Protect The 1st is optimistic that Elon Musk will bring greater transparency, openness and respect for free speech to Twitter. The platform’s content moderation process was too opaque to generate much trust. Twitter should build trust in its political neutrality, neither favoring content from the right or from the left. Musk promises to do that.
Knotty issues remain, however. Will Musk give space to absolutely all views? What if someone tweets that one ethnic or religious group or another is spreading Covid-19? Where do we draw the line between a controversial idea, a conspiracy theory, and an assertion that could promote violence? Or will Musk have no content moderation, with maximum trust placed in the intelligence and goodwill of the users?
The change Musk promises is welcome. But the protection of free speech in democracy’s town hall shouldn’t rely on the judgment of one man, no matter how prolific, much less on a small and largely unseen group of content moderators. Protect The 1st continues to support the PACT Act, a bipartisan Senate bill that would establish transparency in content moderation decisions and give the cancelled some right of redress in exchange for the liability protections all social media platforms enjoy.
We predict that as Musk manages these contentious issues, he will be forced more than once to adjust. But his is a brave undertaking and one we hope Musk succeeds at as brilliantly as he has done with electric cars and space travel.