What would Elon Musk’s free speech social media utopia look like?
We can imagine what he believes Twitter would be under his ownership.
Musk probably envisions a platform where no one will be excluded from discussion, everyone has a seat at the table, people will not be penalized for their opinions. Cancel culture would be defeated.
Twitter, to the uninitiated, is a favored social media platform for politicians, celebrities, journalists and people who are interested in those folks.
Musk, the world’s richest man, with millions of supporters, believes Twitter is too restrictive about what it allows.
The idea that people are being silenced stems mostly from those who have been suspended for election misinformation, COVID-19 misinformation, abuse and harm.
Racism, homophobia and misogyny are still pretty rampant. So is misinformation.
In fact, politicians and public figures, because they create engagement, get a lot more leeway than common folk on what they post.
Former president Donald Trump was banned from Twitter on Jan. 8, after having several tweets removed about a fraudulent election. A few of those tweets on Jan. 6.
“Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”
Pence had his life threatened that day.
“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”
Essentially, “that’s what you get.”
Musk, politicians and other public figures will always have people ready to defend them. That’s not the case for the average social media user.
There are people who have been “canceled” but they aren’t the powerful.
It would be nice to be able to protect average people from the punishment-definitely-doesn’t-fit-the-crime frontier justice of public shaming. But, that’s more societal than a function of the platform.
But, in Musk’s world how would that change? Public shaming is free speech, is it not?
Twitter is also a rougher place for women, public figures or not.
If Musk creates a haven for the worst people on the internet, he isn’t revolutionizing anything. He’ll be rich a guy who made a bad investment.
You might be thinking, “if they don’t like it, they can leave.” They will, in droves.