What would Musk's free-speech absolutism look like on Twitter?

Originally published at: What would Musk's free-speech absolutism look like on Twitter? | Boing Boing



i.e. he gets the companies’ ass sued off in various countries for enabling harassment, the EU makes life a living hell for the company, India tries some shit, China/Russia/Saudi Arabia demand him to comply to their censorship demands in all regions, Elon gets doxxed on twitter and scares off at least 70% of the advertisers all within the first month of his ownership.


That’s being more than generous.


That sort of speech may be technically legal in the US, but there are plenty of other parts of the world where hate speech is a crime.


he has high-profile partners who will have invested billions in Twitter with profits in mind. Can you imagine them allowing Musk to turn Twitter into toxic slime pit?

since when has he allowed stakeholders keep him from doing dumb and destructive shit?


We’ve already seen free speech absolutism - it’s 4chan - why we need to run this experiment again is beyond me.


This. Could be why his ardor has cooled.


The federal government doesn’t recognize the concept of “hate speech.”

No, but other countries do, like Germany. Twitter is a globally used app. So either they have to adhere to other nations’ laws, stop servicing certain countries, or create some sort of walled garden version.

We already have a free speech platform - it’s called 4chan and it is a fucking cesspool.


I thought this tale of how BanniNation split off from FARK.com for “FreeSpeach!” with no moderation was pretty interesting regarding this subject. Short Twitter thread.


Wait, there’s advertising on Twitter???




“By ‘free speech’, I simply mean that which matches the law…Going beyond the law is contrary to the will of the people”.

THERE :clap: ARE :clap: NO :clap: LAWS :clap: REGULATING :clap: SPEECH :clap: ON :clap: A :clap: PRIVATE :clap: COMPANY’S :clap: PRODUCT :clap:

Why the fuck is this stupid argument of Musk’s still even a thing?


He’s boned. If he buys it and does what he says he will, he’s losing Germany and probably large swaths of Europe, because what’s legal in the United States isn’t legal there. In addition, his user base will shrink in the United States by all the folks jumping ship when it turns toxic. His advertisers will flee, revenue will crash, and the stock will tank. Taking with it his loans, which takes down Tesla.

On the other hand, if he takes a “let’s keep doing it the way we’re doing it” road, he’ll lose the love of all those Musk sniffers. So, once again, he’ll lose users. Not as many perhaps, but Twitter is already tapped for growth and has been flat for a while, so any loss would be perceived as negative by investors, who would dump the stock. Twitter stock declines, his investment declines, Tesla’s value declines further than it already has, and rinse, repeat.

Meanwhile, he himself has all his tweets monitored by lawyers and the SEC and can’t tweet any old thing he wants.

His only logical play now is to go through the motions and find some way out of it without swallowing the $1 billion bitter pill clause attached to it. But I suspect he won’t give a shit and will back out and fight that out in court.

Oh, and that part. Right there. Which we keep pointing out to conservatives, who literally don’t seem to get it. Free speech applies to government. You know… to keep them from banning books and such like. Ahem. Cough, cough.


though the deal hasn’t closed and musk hasn’t yet taken charge, so maybe he jumped the gun.


Well, there are forms of speech that remain illegal regardless of whether they are expressed on a private company’s platform or not (death threats, child porn, etc.). It’s just that the people who own the platform are not generally legally responsible for the regulation of such speech.

I suppose Musk COULD mean “our terms of service will not restrict any speech that is not punishable by law,” but of course that varies widely by jurisdiction. Some users might live in countries where it is illegal to criticize the monarch, for example.


That’s incorrectly stated. There are laws that apply to speech by individuals and corporations - defamation law for one, and laws against false advertising for commercial speech.

What I’m guessing you mean to say is that the freedom of speech protected by the US Constitution’s first amendment means that the government cannot restrict speech, not that private individuals can’t. And even that limitation of the government to not restrict speech has exceptions, as defined by SCOTUS over the years.


The naivety blows my mind. It’s like Mark Zuckerberg’s idea that people will take everything posted on FB with a grain of salt, “do their own research (lol, we know how that goes),” and then find out the truth. “Free speech absolutism” is a pretty phrase, but just scratching the surface shows how ugly that gets, like, immediately.

Elon Musk is a good example of someone who might be brilliant in one very specific area (don’t ask me which one; the more I read about him the more I think he’s more just damn lucky) and somehow thinks that makes him brilliant in every arena.

Way back during Y2K I had a few friends who worked for a startup. The owner completely freaked out about Y2K, sold his home and his parents’ home and moved up to a yurt in Canada to hide from the coming apocalypse. He was a good engineer, but only knew enough about code to know that it could be complex. But because he understood just enough, you couldn’t convince him that there were actual experts who knew that everything was going to be fine. It was that deadly mix of being well educated in one area and thinking that made him brilliant in every arena. **


Has someone reminded him that “that which matches the law” includes those pesky SEC rules he enjoys whining about so much?


I’m on Twitter (Lot_49@12thRITS) because I like cat and bird pictures, and follow some people on urban planning topics, plus some other odds and ends. The flapdoodle that Musk’s offer has caused seems disproportionate to any actual foreseeable impact, to me anyway. I didn’t follow Trump when he was on there, and wouldn’t if he were allowed back.