When Elon Musk’s SEC announcement of buying 9% of Twitter’s stock made news, it sent leftists everywhere into a frenzy. They had heard about his dynamic takeover at Tesla after his massive infusion of cash, and the Twitter board looked to prevent that by capping his stock ownership at 15%, but they offered him a seat on the board. Musk’s response to a public offer to buy the stock out at a premium stunned Twitter board members and users alike.
Naturally, when the news broke that Musk’s deal was all but done, the left lost their collective minds. They could not believe someone would dare take over their safe space for free speech, but to make it free speech for all. This has led to numerous human rights groups and leftists speaking out about the Tesla mogul’s quest for absolute free speech. Deborah Brown is a digital rights researcher and advocate at Human Rights Watch and is one of the voices speaking out about this acquisition.
“Regardless of who owns Twitter, the company has human rights responsibilities to respect the rights of people around the world who rely on the platform. Changes to its policies, features, and algorithms, big and small, can have disproportionate and sometimes devastating impacts, including offline violence. Freedom of expression is not an absolute right, which is why Twitter needs to invest in efforts to keep its most vulnerable users safe on the platform.”
Unfortunately for people like her and other leftist-based organizations, free speech is an absolute thing. As the case of Hustler vs. Jerry Falwell back in the late 80s proved, it comes down to a matter of taste. While someone may say things you disagree with, they are free to present their opinion and their viewpoints freely. Even when someone finds them emotionally bothersome. Misinformation is a part of that and has been for ages. Look at the pandemic with COVID. The CDC and other conservative parties took that opportunity to present lots of misinformation out of ignorance of the situation.
The real reason so many of these groups are having panic attacks over Musk buying Twitter is very simple. Their digital safe space where they can have someone canceled for having a different viewpoint is going away. Musk has stated for years that he looks at Twitter as a digital town square. A place where people are free to say what they want without the government stopping them from speaking out.
Moderators from Twitter have long since silenced voices who speak out against their beliefs by shadow banning their accounts and making the information incredibly difficult to find without directly clicking on their profile. Fellow tech giant Instagram (owned by Meta) has been consistently targeted for employing this same practice and placing patriots like Sean Whalen, Tim Kennedy, and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) so far down their algorithm that the reach for their message is destroyed.
Hidden and easily manipulated algorithms have been a big concern for social media users for years. Musk looks to make that information open-source and completely transparent. He wants users to know why they aren’t reaching the people they are looking to reach, and considering the severely limited tools Twitter and other platforms make available to their users, this scares the left. They worry that the message of conservatives might reach those in the middle and get them to vote with their minds, and not off sensational journalism chock full of half-truths.
Anthony Romero is the executive director for the American Civil Liberties Union. He is also concerned about Musk having that concentration of power, stating “there’s a lot of danger having so much power in the hands of any one individual.” Never mind the fact that Mark Zuckerberg has had that level of power with Facebook and Instagram for years.