Yesterday, Elon Musk, the new owner of mega social media company Twitter Inc. released an array of tweets which sent social media users into a frenzy. The erratic tweets seemed to confirm the fears held by Twitter’s most vulnerable groups – that Musk intends to remove any form of censorship platform, in favour of totally unfiltered “free-speech”.
In one his of tweets, Elon compared the ranking of former U.S. President Donald Trump’s social media platform, ‘Truth Social’ to Twitter’s ranking on the Apple Store’s top charts – arguing that the reason why Trump’s new platform occupies the number one spot over Twitter, which occupies the second spot, is because ‘Truth Social’ does not censor free speech in the way that Twitter does. “Truth Social exists because Twitter censored free speech” he tweets. Along with praising ‘Truth Social’ for its “free-speech” policies, Musk also teasingly criticises the name of platform, calling it a “terrible name” and suggesting that it be called “Trumpet” instead.
In a tweet which now has 1.2 million likes, Musk goes on to say, “For Twitter to deserve public trust, it must be politically neutral, which effectively means upsetting the far right and far left equally”. The tweet sent social media users into an uproar, with users from both the left and right chipping in their 2 cents.
One user tweeted, “I don’t think it’ll upset them “equally”. Far or not, the right is going to be happy with political neutrality, [while] the left is used to pampering here. They’ll be really upset when it’s gone.” In contrast, another user tweeted, “Twitter is full of people who discriminate unapologetically and trend agendas that are misleading [therefore] for Twitter to deserve public trust, people must obey its policies and be accountable for their actions.”
Additionally, many users believe that Elon’s ideal of an unfiltered free speech-based Twitter, is simply a ploy to enable himself to tweet or say whatever he wants to, without facing possible consequences, as one user says, “You’ve confused free speech and freedom from consequences.”
It appears that the fears held by the vulnerable and minority groups, such as people of colour and women on the platform have come true, as according to Elon Musk’s ambitions, there will be no mechanisms in place which prohibit racist or misogynistic tweets from being hurled at them, as technically, these all fall under the banner of “free-speech” which Elon strives to achieve.