From Eli Lilly offering insulin for free to Mario giving you the middle finger on behalf of Nintendo America, it’s fair to say that the last few days on Twitter have been odd. The times are a-changin’, and with it, so is Twitter’s approach to what is and isn’t acceptable on its platform.
As the new Twitter starts to take shape, Musk’s promise to redraw its content moderation policy to better match his free speech beliefs has come with its own challenges—not least because he’s laid off half of the company’s staff, including the moderation team’s leader.
Musk’s approach to content moderation and the limits of free speech have been outlined in various, sometimes contradictory, public statements. We have known for months that he is a self-described “free speech maximalist,” who claims to have lodged his bid to take over Twitter in order to return free speech to the platform. Yet, since taking over Twitter, that approach seems to have softened...
It’s also a contradictory approach. “He has said a number of things that suggest that he’s creating more of an open, free speech environment,” says Rebekah Tromble, director of the Institute for Data, Democracy & Politics at George Washington University. “Then on the other hand, when he’s talking directly to advertisers, he says he takes seriously the need to combat hate speech and other forms of unhealthy dynamics. And he has yet to lay out a clear and detailed plan for how you might achieve either one of these things, let alone both of them simultaneously.”