Twitter allowed BDS-B’s Tweet of “The Mapping Project” to remain up since it was posted on June 3, to this day — five months later)

(b) Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamanei

(c) Hamas (The lone exception, but only in part: After years of having free reign on Twitter, when Hamas’s account was finally shut down, it quickly switched to a backup account, on which Twitter’s management allowed it to continue posting away.)

(d) Yasmeen Mashayekh

(e) Louis Farrakhan See a detailed briefer on the racist, anti-LGBT and anti-Semitic hatred that Farrakhan incites, here.


(3) Doxxing of, threats and inciting violence against law enforcement officers

The opening narration of the simulation:

“What should Twitter do in these situations?”

(a) If a right-wing extremist group posts a Tweet calling for the murder of federal law enforcement officers, which includes a graphic that contains explicit directions for how to do so in a particularly grisly fashion? One excerpt:

“Grab the [officer] from behind and push your knife into his chest with an upward thrust, breaking through his sternum.”

(b) If a right-wing extremist posts a Tweet calling for the female director of a federal law enforcement agency to be tied up naked and whipped in a public square? And posts another Tweet urging other right-wing extremists to identify DHS officers’ children, and “terrify them” at their schools?

(c) If a notorious network of violent right-wing extremist groups — and one in particular — posted and shared a large series of Tweets, each containing a graphic that features:

(1) The name and home address of a federal law enforcement officer in one city, with pictures of them and their house

(2) The names of their spouses and children

(3) Explicit incitement to physically force them to leave the state

(d) If it’s discovered that the right-wing extremist who doxxed all those federal law enforcement officers, and provided the data to those groups, is a technology professor at a major US university?

Instead, in every one of these cases, Twitter’s previous management allowed the left-wing extremists who did these things (but to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ICE officers) to remain active users.  In order:

(a) Occupy Wall Street – NYC (Note: The incident above, targeting ICE agents, occurred in June 2018, and caused widespread condemnation on conservative media — yet today, more than four years later, OWS-NYC’s Twitter account is still active.

(b) Peter Fonda (Note: This incidents occurred in June 2018, but Fonda was allowed to continue using Twitter for at least another year and a half, until November 2019; that is the date of the last Tweet he posted. In contrast, this is what a suspended account page looks like.)

(c) ANTIFA; specifically the Pacific Northwest Antifascist Workers Collective which is still an active Twitter user as of November 2022. Details here. It should be noted that soon after these materials were posted on Twitter, those affiliated with these groups repeatedly attacked a federal courthouse, where those law enforcement officers’ cases are processed, with incendiary and explosive devices., to the point where the UK Sun described Portland, OR as looking like “downtown Baghdad,” during the Iraq war. These leftist extremists also repeatedly attacked the police officers who protected that courthouse.

(d) Prof. Sam Levigne (See his website here; his Twitter account was still active on November 9, 2022 — more than four years after he gave ICE officers’ personal data to the ANTIFA network, particularly in Portland, OR.)


Elon, I believe the overwhelming majority of Americans — including America’s youth — would agree that on principle, Twitter should have: (a) immediately shut down every one of the above users’ accounts, and (b) vigilantly worked to keep them off the platform.

I further believe they would also agree that Twitter should never allow people or organizations, of any political persuasion, to use it to dox and organize harassment campaigns against public figures and their families, at their homes. Recent examples here, here and here. (Just imagine what Twitter’s previous management would have done if that violent anarchy and intimidation was perpetrated by right-wing extremists, and occurred at the homes of (a) Rachel Maddow or Stephen Colbert, or (b) AOC, Ilhan Omar or Rashida Tlaib, or (c) Justices Kagen, Sotomayor or Jackson — and if Twitter’s management explicitly stated such Tweets do not violate its policies.)

Similarly, I think they would condemn the decisions by Twitter’s previous management, to enable (profit from) explicit pornography — while not taking effective measures to ensure minors cannot access that material. All of which caused an advertiser revolt, in mid-2022.  And yet, where were all the “civil rights” and “social justice” groups that are now on a crusade against you — allegedly out of “concern” for what you might turn Twitter into?  They were silent.

All the above sets the stage for Step 3, which describes how you can creatively leverage all this evidence, beyond training/retraining Twitter moderators — to directly, powerfully, publicly respond to the activist groups that are causing you to suffer economic damages, based on such deranged lies and innuendo.


Step 3: Package Steps 1 and 2 into an ongoing public relations campaign, entitled “You Be The Moderator!,” that will reveal the fraudulent nature of your critics’ “concerns,” and creates widespread public support for your reforms

Your critics’ primary source of power to libel you, and bully advertisers into fleeing Twitter, is the fact that the general public, and I presume many/most advertisers, are almost entirely unaware of the evidence presented in Step 2.  I further believe both are also unaware of the insanely idiotic punitive actions that Twitter’s previous management took against other users — at the same time it was enabling egregious violators of its rules (and even the law) to run wild:

  • It prohibited Tweets that suggest to laid-off journalists that they “learn to code”
  • It prohibited Tweets that “misgender” anyone
  • It prohibited Tweets that use the phrase, “OK groomer”

But imagine what could happen, Elon, if:

The general public were exposed to a continuing series of short-form, masterfully-produced “journeys” into the simulations in Step 2, and related information about these most egregious violators of Twitter’s rules and policies, and given the power to make decisions regarding them

These “journeys” are so compelling that they go viral, to the point where they cause our many Americans to begin rethinking

  • The legitimacy of the accusations being made against you
  • The credibility of the groups and influencers who making these accusations

The name I propose for this series of “journeys” is:

“You Be The Moderator!”

The campaign would take the form of 1-2 minute social media videos, in which the viewer:

  • Is provided with a briefer on the user’s activities and related information about them
  • Is asked to decide, via two options: Whether the user’s account should be (a) left alone, or (b) shut down
  • Is informed of the decision that Twitter’s previous management actually made regarding that user/incident — and the idiotic punishments they imposed on other users, at the same time
  • Is asked (in summary): “Did you ever see any of these groups and individuals complain about what Twitter’s previous management perpetrated?” And, alternatively, “Do you think it’s even possible that those groups and individuals weren’t aware of those incidents?”
  • Is directed to a URL that contains a summary of the reforms you will be enacting, and why, as articulated in Step 1

These “journeys” could also be adapted to shorter, passive versions, for TV commercials during high-viewership hours and special events.

This campaign would benefit by using masterfully-designed visualizations that depict the relationship between underlying events, Tweets, users, and the decisions made by Twitter’s previous management.

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About the Author

Freedom-oriented multimedia graphic designer, writer and creative consultant. Disruptor. Creator of the ILoveIsrael project (iloveisrael.me). Author of memoir "Saved By Shayna: Life Lessons From A Miracle Dog". Writer-director of documentary"TWITTER EXPOSED: Enabling the Taliban - but stopping a campaign to rescue US allies FROM the Taliban".

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