Elon Musk, a free-speech rocket or a Twitter troll?

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Elon Musk will be under massive scrutiny as the United States plans to have its midterm elections to be held on November 8, with early voting underway.

Disinformation on social media platforms continues to undermine society and has plagued and corroded public trust.

Election fraud and other broader policy issues including free speech remain in question since before the tenure of former President Donald Trump when he was accused of being allowed to use his social media Twitter account to disseminate alleged lies.

Free speech has come to the forefront since the Tesla CEO took over Twitter last week, only to trim down Twitter’s management board.

Parag Agrawal, Omid Kordestani, Bret Taylor, David Rosenblatt, Patrick Pichette, Egon Durban, Martha Lane Fox, Fei-Fei Li and Mimi Alemayehou are no longer directors of Twitter.

Musk will serve as chief executive after a $44 billion move to take over the reigns.

The new Twitter head is likely to face massive amounts of scrutiny, a result of the looming elections as he is expected to clarify what he deems free speech worthy content for the platform.

With companies, SpaceX, Neuralink and tunneling firm the Boring Company, Musk is sure to have his hands full, in the coming weeks.

The Twitter CEO is trending following his posts about the assault of Paul Pelosi posted using the platform.

The husband of US house speaker Nancy Pelosi was attacked by an assailant who allegedly questioned where Nancy was.

Musk’s tweet, which commented on the matter has been ill-received as critics labelled the tweet as encouraging radical responses.

The post skyrocketed to around 24 000 retweets, with over 50 000 likes prompting concern that hate-speech and harassment would run rampant under his leadership.

Although Musk addressed concerns of harmful posts with a plan to have a moderation counsel, while users would apply content ratings on their posts, including an option to divide Twitter into various strands as an alternative, critics remain unconvinced.

Musk is yet to elaborate where the bedrock of a functioning democracy which is free speech applies and how it translates on Twitter.

Musk will have to answer what free speech is defined as for the platform and how it applies.

How free is too free, and does an individual have the right to express everything that they feel?

Fears that hate speech and harassment may run rampant under Musks’ reign have been reported with several on social media criticizing the CEO for his views while he remains Twitter boss.

 

The question remains, is Musk on a trajectory to set a new benchmark on how to better manage free speech or is he a mere troll, which understands that he who holds the means of mass communication, controls how reality is constructed.

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