What Free Speech? Elon Musk Endorses EU’s Highly Censorial Approach To Content Moderation; Which Twitter Has Spent Years Fighting
from the this-is-not-pro-free-speech dept
It’s becoming quite clear that Elon Musk’s approach to dealing with complex issues is not to actually understand the complex realities behind them, but to simply say what he thinks an audience wants to hear, and perhaps relatedly, to simply accept the last thing that someone presented to him as the official state of things. The latest in the long line of bizarrely contradictory and nonsensical breadcrumbs that Musk is leaving regarding his planned approach to handling content moderation on Twitter includes a full warm embrace of the EU’s highly censorial Digital Services Act, as tweeted by Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market.
The video is pretty short, but here’s a rough transcript:
Breton: So we’re in Austin, together with Elon Musk. Thank you, Elon, for welcoming me.
Musk: Thank you. You’re most welcome.
Breton: Of course, we discussed many issues, and I was happy to be able to explain to you the DSA, a new regulation in Europe, and I think that now, you understand very well. It fits pretty well with what you think we should do on the platform?
Musk: I think it’s exactly aligned with my thinking. I think I very much agree… It’s been a great discussion. I agree with everything you said, really. I think we’re very much of the same mind and anything that my companies can do that would be beneficial to Europe, we want to do that.
Musk responded to Breton’s tweet by saying that “we are very much on the same page.”
Of course, the actual DSA setup seems extremely different than what Musk has said he wants regarding a platform that allows most speech. As we’ve discussed, the DSA, as currently construed would make something of a mess for speech online, and would put much more onerous regulations in place regarding how websites can moderate, and how much content they need to pull down.
I mean, just a few weeks ago, Breton was effectively threatening Musk regarding the takeover of Twitter, which is part of what precipitated this meeting.
Earlier in the day, Musk had once again (after falsely claiming that Twitter has a leftwing bias) tweeted that his preference was to “hew close to the laws of countries in which Twitter operates.” Further saying “If the citizens want something banned, then pass a law to do so, otherwise it should be allowed.”
This is all nonsense on multiple levels. First of all, many, many countries are not actually democracies. So, laws are not always the will of the citizens. Secondly, in the US, we have things like the 1st Amendment that are actually designed so that Congress cannot pass a law that bans speech. But, most importantly, the laws of a country make a terrible guide for content moderation, because they’re really trying to serve two very different purposes.
But, even more to the point, this again demonstrates how little Musk really understands not just about free speech, but also about how Twitter aggressively fights for free speech.
Over the past few years, Twitter has actually been one of the leading companies speaking out about the very serious potential problems with the EU’s approach to speech in the DSA. It’s been a key player in explaining how the rules that the EU is looking to put in place could be damaging for free speech and also how the rules should be changed to avoid attacking free speech. And in walks Musk, with apparently little to no understanding of the details or the nuances, and just endorses the entire approach.
And, let’s not even bother getting into the fact that much of the meeting was actually to discuss other issues regarding Tesla and the EU, and how Musk notes that his companies (plural) want to do what’s best for Europe. People have raised serious questions about the business needs of Tesla in countries like China and India may run into issues with how Twitter is moderated, and now Musk is effectively announcing that if it’s good for Tesla in Europe, he’ll happily agree to much greater speech suppression on the site.
If you actually support free speech, it’s pretty damn maddening, because the last thing we need right now is a company like Twitter endorsing the current DSA approach, which would take a sledge hammer to certain speech rights. But, according to Musk, it’s all good, because it’s what the law says.
Filed Under: dsa, elon musk, free speech, thierry breton
Comments on “What Free Speech? Elon Musk Endorses EU’s Highly Censorial Approach To Content Moderation; Which Twitter Has Spent Years Fighting”
Business is business
It is entirely possible that Musk will treat Twitter as a distraction, a bargaining chip to advance Tesla and his other companies.
It’s good its the law, well protestors and lgbt groups in Russia and China will not agree with that , it ll be a tragedy if twitter stops fighting for free speech since its the main venue for minoritys to speak out against repression in many places
The laws in this area are contradictory between nations.
The only way one can deal with is with nation-based blocks.
And some of the contradictions cannot be resolved at all as some nations claim extranational jurisdiction for their laws, such as China.
What kind of fucked up country would think it’s laws are global?
The USA thinks it’s laws are global.
The USA thinks its laws are global.
They might as well be. Here in the UK, rights holders are encouraged to send DMCA notices even though they don’t apply outside of the US. When my copyright on one of my works was infringed, I ignored that advice and sent out the far less intimidating Cease and Desist, and got a far better result than if I’d pulled out the big guns straight away. Not the result I actually wanted (work stayed up with my name attached to identify me as the author), but a much better one nonetheless.
the prick is gonna do whatever is best for him and his investor buddies so the money can start rolling in asap! and dont forget, whatever pies he’s got his fingers in from an ‘in charge’ point of view is concerned, it wont be many minutes before the charges/fees will be rocketing too!!
Mike, start saving that change up.
I think the purchase price is gonna be around $44.50 and whatever is left on that gift card in the back of the junk drawer.
You mean by the time Musk’s done devaluing it? ;D
I don’t think even Twitter would accept a Blockbuster gift card at this point.
But once its a smoking crater…
Re: Re: Re:
To make it quicker than that, just chuck in a load of old tyres and set them on fire. 😉
Further saying “If the citizens want something banned, then pass a law to do so, otherwise it should be allowed.”
Damn I’m getting a lot of use out of the obvious counter-argument thanks to this idiot…
Bigotry of all stripes is legal.
Arguing that some groups of people(female, non-white, non-hetersexual…) are inherently lesser than others and don’t deserve the same rights? Legal.
Arguing that the wrong side won WW2 and those pesky jews had it coming? Legal.
‘5G causes covid, vaccines cause autism’? You guessed it, legal.
A lot of abhorrent and disgusting content is legal to say and if a platform is only going to filter illegal content it’s not a question of will that content show up but merely how quickly.
…lack of vaccines cause autism.
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Bigotry of all stripes is legal.
Arguing that disabled people are inherently lesser than other marginalized groups and don’t deserve the same respect (you wouldn’t compare a troll to a black person)? Legal.
A lot of abhorrent and disgusting content is legal to say, and if Techdirt is only going to filter illegal content it’s not a question of will that content show up, but merely how quickly.
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*whoosh* for very good reason.
Well, here’s everyone’s worst nightmare. Musk confirmed that he’ll reverse Trump’s ban if the purchase goes through:
Some has-been asshole has stuff to say about it too…
But I guess if you don’t call it a ban, it can’t really be a ban even if the result is the same.
That’s actually a really canny move. Now very few people will want to connect through Twitter, lowering the purchase price for Musk. 😉
Not everyone. Just democrats.(and never-trumpers)
And not all of them. Many far left liked using his tweets as a jump pad for their own commentary.
I can picture him wink-wink-nudge-nudging the nearest GOP politician with that “pass a law” part. Wait till they make the “don’t say gay” bill federal law. Ban abortion, CRT, BLM, progress (ie. “wokeness”) in general, or anything else the upcoming new HUAC doesn’t like, and watch Musk smile with glee. This is what the right wants and it’s what he wants. The chosen people are free to speak and everyone else is silenced.
Have my vote for Insightful
Bigotry of all stripes is legal.
Arguing that disabled people are inherently lesser than others and don’t deserve the same respect (you wouldn’t compare a troll to black people)? Legal.
A lot of abhorrent and disgusting content is legal to say, and if Techdirt is only going to filter illegal content, it’s not a question of will that content show up, but merely how quickly.
Corner a man into an interview. After growling and snarling at him for days. Ask him questions on which he has no knowledge. Snicker at the results.
Secondly, in the US, we have things like the 1st Amendment that are actually designed so that Congress cannot pass a law that bans speech.
I would note that technically they, with the cooperation of state legislatures, can do that, they just need to amend the Constitution. So if it became a sufficently widely held belief that the First Amemdment is bad it could be repealed or altered.
I don’t think that’s terribly likely, but it is possible.
Also it would be a bad thing.