Less censorship on Twitter
It’s official: Elon Musk is buying Twitter for $44 billion in order to preserve free speech and limit censorship on the platform.
Censorship is defined as “the suppression of any parts of books, films, news, etc., that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security.”
Musk tweeted that he is “against censorship that goes far beyond the law. If people want less free speech, they will ask the government to pass laws to that effect. Therefore, going beyond the law is contrary to the will of the people.”
The First Amendment and Twitter
The First Amendment prevents the government from restricting speech, but courts have ruled that it does not block private companies like Twitter from doing so. In other words, Twitter has the First Amendment right to regulate the content on its platform.
While some states like Florida and Texas tried to enact laws that would make social platforms scale back on their content regulation, judges blocked these laws from taking effect.
5 changes Elon Musk may make to Twitter:
1. Free speech
Elon Musk believes Twitter’s content moderation is too stringent and doesn’t trust the leadership to make choices he feels are necessary to preserve free speech on the platform. He has made it clear this is one of his main concerns to improve.
2. Private company
Part of the agreement is for Musk to transform the platform from a publicly-traded company to a private one. He says this is necessary for the intended changes to occur.
3. Open-source algorithm
Musk states he wants to change the platform’s model to open-source, which means he’ll be changing the algorithm that determines what pops in users’ feeds. The goal behind the change is to limit potential political censorship. He says he plans on allowing users to see a code that shows why they are seeing a particular post, which creates transparency and insight into the platform. This change may also help Twitter defend itself if allegations arise that the platform promotes a certain political bias.
4. Root out bots and scams
Musk tweeted that he vows to “defeat the spam bots or die trying!” While we don’t know his approach to cracking down on scams, it will most likely be part of the sweeping changes to the platform.
5. Option to edit
In a Twitter poll, Musk asked his followers if Twitter should add an edit button, and 74% replied in support of the idea. The company confirmed after the poll that it will test the button in coming months, noting they did not get the idea from a poll.
Talk to a lawyer about your rights on social media.
It’s no question that there are legal issues that can arise on social media – cyberbullying, scams, defamation, copyright, privacy and many more issues can arise. If you need consultation and assistance navigating legal questions on social platforms, talk to a lawyer to understand your rights.
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