“Freedom of expression, but not of scope”

  • 16

If Elon Musk has been characterized by something as the person in charge of Twitter, it is his frenetic dynamics of weekly announcements on commercial, editorial and even internal kitchen issues – at the work level – of the social network. Since he took over the company he has proclaimed “freedom” of the blue bird, announced a content moderation council, implemented a deep staff cut, activated and deactivated its Twitter Blue subscription service and experimented with the account verification code. all with opinions at the stroke of a tweet and from your own profile.

Now, when the platform is filled with farewell messages and Musk himself jokes with the death of a company that he just bought for 40,000 million dollars, the tycoon has sat down again to type another ad from his account. The nth. And draft.

Musk’s last message focuses on “the new policy of Twitter” and poses a clear slogan: “Freedom of expression, but not freedom of scope”. What does that translate to in practice? In that those messages that are considered inappropriate will find certain obstacles. “Negative/hate tweets will be neutralized and demonetized to the maximum, so there will be no ads or other revenue for Twitter,” the billionaire has advanced from his account, true to his style.

“Vox Populi, Vox Dei”

The announcement advances the company’s intent and its efforts to find a balance between the editorial carte blanche that Musk—a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist”—has always upheld, and the imperative need to prevent the platform from becoming “ hell”, which, among other things, could affect their ability to generate income. Large firms, such as General Motors, L’Oreal, Audi or Mondelez, among others, have decided pause your ad spend on the net waiting for where the winds blow in “the Musk era”.

Beyond slipping that predisposition, the tweet nevertheless leaves certain doubts on the table. The main one is how this “new policy” will be substantiated in practice and the difference between “freedom of expression” and “reach”. Musk uses the word “deboosted”, which does not fully clarify how it will affect his visibility on the platform. Businessman has only swiped that the tweet will not be found “unless specifically searched for,” which, he explains, “is no different than the rest of the Internet.”

Another of the main unknowns is what kind of content will fall into the category of “negative/hate tweets” that Musk refers to in his announcement and whether messages that promote misinformation or the propagation of hoaxes will fall within it. “Note that this applies to individual tweet onlynot to the entire account ”, settled the also owner of Tesla shortly after.

It is not the only message that Musk has launched, who has advanced three account recovery which had been suspended for different reasons: that of the comedian Kathie Griffin, the controversial writer Jordan Peterson and the conservative satirical publication ‘The Babylon Bee’. The first one had impersonated Musk himselfthe second for his comments on transgender actor Elliot Page and the third for similar messages about transgender woman Racahel Levine.

The decision that has not yet been taken, recognizes Musk, is what to do with the account of the former US president, also suspended in January 2021 after the incidents of the capture of the Capitol. “Trump’s decision not yet taken”, clarifies the tycoon before publishing a survey on the possibility of recovering the account of the Republican leader. In the early hours of Saturday he already had more than seven million votes and the “yes” option won with a support of 53.6%.

“Vox Populi, Vox Dei”, he tweeted after posting the query.

In late October, shortly after landing at the Twitter offices with a sink in the armsMusk had announced the creation of a “content moderation council” with “very diverse points of view” and which, he assured, would be heard before making “important decisions.”

Image: Evan Agostini/AP

If Elon Musk has been characterized by something as the person in charge of Twitter, it is his frenetic dynamics…

If Elon Musk has been characterized by something as the person in charge of Twitter, it is his frenetic dynamics…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.