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Twitter erupts after Musk, Kushner pictured together at World Cup final

By Sarah May
|
December 19, 2022

Critics on Twitter were none too pleased this weekend when, as The Hill reported, photos emerged of the social media platform's controversial new CEO, Elon Musk, attending the World Cup final in Qatar alongside Jared Kushner, son-in-law of former President Donald Trump.

Seen standing next to Kushner in what appeared to be luxury accommodations at Lusail Stadium, Musk actively engaged in live tweeting of the match, which ultimately saw Argentina prevail against the squad from France.

Photos draw ire

Musk has been the subject of intense criticism from many on the left after acquiring Twitter earlier this year and embarking on a series of reforms aimed at facilitating free speech on the platform.

A decision that has engendered particular rancor among those hostile to Musk was his reinstatement of Trump's Twitter account in November, over 22 months after he was initially banned from the platform, as CBS News noted.

Even though Trump has not returned to Twitter, preferring instead to use his own Truth Social platform, Musk's move in allowing him back into the fold sparked intense backlash among Democrats, and this weekend's images of the mercurial CEO socializing with a close member of the former president's family only added fuel to the fire.

As Newsweek reported, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen retweeted a post from California Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell which included a shot of Musk and Kushner and a contingent of traditionally clad middle eastern men at the game with the caption, “They say a picture is worth a thousand words...”

Cohen added his own dig, writing in response to Swalwell, “More like 2 billion!” in an apparent reference to reports that Kushner last year received a massive infusion of funds from the Prince Mohammed bin Salman-led Public Investment Fund, a transaction which has sparked Democrat promises of congressional investigation.

Critics allege hypocrisy

The fact that Musk made no secret of his attendance at the World Cup match prompted many to blast what they deemed the CEO's seeming double standard when it comes to concerns about his privacy and safety.

Numerous Twitter users found it somewhat ironic that Musk was broadcasting his whereabouts online despite having very recently suspended the accounts of several journalists for engaging in what he claimed was doxxing by posting information about the location of his personal jet, as the Huffington Post noted.

The post in which Musk wrote, “At World Cup right now” and subsequent messages showing his vantage point from the stands, were decried by netizens as providing the same information that resulted in others' suspension from his platform.

One user wrote, “Suspend yourself for doxxing your live location, this post is a security threat to you,” while another asked, “Aren't you afraid of assassins?”

Progressive media figure Jordan Zakarin joined the chorus of critics, writing, as Newsweek noted, “Elon Musk and Jared Kushner at the World Cup with the Saudis. Nobody doxx him, Elon deserves his private time with his family.”

“Not necessarily bad”

Despite the furor over Musk's World Cup adventure, political analyst Craig Agranoff weighed in on the matter Sunday, telling Newsweek, “It is not necessarily 'bad' for Elon Musk to spend time with Jared Kushner.”

“It is ultimately up to Elon Musk to decide how he wants to spend his time and who he wants to spend it with,” Agranoff continued.

“It is not appropriate for us to make a value judgment about their personal interactions,” Agranoff added. “Kushner is a former senior advisor to President Donald Trump. It is possible that some people may disagree with his political views or actions and therefore might view Elon Musk spending time with him as inappropriate.”

Polling his exit?

Never one to stay out of the news for very long, right on the heels of the World Cup photo hubbub, on Monday, Musk posted an informal poll on Twitter asking users if he should step down as company CEO, adding, “I will abide by the results of this poll.

As NBC News reports, by the time the poll closed Monday morning, 17.5 million votes had been cast, and 57.5% of respondents said Musk should depart as CEO, while 42.5% were against such a move.

Though it remains to be seen exactly what will happen as a consequence of the Twitter poll, Musk did issue a characteristically cryptic and provocative comment late Sunday that said simply, “As the saying goes, be careful what you wish, as you might get it.”