- Elon Musk met with censorship advocates and left-wing activists to gain insight on how Twitter’s content moderation council will operate.
- The council will be composed of representatives with “widely divergent views,” and will include civil rights communities and groups that face “hate-fueled” violence.
- Many of the representatives Musk spoke with have historically pushed for conservative censorship and the new council could represent another controversial step in Musk’s plan to successfully moderate.
Elon Musk met with censorship advocates and left-wing activists to gain insight on how Twitter’s content moderation council will combat hate, harassment and enforce election integrity policies, according to a Twitter thread by Musk.
The council, composed of representatives with “widely divergent views,” will include civil rights communities and groups that face “hate-fueled” violence, Musk said Wednesday. Many of the representatives Musk spoke with have historically pushed for conservative censorship and the new council could represent another controversial step in Musk’s plan to successfully moderate Twitter.
“Twitter’s content moderation council will include representatives with widely divergent views, which will certainly include the civil rights community and groups who face hate-fueled violence. Twitter will not allow anyone who was de-platformed for violating Twitter rules back on the platform until we have a clear process for doing so, which will take at least a few more weeks,” Musk said on the platform.
Musk’s desire to create a group composed of “widely divergent views” will be a balancing act that represents a technical fix but not a political fix, president of the Digital Progress Institute Joel Thayer told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“I think, and probably rightly, [Musk] is worried about some of the backlash that he’s been getting from the mainstream media about turning Twitter into some sort of conservative hellscape,” Thayer said. “I think what he’s attempting to demonstrate is that he’s taking in broader considerations, but in all reality, this is really a technical fix. It’s not really a political fix. And I mean, I’m glad that he’s talking to a variety of different folks. But I think what he’s going to realize is that everyone is going to have their definition of content moderation,” Thayer said.
One representative who Musk spoke with, Rashad Robinson, serves as President of non-profit Color of Change, which historically has called on social platforms to censor conservatives. Robinson asked Facebook to remove anti-immigration ads promoted by former President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, and Color for Change requested that Facebook remove “right-wing politicians” for spreading “lies, misinformation, and hate.”
Robinson has personally spread misinformation before on Twitter, pushing the Jussie Smollett hoax after it was reported to be a hoax. Derrick Johnson, the president of the NAACP, is currently waging a war on Facebook ads and called the social media platform a “threat to democracy” referencing users with opposing beliefs that are allowed to congregate, ABC News reported.
“Facebook is allowing their platform to be used as a gathering point to meet, recruit and plan out harm against communities. They’ve also allowed their platform to be manipulated by a foreign nation and domestic actors to suppress and subvert our voting process and democracy,” Johnson told ABC News.
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti Defamation League (ADL), supports the content moderation council and believes children need to be screened from hate speech, he said on the platform. Greenblatt has pointed to the “lies and conspiracies” of far-right figures as a key reason democracy could collapse.
Vice President of ADL and StopHateForProfit (SHFP) Yael Eisenstat released a statement after speaking with Musk saying that the organization has seen an “uptick in extremist activity, racism, antisemitism, homophobia, disinformation and more.”
While SHFP appreciates that Musk is “committed to not re-platforming anyone until there is a clear and transparent process,” the organization believes Twitter needs to maintain infrastructure, enforcement and policies for election disinformation until at least after midterm elections have been finalized.
Thayer believes Twitter needs to move away from centralized moderation and the idea of a moderation council if Musk is “serious” about having a truly free platform.
“Why don’t you just give the consumers the choice and decentralize Twitter’s stronghold on its ability to raise or de-elevate content? So you can do that through technical fixes, like adding more competition in the middleware space where you can essentially allow other companies to curate based off of their preferences,” Thayer said.
The Internet Accountability Project (IAP) Told the DCNF that IAP encourages Musk to include conservatives in the process. “At the end of the day, Twitter’s content moderation policies should be designed to enhance the user experience while respecting free speech, not simply to do what’s in the best interest of the Democrat Party. Congress must pass the long-term censorship solution by updating our century-old antitrust laws, so we can finally break up Big Tech’s gatekeeping power over online information and commerce,” an IAP spokesperson said.
The IAP recommends conservatives like The New York Post’s Miranda Devine, conservative lawyer Harmeet Dhillon, and Big Tech expert Rachel Bovard.
ADL forwarded the DCNF to SHFP’s campaign.
The NAACP and Color of Change did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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