My, what a progressive panic
$44 billion purchase of
has inspired. MSNBC host
warns that Mr. Musk could hack the political debate by having the website “secretly ban one party’s candidate” or “turn down the reach of their stuff, and turn up the reach of something else, and the rest of us might not even find out about it until after the election.”
Uh, hello? Twitter has banned President Trump. A month before the 2020 election, it moved to “turn down the reach” of the New York Post’s reporting on
laptop. Those actions weren’t secret, but Mr. Melber’s alarm echoes what conservatives have been saying for years about big tech’s censorship. As long as the usual Silicon Valley overlords controlled all of social media, progressives didn’t mind. But Elon Musk buys Twitter, and suddenly freer speech is a national crisis.
“Musk and his apologists say if consumers don’t like what he does with Twitter, they can go elsewhere,” tweeted former Clinton Labor Secretary
“But where else would consumers go to post short messages that can reach millions of people other than Twitter?” Yet conservative critics of Twitter have long been told to build their own sites. We’ll friend you later on ReichBook.
Here’s a paragraph from the news pages of the
: “The 2016 U.S. presidential election and the Brexit vote that same year gave Silicon Valley executives, U.S. elected officials and the public a peek into what can go wrong when social media companies opt not to wade too deeply into what people say on their sites. Russian propagandists amplified the views of deeply divided Americans and Britons, further polarizing the electorate.” With better content moderation, apparently we’d all be enjoying President
tweeted that Congress “must pass laws to protect privacy and promote algorithmic justice.” For the record, Mr. Musk says his plan for Twitter includes “making the algorithms open source to increase trust.” He’s risking billions of his own money, so he hardly wants users and advertisers to flee. There’s no digital Berlin Wall keeping people trapped in the Twitterverse.
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Appeared in the April 27, 2022, print edition.