Criticism Deflector 🤬

Instead of paying lots of money to get people to stop criticizing him on the internet, Elon Musk should pay lots of money to fight cyberbullying. It solves the same goal of burnishing his reputation, but it benefits a lot more people. Just saying.

(Thomas Hawk/Flickr)

On the internet, people are going to do a handful of things that you will not be able to stop, no matter how much money you throw at them:

And in some cases, if you are a public figure, you are going to simply have to suck it up. Just minutes before I wrote this, in fact, I saw a post randomly calling me a coward. And you know what, great! You, anonymous person, are using the internet correctly.

You know someone who might not be using the internet correctly? Elon Musk.

As Business Insider reported over the weekend, Elon Musk’s Tesla Energy had a team of 20 employees that looked for any negative comments about its organization (hi big team!), and another for complaints about Musk himself (hi small team!). They then pushed those users to delete their comments.

“They would basically just look up #TeslaEnergy, #Elon, just anything that has to do with Tesla and energy and Elon,” one former manager told the publication.

Nikoli afina m l io F8 q4 unsplash

What I imagine Musk’s teams wore when they dove into criticism of Elon Musk. (Nikoli Afina/Unsplash)

In one sense, Elon Musk has the money that he can spend on whatever he wants. But on the other hand, it just seems like too much firepower to throw at a problem that a lot of celebrities have. You’re going to get criticized—it’s a fact of life—and at your scale, you can take it.

But you know something that Musk can do that might be an even stronger ego stroke but is beneficial to the broader internet rather than just him? He should redirect that team of people looking for examples of people criticizing him and pay for an anti-cyberbullying task force.

The internet needs something like it. In a world where an ironic Tyler, the Creator tweet from nine years ago is non-ironically used to cyberbully people, it would be nice if a rich person stepped in and spent some of the money he was spending to deflect public criticism on efforts to defuse these armchair critics. It’s harder work and would require a focus on root causes, but given how much he’s respected by young people, he might have a shot at pulling it off.

And given the fact that we recently lost a prominent programmer in part to cyberbullying (Near, whose passing was the recent subject of a USA Today article), it might be just the time to step out and do some real good for digital culture. (I encourage Musk, and everyone else, to learn about Near’s story. They truly were amazing.)

I mean, he’s already spending the money on it. Why not just retarget that money so it helps many rather than just a few?

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Ernie Smith

Your time was just wasted by Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the editor of Tedium, and an active internet snarker. Between his many internet side projects, he finds time to hang out with his wife Cat, who's funnier than he is.

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