Is Elon Musk the best or the worst for Twitter?

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Corynne McSherry. Photo credit: Electronic Frontier Foundation

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Legal Director Corynne McSherry discusses with host Robert Scheer the internet control issues raised by Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter and what may lie ahead for it and other social media giants.

Twitter along with Facebook, Google and others of that ilk have been treated as public utilities delivering a neutral product comparable to water or natural gas and allowed to develop monopoly dominance in their respective markets as a means of insuring efficiency. Towards that end they have been allowed to ignore antitrust restraints in gobbling up potential competitors and are protected by laws like the infamous Section 230 that shield them from libel and defamation suits.

But in the current hyper-charged political environment, the material carried on those networks is often judged to be anything but neutral or benign, and there are incessant demands for “content moderation” to exclude material some find toxic. The ascendence of Elon Musk to the ownership of Twitter has brought fresh publicity to that debate because Musk has at times spoken against some moderation that he defines as censorship. What will he do now in control of the world’s most influential forum for this current controversy?

Corynne McSherry,and the Electronic Frontier Foundation she represents in legal action, is a staunch opponent of political censorship but believes that responsible content moderation is now called for and fears that Musk will not deliver. Host Robert Scheer believes content moderation is a polite label for censorship in the hands of humongous private corporations that are not restricted by the free speech and press guarantees of our Constitution that apply only to government actors. Both agree that breaking up the large monopolies to provide greater competition is the best way to proceed.



Joshua Scheer