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It is said that a fool and his money are soon parted. Well, Elon Musk didn’t get where he is today by being a fool, but he parted with $44 billion of his money to buy Twitter, and now he seems to be running it into the ground.

Musk said he purchased Twitter over concerns that the massive social media platform was stifling freedom of expression. Musk described himself as a free speech “absolutist.” His intent, he said, was to turn Twitter into a “global digital town square,” where anyone can have their say, and the good ideas, hopefully, will rise to the surface.

Since purchasing Twitter, however, Musk has been making moves that have Twitter watchers wondering how long the platform will last.

He has restored the accounts of users who had been banned for their outrageous, inflammatory and misleading statements, including former president Donald Trump. He has said he will allow all legal content, but that resulted in an eruption of anti-semitism, white supremacy rants, lies about election fraud and other hate speech. Those who should be monitoring the content and making tough decisions on what content should be allowed have mostly been laid off, and Musk has informed those employees that were left that he expects everyone to sacrifice and work long, hard hours. A great way to build morale.

Musk may be a wizard at making self-driving electric cars, but he seems to have vastly underestimated the human capacity for meanness and spiteful speech, especially when afforded the means to lash out anonymously.

Twitter has grown since its inception to become, just as Musk called it, a global digital town square. But without rules for fairness, for common decency and for truthfulness it may collapse into a coarse, dangerous free-for-all.

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