Can Elon Musk Revive Free Speech at Twitter? Here's a List of Some of the Top Names Who Were Censored
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Changes are likely on the way at Twitter now that it has accepted the offer from the world's richest man, Elon Musk, to take over the online platform. Musk reached a deal with the Twitter board on Monday to buy the social media giant for $44 billion.
Musk calls himself a "free speech absolutist." The corporate media and their supporters on the left are wringing their hands over that prospect. A headline from USA Today on Tuesday morning warns that Musk's Twitter takeover could result in "more hate speech." Tuesday, Musk explained to the fearful opponents of his Twitter purchase that he simply plans to follow the laws regarding freedom of speech in America:
By “free speech”, I simply mean that which matches the law.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 26, 2022
I am against censorship that goes far beyond the law.
If people want less free speech, they will ask government to pass laws to that effect.
Therefore, going beyond the law is contrary to the will of the people.
Musk will have his work cut out for him, but his clear goal is to restore freedom of speech to what he calls America's "town square."
The billionaire has been critical of Twitter's crackdown on online speech which has included censorship, suspensions, and outright bans on numerous conservative groups and individuals including President Trump, Project Veritas, James O'Keefe, the Babylon Bee, The Federalist, The New York Post, Allie Beth Stuckey, Tucker Carlson, Candace Owns, Dan Bongino, Matt Walsh, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Charlie Kirk, Dr. Naomi Wolf, Dr. Robert Malone, American Principles Project, Focus on the Family, Libs of TikTok, and many others. Their crimes range from undercover journalism to opposing gender-change surgeries on children to pointing out the biological fact that people with XY chromosomes are male.
Some of the censorship hasn't been overt. Musk recently tweeted about "shadow bans" which have occurred across multiple Big Tech platforms from Twitter to Facebook, quietly silencing or limiting conservative voices that Silicon Valley elitists don't like.
shadow ban council reviewing tweet … pic.twitter.com/cawjtwc7CW— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 23, 2022
"Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated," Musk said in a statement announcing his deal.
Yesss!!! pic.twitter.com/0T9HzUHuh6— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 25, 2022
Many conservatives have complained that Twitter has been biased against them, and Musk wants to change that.
Daniel Ives, managing director of WEDBush Securities, said, "There will clearly be changes from a constriction in what people could say, and that's going to be a tight-wire act, especially in this environment." Among the difficult considerations would be deciding what rules should be applied to hateful groups like racists or extremist rogue regimes.
It will take some time for any changes to appear, and his purchase of Twitter still needs to be finalized, which could take weeks or months.
While many on the left are now threatening to leave Twitter because they fear Musk's approach to free speech, the inventor tweeted, "I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means."
In the most significant, high-profile case of Twitter censorship, former President Trump told Fox News he doesn't plan to return to Twitter. That would certainly make his opponents happy. Outspoken critics of Trump, like Rob Reiner, are speaking out against Musk's push for free speech.
But when Reiner referred to a "criminal" who tried to overthrow the government, Reiner's critics exercised their right to free speech, quipping, "Calm down Rob, I'm sure he'll let Hillary stay on."
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