The Future of “Free Speech” – Siddharth Deb Roy, Wallington County Grammar School


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After months of litigation, the self-proclaimed “free-speech” absolutist Elon Musk has completed his acquisition of Twitter for 44 billion dollars.

Elon Musk has always been a vocal critic of Twitters content-moderation policies, portraying himself as a staunch defender of “free speech”.   One of the most controversial and urgent questions is how the platform under him will handle moderation and whether the platform will reverse the ban on suspended users.

Musk says, “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and that Twitter is the digital town square vital to the future of humanity.” Musk recently introduced Twitter Blue, a new plan to charge users 8 pounds a month to remain verified and have their posts highlighted in “replies, mentions and search”. This begs the question whether people should be able to buy “free speech” in the future and how this will affect the spread of misinformation as it would allow for anyone to pay to get a blue checkmark and change their name to any reputable figure.

Musk’s takeover of Twitter also vividly displays the contrast between the left, who prefer more content moderation and Musk’s liberal utopian vision of “free speech”. In Musk’s eyes, Twitter is the “town square” of the internet with a marketplace of “free ideas”. However, many are using the concept of “free speech “to spread misinformation or hateful conduct.

Elon Musk, very much known for his spur of the movement decisions, now has the power to singlehandedly control the narrative for hundreds of millions of people, our democracy, and the public communication.

The future of free speech partially remains on Musk’s shoulders, and only time will tell if Twitter turns out to be “maximally trusted and broadly inclusive platform” or “free-for-all-hellscape where anything can be said with no consequences.”

 





Source : times


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