Elon Musk’s recent Twitter buy-out is the demise of free speech for minorities on Twitter

Courtesy of The Royal Society | See bottom of story for attribution

Courtesy of The Royal Society | See bottom of story for attribution

Elliott Watkins, Columnist

Elon Musk is the world’s wealthiest man, the owner of Tesla and most recently the owner of Twitter. The ownership of Twitter was a pursuit in the name of “free speech” for Musk, but it seems to be another bad take from a privileged point of view. 

Free speech is significant because it allows for the masses to have access to honest and authentic information. 

“I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means,” Musk tweeted.

One thing that minority groups have had to face for centuries is being silenced by the majority. Twitter allowed diverse communities to safely interact with each other. The overarching issue with such free reign for everyone on Twitter is that while some people view this freedom as democracy, others could just as easily view it as anarchy. Freedom of speech shouldn’t be scapegoated for users on Twitter to spread hate. Without governing hate speech and bigotry by banning harmful accounts, the safe spaces for minority groups to share their experiences becomes even more minute.  

If there are no censoring systems in place, there are no repercussions of tweeting bigoted takes online.

Not only has Twitter already been a place of harmful interactions, the ability to spread misinformation is easier within a system that promotes freedom – the freedom to say what you want, including harmful and inaccurate information.

With the notion of making Twitter private and promoting free speech, many Twitter users are ecstatic to be able to voice opinions that would have once gotten them canceled or banned from Twitter, but others including myself fear the consequences this may bring. 

“Millions of Americans have been choking back their thoughts and opinions on this platform for YEARS out of fear of being suspended/canceled. I have a feeling the dam is about to break…#BringItOn #BeHeard,” country music artist and member of Big and Rich John Rich tweeted. 

According to The New York Times, groups such as far-right conservatives have vast amounts of followers that are banned from Twitter. The reinstatement of their accounts has given cause for celebration of the far-right. 

It is important to note that all who are banned from Twitter are done so on the grounds of not following the guidelines that one agrees to when signing up for their accounts. You’d think that everyone who argues, “Maybe if they wouldn’t have resisted arrest,” would understand the irony of throwing a fit over having a Twitter account banned for not following guidelines. 

Much like in kindergarten, if you are hurting someone else’s feelings or telling lies, it is not unreasonable to expect a “time-out” in the near future. This should be an expectation upheld throughout adulthood as well, especially when making harmful statements to people and their communities on Twitter. 

With that being said, I believe that the uncensored Twitter that Elon Musk is pursuing welcomes dangerous groups and beliefs, allowing those that encourage hate to have a voice.

Photo by Duncan Hall / CC BY 3.0