This week (10-23-22), Elon Musk completed the purchase of Twitter for $44 billion. It’s Elon, so he wants to make some money, but he also claims to have a social motive: he wants to limit Twitter’s restrictions on free speech ((in)famaously, Twitter banned Trump after the insurrection and Elon was not a fan. He continues to argue that more speech is better for society and that eventually the best speech will prevail.
Early post-Musk activity raises a number of concerns. There are widespread reports of increased use of the “N word” on the platform. The increase is so great that it even drew Lebron James’ attention. Musk himself has already shared a conspiracy theory related to the break in at the Pelosis’ home (though he did delete it). [Though on the upside: Twitter re-bans white nationalist Nick Fuentes after he makes new account]
In the last 30 years, there have been continued battles related to content restrictions on social media platforms such as Twitter (see the Section 230 debate). This, of course, will bring it back to the forefront, and it will be interesting to see what happens in the days and weeks ahead.
Racist speech will increase
Social conflict will increase
Better speech drowns out bad speech
It’s bad to restrict the free flow of ideas
Social media actually diffuses societal conflict
Democracies favor few speech restrictions