Elon Musk, framing his planned acquisition of Twitter as a bid to uphold free speech online, has called for the platform to roll back its content moderation efforts. Failure to do so, he claims, would “fundamentally undermine democracy.”
Last week, the billionaire investor and entrepreneur clarified his definition of free speech as “that which matches the law,” adding, “If people want less free speech, they will ask governments to pass laws to that effect.”
Citizens in many countries, however, have little ability to influence laws, which can be tools of political repression in authoritarian states and troubled democracies. Musk is correct that Twitter needs to improve its content moderation practices, but if it were to adopt this approach, it could become a powerful enforcer of government censorship around the world.