Elon Musk Says Twitter Had “No Real Choice” But to Comply with Government Censorship Requests
After criticism of billionaire Elon Musk and the owner of Twitter for his response to government censorship requests, Musk said Sunday that Twitter had “no real choice” to comply with those requests.
Musk’s Beliefs on Freedom of Speech and Twitter
This comment comes after Musk described himself in precedence as “absolute freedom of speech”. She said she wanted to buy Twitter to improve users’ ability to speak freely on the platform.
Shortly after agreeing to the Twitter takeover, Musk explained his approach to free speech by saying, “Can someone you don’t like say something you don’t like? And if so, then we have free speech.”
Musk’s Recent Backlash
He added at the time that Twitter would be “very reluctant to take things down, be very careful with permanent bans” and that the platform would aim to allow all legal talk.
But Musk has faced a setback in recent weeks for appearing subject to government censorship requests, including removing some accounts and tweets at the request of the Turkish government in view of the country’s elections different from the demands of the Indian government.
In a BBC interview last month, Musk was asked if Twitter had removed a documentary about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the request of the Indian government, and he said he didn’t know “exactly what happened.”
Bloomberg columnist Matthew Iglesias took to Twitter on Sunday, noting that Twitter has complied with most government takedown requests since Musk took ownership of the platform. Musk replied: “Please indicate where we had an actual choice and we will reverse it (referring to a lack of options).”
Musk’s Take on Laws Governing Social Media
Musk has previously said the company will abide by the laws that govern corporations social media in all over the world, though in some cases such laws are in conflict with his views on freedom of expression.
In an interview last month with the BBC, Musk said: “The rules in India on what can appear on social media they are very strict and we can’t ignore any country’s laws…and if we had a choice or our employees would go in prison or we will respect the laws, we will respect the laws”.
Elsewhere in the interview, Musk said, “If people in a certain country are against a certain type of speech, they should talk to their elected representatives and pass a law to prevent it”. “By ‘freedom of expression’ I mean what is within the law and I am against censorship that goes beyond the law,” Musk said in a tweet last year about his take on Twitter.
Twitter’s Compliance with Local Laws and Takedown Requests
In some countries, Twitter can face significant fines and other penalties, including system bans for non-compliance with local laws.
However, prior to the Musk takeover, Twitter frequently resisted government takedown calls in court, including those from India and Turkey, as well as publicly posting detailed information about such requests and how it handles them.
In many cases, Twitter has led the charge among companies social media in protecting the rights of its users in Worldwide.
In its last report on takedown requests before the Musk takeover, Twitter said it received more than 47,000 takedown requests between July and December 2021 and complied with 51% of them.
AND in many cases, when they agree to a removal request due to the laws of a particular country, they only remove the offensive content in that country, not globally.
Musk’s Recent Criticism for Twitter’s New Policies
Musk has also been criticized for backtracking on his vision of “freedom of expression” when Twitter temporarily blocked the accounts of several high-profile journalists in December, claiming they violated the site’s new “control of information” policy.