After meeting with a group of civil rights leaders about his content moderation plans, new ‘Chief Twit’ Elon Musk pledged to maintain existing election integrity policies at least until the results US midterm elections next week have been certified. According to statements from executives who attended the meeting, the mogul said he would not reinstate previously banned Twitter users until there was a transparent process to do so. Musk has also pledged to include representatives of groups that suffer from hate-fueled violence in his proposed content moderation board.
“Twitter will not allow anyone who has been de-platformed for breaking the Twitter Rules on [the] platform until we have a clear process to do it, which will take at least a few more weeks,” Musk said. wrote in a tweet about the reunion. He did not specify which users would be eligible to be reinstated.
Musk hasn’t always kept his promises about his business plans, which makes it difficult to take his plans at face value. But for now he has claims it will not make vital content moderation decisions on its own. According to Musk tweet, his meeting included representatives from the Free Press, the Asian American Foundation (TAAF), Color of Change, the NAACP, the Bush Center, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), and the Anti- Defamation League (ADL). TechCrunch has reached out to these groups to independently confirm attendance; all but the Bush Center, LULAC and TAAF have confirmed so far.
“The NAACP met with Elon Musk to express our grave concerns about the dangerous and potentially deadly hate and conspiracies that have proliferated on Twitter under his watch. According to a report, hate speech has increased by approximately 500% over the past First 12 hours of his Now let this sink in,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in an emailed statement.
“Nazi memes, racial slurs, and far-right propaganda have no place in a democracy’s ‘public square’ or online platform. […] In the immediate term, it is critical that Twitter’s existing election integrity policies remain in effect at least until the midterm elections have been certified.”
Several executives at yesterday’s meeting were highly critical of Musk’s ideas for Twitter. ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt wrote a statement after Musk took over Twitter on Thursday, expressing the organization’s concern for the safety of marginalized groups on the platform.
“We are concerned that Mr. Musk’s acquisition of Twitter will accelerate what the ADL has repeatedly seen: the expulsion of marginalized communities from social media,” the statement said. “As with Telegram, Gab, Parler, Rumble and other platforms that refuse to address incitement and slander in the name of free speech, these platforms have become hotbeds of radicalism and hate. This invariably reduces the diversity of views on these services and narrows rather than widens the public conversation.”
After he and ADL Vice President Yael Eisenstat took part in the virtual call with Musk, Greenblatt said that he is “cautiously optimistic” about Musk’s promises.
Free Press has also taken action to respond to Musk’s ownership of Twitter. Yesterday, Free Press and dozens of other civil society groups released an open letter, calling on the top 20 advertisers to demand that Musk follow the network’s existing content moderation policies.
“These commitments are a good first step, but it’s really just the beginning of a long process,” Free Press co-CEO Jessica J. González wrote in a statement. rage on Twitter. Much more needs to be done to make Twitter a strong and healthy space for dialogue.”
Musk has previously said he wants to create a content moderation council, which will discuss issues like banning former President Donald Trump’s account, which Musk said he considers a mistake. Twitter permanently banned Trump’s account in the days following the U.S. Capitol uprising because his tweets violated Twitter’s policy of glorifying violence.
Even though Musk says he won’t reform any banned users until a clear process is established, users are concerned about the impact of these plans on vulnerable groups, like the LGBTQ community. Last week, Musk responded to a tweet from the daughter of college and self-help author Jordan Peterson, who was suspended from the platform for naming trans actor Elliott Page and calling the surgeon Page a “criminal doctor” over the summer.
When she asked him if he would bring his father back to the platform, he replied, “Anyone suspended for minor and questionable reasons will be released from Twitter jail.” Even Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has tweeted to the CEOs of SpaceX and Tesla about overturning Peterson’s ban.
Even though Musk has promised these civil rights leaders that his content moderation board will include members of groups facing hate-fueled violence, that claim is at odds with Musk’s recent platform on conspiracy theories. anti-LGBTQ. Musk’s Twitter story doesn’t set a reassuring precedent either.
In April, he posted a meme mocking Twitter’s head of policy and trust, Vijaya Gadde (whom he fired immediately after securing his buyout). The message, which criticized him for having a leftist bias, sparked a torrent of abusive and racist tweets at the executive. Earlier this month, Musk also warmly welcomed Ye (formerly Kanye West) on Twitter after he was suspended from Instagram for posting anti-Semitic messages. But twelve hours later, Ye was also suspended from Twitter – he had continued his anti-Semitic tirade on the platform now owned by Musk, threatening that he was “going to die [sic] con 3 On the JEWISH PEOPLE.”
Over the past week, Musk’s Twitter feed has provided real-time insight into his developing plans for Twitter’s future. And already, we have seen him waver and go back on his word on some of his proposals.
After the backlash of the rumor that Musk would charge $20 a month for any user to verify, he negotiated publicly with author Stephen King, who tweeted his distaste for the idea.
Even these changes to Twitter Blue subscriptions — something ostensibly outside the trust and safety umbrella — have ramifications for content moderation. Despite days of mindlessly tweeting on “Twitter’s current lords and peasants system for knowing who does and doesn’t have a blue tick,” Musk has yet to seem to understand that verification can be used as a tool to mitigate the spread of misinformation. He also doesn’t seem to understand that his plan to charge $8 a month for answer priority is actually contrary to his vision of a “town square” because those who pay him will be algorithmically prioritized by compared to those who do not. .
Ultimately, the long-term effectiveness of Musk’s meeting with civil rights leaders (and any claims he makes about Twitter) will only last as long as he keeps his word.
“Of course, actions speak louder than words,” González said in his statement. “We will evaluate Musk closely and determine if he delivers on his promises.”
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