Musk says Twitter will promote free speech but limit spread of hateful language


Elon Musk
In this March 14, 2019, file photo Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks before unveiling the Model Y at Tesla's design studio in Hawthorne, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Musk says Twitter will promote free speech but limit spread of hateful language

Elon Musk said that Twitter would protect free speech on the platform but will limit the spread of hateful language.

Musk outlined the new content moderation policy on Friday against the backdrop of mass user reaction over the platform’s viability after an estimated 1,200 employees left the company after Musk demanded they embrace a “hardcore” work style. Musk had previously said that he would create a council to oversee moderation decisions.

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“New Twitter policy is freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach,” Musk tweeted on Friday. “Negative/hate tweets will be max deboosted & demonetized, so no ads or other revenue to Twitter. You won’t find the tweet unless you specifically seek it out, which is no different from rest of Internet.”


Musk’s proposed method resembles “shadow banning,” a tool that many conservatives have accused Twitter, under its previous ownership, of using against them.

Musk also brought back several banned accounts to the platform, including the Babylon Bee, Jordan Peterson, and Kathy Griffin. He also said that the company has not decided whether to bring former President Donald Trump back to the platform. Some accounts were still left off the platform, though. Musk also said that Infowars host Alex Jones would not be allowed back on Twitter.

Musk’s decisions conflicted with earlier statements that the company would not make any content moderation decisions until after forming a “content moderation council.” Musk has not revealed any additional information about the council.


The company has also been pressured by advertisers and civil rights groups, who have asked that Musk ensure that hateful content such as neo-Nazis or election misinformation is not allowed on the platform. Musk had initial meetings with civil rights groups in the first week but has been critical of the organizations, saying in tweets that they wish to limit free speech.

Hundreds of Twitter employees resigned Thursday after Musk issued a letter that week requiring that they either sign a memo agreeing to work at a “hardcore” Twitter or receive three months of severance. An estimated 1,000 to 1,200 employees resigned from their posts, according to Fortune.

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