Episode 91

Elon’s #Freebird Twitter, Trouble in the Metaverse, AZ Midterms

Ravi and Rikki start by briefly discussing the oral arguments before the Supreme Court that could decide the fate of affirmative action: the topic of our latest episode of the Regressives. Then the hosts turn to Elon Musk’s first week at the helm of Twitter, why Meta’s full-throttle investments in the Metaverse have investors in crisis mode, and an interview with two reporters from the Arizona Republic on the hugely consequential midterm races there.


Rikki leads off by ticking through a chaotic week at Twitter as Elon takes the reins and starts reeling off #FreeBird innovations. She and Ravi debate whether the platform will become the free speech beacon its new owner promised.

Ravi then takes us on an interactive stroll through Meta’s disastrous earnings report, as well as the chief reason why: the Metaverse, and the company’s tunnel-vision spending on developing that technology. We put on the headset and go see what’s up in Horizon Worlds.

Finally, Ravi sits down with two reporters from the Arizona Republic – Ronald Hansen and Stacey Barchenger – to discuss the massive midterm races taking place there for Senate and Governor.

Elon/Twitter [6:31]

Elon Musk tweets misinformation about Paul Pelosi (Axios, 10/30)
Musk says Twitter will charge $8/month for blue check mark (Reuters, 11/2)
Musk’s inner circle worked through weekend to cement Twitter layoff plans (WaPo, 10/31/22)
Open letter to Elon Musk from Greg Lukianoff on preserving free expression on social media (FIRE, 4/11)
Musk’s China ties add potential risks to Twitter purchase (AP News, 5/17)
Scoop: Musk team working to reboot Vine this year (Axios, 10/31)
Elon Musk’s Disastrous Weekend on Twitter (The Atlantic, 10/31/22)
Free Bird: On Elon Musk and Twitter (Common Sense, 11/2)

Trouble in the Metaverse [27:12]

A Year Ago, Facebook Pivoted to the Metaverse. Was It Worth It? (Time, 10/27)
How much trouble is Mark Zuckerberg in? (The Economist, 10/16)
Company Documents Show Meta’s Flagship Metaverse Falling Short (Wall Street Journal, 10/15)
Skepticism, Confusion, Frustration: Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse Struggles (New York Times, 10/9)
What Went Wrong?: A Conversation with Marc Andreessen (Making Sense with Sam Harris, Episode #290)

AZ Midterms [41:33]

In Arizona’s governor race, two candidates who couldn’t be more different (NPR, 10/29/22)
In Arizona Governor’s Race, a Question Looms: ‘Where’s Katie?’ (NYT, 10/21/22)
On Kari Lake’s campaign for Arizona governor, the mic is always hot (WaPo, 10/16/22)
Trumpism Has Found Its Leading Lady (The Atlantic, 10/9/22)