Elon Musk explains free speech, anti-censorship views on Twitter

“I am against censorship that goes far beyond the law,” Elon Musk tweeted.

Published - April 27, 2022 01:38 pm IST

Elon Musk

Elon Musk | Photo Credit: Reuters

Billionaire Elon Musk, who is pursuing a bid to buy Twitter, took to the platform on Tuesday to expand on what he means by free speech. Mr. Musk has often portrayed himself as a “free speech absolutist” and there have been concerns that loosening controls on the platform may lead to more disinformation.

“By “free speech”, I simply mean that which matches the law.” he wrote, in a series of tweets, “I am against censorship that goes far beyond the law.”

“If people want less free speech, they will ask government to pass laws to that effect. Therefore, going beyond the law is contrary to the will of the people.,” he said.

His remarks came soon after he tweeted that “The extreme antibody reaction from those who fear free speech says it all.”

Mr. Musk’s $44-billion bid to acquire Twitter has been approved by the social media company’s board on Monday and now has to be approved by regulators.

“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.,” he said, in a statement released on Monday.

“I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans. I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential -- I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it,” the statement reads.

Mr. Musk, who has 86 million followers on Twitter, also championed the cause of free speech in his first tweet on the platform after the bid was approved, writing that he hopes “even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means.”

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, who is still a member of the board, welcomed the takeover, tweeting that while in principle, he doesn’t believe that anyone should own or run Twitter, “Elon is the singular solution I trust. I trust his mission to extend the light of consciousness.”

“Elon’s goal of creating a platform that is “maximally trusted and broadly inclusive” is the right one,” he continued in the Twitter thread.

Also indicating support for Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal, Mr. Dorsey added that “This is the right path...I believe it with all my heart.”

Mr. Musk’s support of free speech has elicited a range of reactions from Twitter users.

Conservatives have celebrated his takeover, and some have called on him to reverse the Twitter suspension of Donald Trump.

“Hey, @elonmusk, it’s a great week to free @realDonaldTrump,” the House Republicans official account tweeted on April 25.

Meanwhile, senator Ted Cruz replied to one of Mr. Musk’s free speech tweets, tweeting that it was “amazing to watch the Left panic at the prospect of free speech on Twitter.”

On the other hand, non-profit organisation American Civil Liberties Union pointed out in a tweet that in today’s world “a small handful of private tech companies — including Twitter — play a profound and unique role in enabling our right to express ourselves online.”

“We should be worried about any powerful central actor, whether it’s a government or any wealthy individual — even if it’s an ACLU member — having so much control over the boundaries of our political speech online,” it wrote.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.