Elon Musk Owns Twitter, So the Rules Are Going To Be Whatever He Wants
On Monday, Twitter suspended comedian Kathy Griffin from the site after she changed her name to “Elon Musk” in an effort to impersonate and make fun of the bird site’s new owner.
This has produced not-entirely-undeserved charges of hypocrisy on Musk’s part, given that one of his very first actions after acquiring the site two weeks ago was to confidently proclaim “comedy is now legal on Twitter.” It would appear that comedy is only permissible if it is clearly labelled as such.
Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying “parody” will be permanently suspended
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 6, 2022
Of course, this policy isn’t actually new: Even before Musk, parody accounts were ineligible for verification. Twitter’s current policies state that users “may not impersonate individuals, groups, or organizations to mislead, confuse, or deceive others, nor use a fake identity in a manner that disrupts the experience of others on Twitter.” But the policy is clearly inconsistence with an ethos of free speech absolutism, which Musk has stated is his guiding principle.
This gets at a larger problem, which is that “free speech absolutism” does not work as a content moderation strategy. There are many examples of speech that would be legal under a First Amendment framework—the government may not take action against them—but are nevertheless unwelcome on social media. Musk himself has declared war on spam and bots, and for good reason: This kind of content degrades the user experience, confuses advertisers, and distorts the true financial value of the company.
Eliminating pathologically obnoxious content is a smart idea, but it isn’t in-keeping with a principle of abiding by the Constitution’s own prohibitions on censorship. Musk has said that he is “against censorship that goes
Article from Reason.com