Friday, December 16, 2022

Free speech absolutism, Elon Musk-style

Elon Musk's "free speech absolutist" Twitter policy seems to be going well. 

A whole slew of journalists who have criticized the man and reported on an incident involving his son, including correspondents from CNN, New York Times and Washington Post, have all had their Twitter accounts summarily terminated, without notice. Others who have commented on these suspensions have also been disappeared from the site. Competitor microblogging site Mastodon, also had its Twitter account mysteriously cut off.

All of this also follows the suspension of a Twitter account that automatically tracks the movements of Musk's private jet, using publicly available information.

Well, they probably won't miss it too much: Twitter is not what it was. But the irony is poignant.


Musk did in fact reinstate the accounts of most of the journalists he suspended, after a poll he ran did not give the results he wanted, with most people calling for immediate reinstatement.

But then, a couple of days later, he suspended the Twitter account of another Washington Post journalist, after she had the temerity to tweet Musk for comment on another article (and he didn't respond to an emailed request for comment). This seeks to have offended him in some way, leading to her summary suspension.

This conjures an image of the richest man in the world manically monitoring every single tweet issued in search of posts that offend his own fragile ego, 24/7, in some luxury bunker in California. I have visions of a big cartoon-style switch, with a green light and a red light. Luckily, I don't have a Twitter account to suspend.

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