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About the only people happy with Elon Musk's first days at Twitter were the network's shareholders, who saw their long moribund stock turn into hard cash at the rate of $54.20 per share, a price that anyone paying attention knew was way more than they were actually worth.

Everyone else, it seemed, was up in arms, including most of the employees, many of whom were laid off, and a subset of the site's heaviest and most progressive users. Shonda Rhimes ("Not hanging around for whatever Elon has planned. Bye!") and Whoopi Goldberg ("I'm getting off today because I just feel like it's so messy") to name but two, exited the platform in theatrical fashion, as did Sara Bareilles and Toni Braxton.

In her announcement on "The View," Goldberg headed down a rabbit hole of absurd paradoxes.

"People keep saying it's free speech, but all speech is not free speech," she said. "Some speech is not OK free speech. So everybody has to agree on that, but if people keep saying, 'You hurt my free speech,' it's going to be a problem."

We'll let you sort that one out. Suffice to say that some people only now believe in the speech they deem acceptable.

But let's be clear about a few things. Twitter was losing money and, for a public company, that's generally a problem. Even during the halcyon days for social media, otherwise known as the pandemic, Twitter did not see any kind of meaningful increase in shareholder value, certainly not as compared with other channels such as Facebook.

And on Wednesday, even Facebook announced layoffs of some 11,000 workers; not as drastic a percentage as Twitter, for sure, but a larger number of lost tech jobs. The social networks ate the lunch of traditional media by being leaner and meaner, but in time, they became bloated, complacent and vulnerable to competition.

While his methods were far from ideal, Musk had no choice but to reduce expenses and/or find new revenue sources. And as all media companies well know, the two major categories available are advertising and subscriptions. Most end up with some combination of the two with a preponderance of the latter. Twitter had been trying to make money only on the former, but that wasn't working.

So what other choice does Musk now have? Go nonprofit after shelling out $44 billion? That would make him quite the philanthropist, but the guy is an entrepreneur.

Not discussed enough in all of the Twitter debate is the unstated conflict of interest involving media organizations screaming anti-Musk sentiments from their home pages.

In the early days of Twitter, traditional media companies generally saw the channel as a way of disseminating their content and finding new readers. But as companies like the New York Times have diversified from mere journalism into broader content creation, such as recipes, puzzles, movies, educational materials and paid podcasts, they've come to see the site as competition, taking away their paying audiences for such endeavors.

For media bosses, Twitter has morphed into one massive headache. It sucks up the time of their journalists, who obsess over the peer validation to be found there, at the expense of the newspaper's own paying subscribers. Many a media career has ended, and many an apology has had to be written, over an ill-considered tweet flowing from the red-hot flames of anger or pique. And newsrooms have been roiled over countless ethical arguments over what staff journalists should or should not be allowed to say, or opine about, under their personal Twitter handles.

Twitter also has been selling ads on the back of curating content created by these newsrooms without offering meaningful compensation, a situation that many media companies increasingly find intolerable.

Hence, companies, including the Times and the Washington Post, long ago concluded that Twitter was not so much a friendly, distributive network as good, old-fashioned unfair competition. They'd rather own their own Twitter-like channels and Insta-stomping all over Musk has been one way to exploit the weak underbelly of a blue bird whose wings they've long wanted to clip.

For all those reasons, we sympathize with Musk, a smart guy who has been castigated before he has done much at Twitter.

His ideals of a channel that respects all points of view equally may well prove to be naive in a country where one half defines much of the speech of the other half as various degrees of unacceptable. And since one person's opinion is another's misinformation, he'll likely end up tying himself and his company in knots just trying to sort out contrary but legitimate points of view from actual, factual lies. That's not as clear a line as his detractors like to say.

Musk also will likely find that advertisers are not so fond of being next to certain kinds of speech. Some degree of ideological curation is, in our real world, inevitable. Musk is learning this lesson fast.

And we have one other suggestion for the tweeter in chief.

It was a mistake to blend the "blue check," a marker designed to help users trust someone else's identity and avoid malicious confusion, with the need for subscription revenue. We think Musk should keep the verification scheme separate and come up with a different subscription package incentive.

But more power to him for trying to minimize censorship and create a place where both sides of the great divide we are seeing so clearly in the results of Tuesday's election can at least have a brief conversation. And, given all the above difficulties, he deserves some time to figure out a plan.