IT IS OFFICIAL. After months of wrangling, the eclectic tycoon Elon Musk plans to move forward with his agreement to purchase the social networking giant Twitter.
The news has been widely celebrated by Republicans and free speech advocates, who for years have denounced the company’s aggressive censorship of conservatives and those who question official political narratives. The most blatant example of this was the banning of then President Donald Trump in January 2021 after the January 6th riots on Capitol Hill.
One of Musk’s central pledges when taking over Twitter was a genuine commitment to free speech. Earlier this year, Musk argued that “given Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy.”
Now the deal is proceeding, Musk needs to make good on those commitments. There are many prominent figures, mostly firebrand conservatives, who have been permanently banned from the platform since 2016. These include, but are not limited to Trump himself, Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe, InfoWars host Alex Jones, podcaster Carl Benjamin, the singer Azelia Banks, the scientist Dr. Robert Malone and former Republican congressional candidate Laura Loomer.
Lifting these bans on day one of his reign will prove Musk means is serious about free speech. This is not to say that Twitter must not have rules and guidelines; actions such as inciting racial hatred or organizing threatening harassment or violence should obviously be met with some degree of punishment.
Many on the left have threatened to leave the platform should these bans be reversed. Although some may follow through, this is not a concern. The reason conservatives have been unable to wretch themselves away from Twitter is that it does operate as a town square where people from all sides of the political divide can come together. What’s more, its product experience and user interface unsurprisingly remain far superior to all the alternative platforms.
If Musk can follow through on his promises, then Twitter is perfectly positioned to grow its user base and become a home of global free speech. Yet the censorship lobby will not give in without a fight. Whatever happens, any serious transformation of Twitter will require a marathon, not a sprint.
Ben Kew is English Editor of El American. He studied politics and modern languages at the University of Bristol where he developed a passion for the Americas and anti-communist movements. He previously worked as a national security correspondent for Breitbart News. He has also written for The Spectator, Spiked, PanAm Post, and The Independent
Ben Kew es editor en inglés de El American. Estudió política y lenguas modernas en la Universidad de Bristol, donde desarrolló una pasión por las Américas y los movimientos anticomunistas. Anteriormente trabajó como corresponsal de seguridad nacional para Breitbart News. También ha escrito para The Spectator, Spiked, PanAm Post y The Independent.