The left’s meltdown over Elon Musk purchasing Twitter was predictable, yet still astounding. Progressives have leaned into the argument that free speech equals hate speech.
Groups like the ACLU and Amnesty International predict Musk will unleash Armageddon-levels of hate (i.e. white supremacy) if he lifts the company’s heavy-handed approach to content moderation of conservative voices — an admission of censorship within itself.
They are panicked that minorities will not be safe from racially-motivated criticism and even violence.
Free speech actually makes room for all marginalized voices, but weakens the outsized influence of minority activists with massive digital bullhorns.
Let’s expose the truth: today’s race baiters have a lot of power and influence over the media and policymakers thanks to Twitter.
They don’t want to lose it.
It’s been amusing to observe the propagators of racial division coming out of the woodwork. NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in a statement, “Disinformation, misinformation and hate speech have NO PLACE on Twitter.” Johnson’s biggest fear is that Musk might end the platform’s ban on former President Trump’s account. He pleaded to Musk: “lives are at risk, and so is American democracy.”
In a recent show segment, MSNBC host Joy Reid claimed that conservatives like Twitter because it’s a tool of violence they can wield against minorities. In her view, conservatives’ alternatives to Twitter failed because “They don’t want to talk to each other, they want to talk to us. They want to talk to the culture. If they were not where Black Twitter was, they would be sad because they could not attack Black people.”
Reid’s guest Anand Giridharadas added that “Elon Musk lives in a world in which the only kind of free speech is white men feeling free to say whatever the hell they want.” Apparently, “more abundant and equitable speech terrifies the crap out of people like Elon Musk.”
Columnist Perry Bacon Jr. of The Washington Post explained that minorities’ outsized influence on Twitter makes the platform “one place in American society where Black women are often very influential voices, particularly on political issues.”
Twitter is a means of power-balancing against the wealthy and powerful people.
Writer and Black Lives Matter (BLM) activist Shaun King claimed this move “isn’t about left vs right,” but about “how the richest man in the world, a son of Apartheid, raised by a white nationalist, wants to be sure his speech, and that of other white men, isn’t censored.”
The irony is that King has a colorful history of his own: he claims to be biracial but has been accused of lying about being Black. (King also faces accusations of mishandling charitable money given for social justice efforts and he has been condemned by a woman for fundraising off her dead son’s name).
This writer doesn’t know why King is upset.
Wouldn’t Musk be protecting his speech either way?
A Los Angeles Times op-ed makes an ominous prediction that this is “the beginning of the end of #BlackTwitter.”
Interestingly, Musk has stated very clearly that he hopes his critics — and presumably this includes those concerned that his leadership will fuel online racism — stay on Twitter and continue to criticize him. Musk doesn’t want the end of any movement on Twitter; he simply wants the end of censorship.
Twitter has been a powerful force for progressive Black voices. Hashtag movements such as #BlackLivesMatter #ICantBreathe and #SayHerName took BLM from the fringe to the mainstream, becoming a household name.
It garnered the network of organizations tens of millions of dollars too.
Hashtags like #OscarsSoWhite pressured the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to add more Blacks and racial minorities to their ranks and prompted more “representation” in front of and behind the camera in Hollywood.
Blacks have built a Twitter social-media complex to marshall resources, amplify messages, mobilize foot soldiers, and secure votes thereby creating a new voting power center for the Democratic Party.
So emboldened by their success, BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors demanded a meeting with then-President Elect Joe Biden to discuss his commitments adding, “We want something for our vote.”
Progressive privilege, power, influence, and money are on the line for these people.
They view Musk’s promises of greater free speech as a hegemonic threat.
The changes to Twitter that Elon Musk floats should be welcomed by anyone who truly values protecting the voices of marginalized Americans in the digital public square.
He wants the company to authenticate all users as all real human beings to fight spam bots.
This move would probably expose just how many accounts are controlled by a single user with the sole purpose of amplifying messages, harassing people, and causing content to trend.
Removing this layer of anonymity may also discourage the vitriolic, divisive and even violent language that threatens people of all identities — liberals and conservatives, Blacks and whites, men and women, gay and straight, transgender, and cisgender.
Add to that long-form tweets and we have an environment for greater thoughtful exchanges of ideas rather than base name-calling and threats.
In addition, if Musk makes Twitter’s algorithm open-source — making publicly available the calculus that determines what appears on a person’s Twitter feed, Axios explains — we might know what is really trending and happening rather than being manipulated by biased Twitter staffers.
This leveling of the playing field would actually make room for the marginalized voices that the left dismisses such as conservative minorities, like this writer, or those who challenge their dominant views on issues such as gender ideology, climate change, and COVID-19 policies.
Musk is a disruptor and will agitate the left’s social media bubble. Race baiters are understandably rattled and concerned that if he makes Twitter friendlier to free speech they would lose the advantages they have exploited to suppress other viewpoints and to elevate their causes.
Race baiters don’t want free speech; they want speech they can control.
Open-minded social media consumers should ponder why.