Does Elon Musk’s new Twitter allow Freedom from consequence?

The greatest callings of Elon Musk may be to the rising of free speech on the micro-blogging site Twitter. After Musk bought off Twitter for himself by paying over 44 billion USD, he decided to remap the entire site. His primary purpose includes removing spambot impact, promoting open-source information sharing, and being a hub of free speech on Twitter. But a good question here might be Does Musk’s vision of Twitter ensure some sort of Freedom From Consequence and is that a bad thing?

How Musk became the owner of Twitter and turned the company private 

Elon Musk Twitter Freedom of Speech
courtesy of Reuters

These terms may feel vague and confusing. But do not worry for we got you covered. Musk initially started buying shares in the company.

  • By January 2022 Musk became the company’s largest shareholder with around 9.3% holdings. The board of directors of this American social media company invited Musk to come to join them.
  • Elon Musk initially responded affirmatively to their invitation although he later declined. Later Twitter made one of history’s most extravagant yet exciting deals. He wanted to buy Twitter for $44 billion.

How public companies can go through ‘hostile takeover’ by rival companies

Freedom of Speech in Twitter
Courtesy of Elon Musk’s Twitter account $elonmusk

The thing with public companies is that they could be completely taken over by rival companies.

  1. Twitter went public in 2013. So when Musk tried to buy the entirety of the company at his own account, the board of directors could not resist but take a poison pill.
  2. ‘Poison-Pill’ is the street style for accounting a contingency strategy on the part of shareholders. Nonetheless, the acquisition happened and Musk made Twitter private ever since. Meaning nobody can come knocking at its doors now.
  3. Although this gives Musk more freedom, this also means that the entirety of the company’s future rests on him. If he fails Twitter will go bankrupt at which one common strategy would be to make Twitter public again.

But now that the acquisition of Twitter has made it private, Elon Musk has singlehandedly decided to make sure his platform is a hub for free speech and information sharing.

What is decentralized information sharing?

If you have been on Instagram or Facebook, you may have seen certain posts tagged with “Independent fact checkers have stated this post to be spreading false information”.

  • The online community has gone abrupt multiple times over many political concerns. The ‘independence’ of such third-party fact-checkers has always been confirmed.

Now, all information can float freely on Twitter. No third-party or Twitter intervention will obstruct the information on Twitter with the same boldness as before (like banning the account of the US President.)  This also means less banning of individuals (heck even Andrew Tate.)

Twitter Blue Tick

The dubious question of what is Freedom of Speech and Freedom From Consequence

  • Freedom of Speech is a political concept. The basic philosophy states that each individual has an innate right to speak their mind. The complexities of this in the political front is what falls within the ambit of this freedom or right.
  • If I hate or curse, isn’t it my freedom of speech to do so? A popular answer is that Freedom of Speech does not guarantee Freedom of Consequence. That although we are free to curse and hate, there are equally devastating consequences from our community for our deviant behaviors.

The revised Twitter rules for behavior 

The revised Twitter rules as-of-now which are bound to change define the limit in which Tweets can be subject to intervention and enforcement.

  1. Tweets that contain platform manipulation and spam. Individuals who use Twitter to artificially amplify or suppress information.
  2. Tweets that interfere in manipulating civic processes including elections. Posting or sharing content that suppresses or misleads people about civic participation.
  3. Individuals and groups impersonate individuals, other groups, and organizations to mislead and deceive the community. Such users must contain the parody tag, to justify that their behavior is comic.
  4. Piracy of copyright materials and synthetic and manipulated media with the purpose of deception and hysteria-creation.

Twitter Free Speech and Freedom of Consequence aren’t the same things

Although Twitter is doing its best to provide freedom of speech, one must question what exactly freedom of speech is. Does Freedom of Speech guarantee freedom of consequence? It probably doesn’t.

Hence why you can tweet all of these above, and probably get off of it if no one reports you. You do have the freedom of speech to the extent that you can tweet things that violate the above rules. But there’s also that there will always be consequences (in the form of a Twitter ban, or deletion).

For example, someone saying “I sh*t on your mother” is not the same as “Yesterday I was caught defecating in front of your mother.” The first one feels more violent and the second one seems open to discourse. The thing with laws has always been the tint of subjectivity. Unlike in courts where the accused can be defended for all his hate words or crimes, the world of online is still subject to the platform’s interpretation of your Tweets.

Also Read: Will Meta employees who will be fired get severance in the US?

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