by Elon Musk
Twitter holds great promise for free speech in America, something that has taken a real hit over the past two years.
Just before the 2020 presidential election, Twitter trampled on free speech by blocking circulation of the New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop.
, considering it as possible misinformation. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook banned discussions about whether the coronavirus was man-made or man-made, calling it a racist conspiracy.
Today, the Hunter Biden story is common – even “The New York Times“ and “The Washington Post“ to have
to the laptop’s authenticity – and the now widespread Wuhan lab leak theory has been
in mainstream media as a legitimate possibility for nearly a year.
Despite the glaring mistakes social media companies have made and the harm they have caused to public discourse, Barack Obama, the darling of the Democratic Party, wants After censorship, no less.
Last week, Obama
at Stanford University and has promoted government regulation of social media platforms, as he argued that content “moderation” by social media companies “doesn’t go far enough” to tackle what he qualifies as “clearly dangerous content”.
It is important to note that free speech has not only been attacked online or from the left. Ron Desantis, the Republican Governor of Florida, recently
Disney’s special tax status after the company strongly opposed Florida’s parental rights in education law. Corporations shouldn’t get special privileges and Disney doesn’t deserve special tax status, but that’s beside the point. Governor DeSantis did what he did in retaliation for Disney’s political statements. It was a blatant attack on free speech and likely a violation of the First Amendment.
These are just a few examples among many others. Musk’s acquisition of Twitter offers a much-needed and timely victory for free speech. Announcing that he had reached an agreement to acquire Twitter, Musk said that “free speech is the foundation of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital public square where issues vital to the future of society are debated. humanity”. It’s incredibly refreshing to hear an influential leader and owner of a social media platform unequivocally support open speech.
Is freedom of expression perfect? Absolutely not. People lie and misinformation often spreads online. We all too well remember Donald Trump and his supporters spreading conspiracy theories after the 2020 election on social media, despite little evidence that the election was stolen.
As the Nobel Prize-winning economist FA Hayek once wrote, “(A Philosophy of Freedom) is as far removed from perfectionism as it is from the haste and impatience of the impassioned reformer, whose indignation at particular evils so often blind him to the evil and injustice that the realization of his plans is likely to produce. Freedom is not perfect, but restricting content in the name of stopping misinformation has undeniably brought harm and injustice to civil discourse.
The reality is that social media companies are no more adept at establishing the truth than their users, and we cannot trust them to save us from ourselves. In their quest to protect us through censorship, they often make mistakes, censoring real information and discriminating viewpoints. It is heartening to see Elon Musk, a staunch defender of free speech, take the reins of a platform that has proven hostile to free speech at a time when our most important freedom is under attack. by left and right politicians.
Benjamin Ayanian is a philosophy, business law, and political science student at the University of Minnesota. He is also a contributor to Young Voices, a public relations firm and talent agency for young pro-freedom writers. His Twitter is @BenjaminAyanian.