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ACLU raises free speech concerns as Musk buys Twitter

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Elon Musk is the world’s richest man and CEO of Tesla. He also thinks he can fix Twitter. Critics, including the ACLU, adopted an argument Kanye West made popular, no one man should have all that power.

Twitter’s Board of Directors approved Musk’s $44 billion cash bid on Monday.

Twitter’s user base is significantly smaller than some other social media platforms. However, the platform is popular with politicians, celebrities, and journalists around the world because it was seen as a modern public square where many voices could discuss and debate differing viewpoints.

Over the last few years, Twitter faced harsh criticism for what some considered excessive censorship. The platform also created controversy after banning some users like former President Donald Trump and other conservative accounts.

Musk, a self-described free speech absolutist, said the platform should allow users to share their thoughts freely, and get back to the idea of a “digital town square.”

So why would some object if a guy who says he’s super committed to free speech also wants to buy a social media platform?

According to the ACLU’s Executive Director Anthony Romero, “Private tech companies play a profound and unique role in enabling our right to express ourselves online. We should be worried about any powerful central actor, whether it’s a government or any wealthy individual—even if it’s an ACLU member– having so much control over the boundaries of our political speech online.”

For his part, while addressing a crowd during a recent Ted Talk, Musk said he’s not buying Twitter to make money but to make a change.

“Civilizational risk is decreased the more we can increase the trust of Twitter as a public platform,” Musk explained. “My strong intuitive sense is having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization. I don’t care about the economics at all.”

When asked directly if his commitment to free speech meant that any Twitter use could post anything they wanted, Musk said Twitter—like all companies—is bound by laws. Since there are current laws in the U.S. limiting some speech, Musk said Twitter would abide by those rules.

THE WORLD’S RICHEST MAN SAYS HE CAN FIX TWITTER, BUT CRITICS ARE ADOPTING AN ARGUMENT KANYE WEST MADE POPULAR SAYING NO ONE MAN SHOULD HAVE ALL THAT POWER.

ELON MUSK,WHO YOU UNDOUBTEDLY KNOW FROM HIS OTHER SIDE PROJECTS

TESLA AND SPACE-X, IS NOW SET TO TAKEOVER TWITTER.

 

THE SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANY’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS APPROVED THE 44 BILLION DOLLAR CASH SALE ON MONDAY.

 

TWITTER’S USER BASE IS SIGNIFICANTLY SMALLER THAN OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS, BUT IT IS POPULAR WITH POLITICIANS, CELEBRITIES, AND JOURNALISTS AROUND THE WORLD BECAUSE IT WAS SEEN AS A MODERN PUBLIC SQUARE WHERE MANY VOICES CAN DISCUSS AND DEBATE DIFFERING VIEWPOINTS.

BUT OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS, TWITTER WAS CRITICIZED FOR OVER-CENSORSHIP AND DE-PLATFORMING SOME USERS LIKE FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP AND OTHER CONSERVATIVE ACCOUNTS.

MUSK, A SELF-DESCRIBED FREE SPEECH ABSOLUTIST, SAYS THE PLATFORM SHOULD ALLOW USERS TO SHARE THEIR THOUGHTS FREELY AND GET BACK TO THE IDEA OF A “DIGITAL TOWN SQUARE”.

SO WHY WOULD SOME OBJECT IF A GUY WHO SAYS HE’S SUPER COMMITTED TO FREE SPEECH ALSO WANTS TO BUY A SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM?

WELL ACCORDING TO THE ACLU, PRIVATE TECH COMPANIES PLAY A PROFOUND AND UNIQUE ROLE

IN ENABLING OUR RIGHT TO EXPRESS OURSELVES ONLINE. WE SHOULD BE WORRIED ABOUT ANY POWERFUL CENTRAL ACTOR, WHETHER IT’S A GOVERNMENT OR ANY WEALTHY INDIVIDUAL—EVEN IF IT’S AN ACLU MEMBER–HAVING SO MUCH CONTROL OVER THE BOUNDARIES OF OUR POLITICAL SPEECH ONLINE.

YES, ELON MUSK IS A CARD CARRYING MEMBER AND STAUNCH SUPPORTER OF THE ACLU, AND NO, THEY STILL DON’T WANT HIM RUNNING TWITTER.

FOR HIS PART MUSK SAYS HE’S NOT BUYING TWITTER TO MAKE MONEY BUT TO MAKE A CHANGE.

MUSK: CIVILIZATIONAL RISK IS DECREASED THE MORE WE CAN INCREASE THE TRUST OF TWITTER AS A PUBLIC PLATFORM…MY STRONG INTUITIVE SENSE IS HAVING A PUBLIC PLATFORM THAT IS MAXIMALLY TRUSTED AND BROADLY INCLUSIVE IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO THE FUTURE OF CIVILIZATION. I DON’T CARE ABOUT THE ECONOMICS AT ALL.

WHEN ASKED DIRECTLY IF HIS COMMITMENT TO FREE SPEECH MEANT THAT ANY TWITTER USE COULD POST ANYTHING THEY WANTED MUSK SAID TWITTER, LIKE ALL COMPANIES, ARE BOUND BY THE LAWS OF THEIR COUNTRY. SINCE THERE ARE CURRENT LAWS IN THE US LIMITING SOME SPEECH, TWITTER WOULD ABIDE BY THOSE RULES.

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Elon Musk is the world’s richest man and CEO of Tesla. He also thinks he can fix Twitter. Critics, including the ACLU, adopted an argument Kanye West made popular, no one man should have all that power.

Twitter’s Board of Directors approved Musk’s $44 billion cash bid on Monday.

Twitter’s user base is significantly smaller than some other social media platforms. However, the platform is popular with politicians, celebrities, and journalists around the world because it was seen as a modern public square where many voices could discuss and debate differing viewpoints.

Over the last few years, Twitter faced harsh criticism for what some considered excessive censorship. The platform also created controversy after banning some users like former President Donald Trump and other conservative accounts.

Musk, a self-described free speech absolutist, said the platform should allow users to share their thoughts freely, and get back to the idea of a “digital town square.”

So why would some object if a guy who says he’s super committed to free speech also wants to buy a social media platform?

According to the ACLU’s Executive Director Anthony Romero, “Private tech companies play a profound and unique role in enabling our right to express ourselves online. We should be worried about any powerful central actor, whether it’s a government or any wealthy individual—even if it’s an ACLU member– having so much control over the boundaries of our political speech online.”

For his part, while addressing a crowd during a recent Ted Talk, Musk said he’s not buying Twitter to make money but to make a change.

“Civilizational risk is decreased the more we can increase the trust of Twitter as a public platform,” Musk explained. “My strong intuitive sense is having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization. I don’t care about the economics at all.”

When asked directly if his commitment to free speech meant that any Twitter use could post anything they wanted, Musk said Twitter—like all companies—is bound by laws. Since there are current laws in the U.S. limiting some speech, Musk said Twitter would abide by those rules.

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