'World of pain' awaits Musk as internet now a cultural battlefield: Ex-Reddit CEO

San Francisco, April 16 (IANS) Former Reddit CEO Yishan Wong has advised Tesla and Space CEO Elon Musk to be very cautious with Twitter's acquisition, as the billionaire has "no idea" that he is entering a "world of pain" as the internet culture went through a massive change since 2004.
 
'World of pain' awaits Musk as internet now a cultural battlefield: Ex-Reddit CEO

San Francisco, April 16 (IANS) Former Reddit CEO Yishan Wong has advised Tesla and Space CEO Elon Musk to be very cautious with Twitter's acquisition, as the billionaire has "no idea" that he is entering a "world of pain" as the internet culture went through a massive change since 2004.

Musk, who is 50 and belongs to a generation of old tech leaders -- or GenXers -- who grew up with the old internet that was truly "free" and "represented freedom".

The internet is no longer a 'frontier' where people can go 'to be free', Wong tweeted, saying "it's where the entire world is now, and every culture war is being fought on it. It's the main battlefield for our culture wars".

"If Elon takes over Twitter, he is in for a world of pain. He has no idea," he posted in a long tweet thread.

Musk is currently locked in a boardroom battle with Twitter over his hostile takeover offer of $43 million, which the board members and some Twitter investors have not accepted.

Wong said that Reddit was born in the last years of the 'old internet' when free speech meant "freedom from religious conservatives trying to take down porn and sometimes first-person shooters".

"And so we tried to preserve that ideal. That is not what free speech is about today," he lamented.

"It's not that the principle is no longer valid (it is), it's that the practical issues around upholding that principle are different, because the world has changed," Wong added.

Wong suggests that Musk is culturally far behind.

"This is not the Old Internet. That is gone. It is sad. It's not because the platforms killed it."

The free speech idea arose out of a culture of late-90s America where the main people who were interested in censorship were religious conservatives, he said.

"Many of the older tech leaders today (@elonmusk, @pmarca aka Marc Andreessen etc, GenXers basically), grew up with that internet. To them, the internet represented freedom, a new frontier, a flowering of the human spirit, and a great optimism that technology could birth a new golden age of mankind," Wong noted.

--IANS

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