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Forums - Politics Discussion - Elon Musk acquires a 9 percent stake in Twitter


Is free speech suppressed on the internet's main public squares

Yes 32 52.46%
No 27 44.26%
Undecided 2 3.28%

Tesla CEO Elon Musk acquired a 9 percent stake in Twitter to become its largest shareholder at a time when he is questioning the social media platform's dedication to free speech and the First Amendment.

In a climate of censorship and violation of the right to freedom of speech, this news can change the political and social climate of the social media sphere.

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One more reason to avoid Twitter I guess

What does Twitter have to do with "public squares"? It's a digital equivalent of a private auditorium.

If I had 1 cent for every time someone misunderstood or misrepresented 'the right' to freedom of speech, I would be richer than Elon Musk.

padib said:

violation of the right to freedom of speech

Could you explain how you feel this is related to Twitter?

Because the right to freedom of speech that people keep bringing up does not work the way they think.

Not only does it specifically apply to censorship, interference and restraint by the government, in the U.S. constitution.
And Twitter is not the government. Nor is VGChartz.
But even the protections from the government is restricted by time, place and manner. It always has been.

The Supreme Court of the United States has recognized several categories of speech that are given lesser or no protection by the First Amendment and has recognized that governments may enact reasonable time, place, or manner restrictions on speech. The First Amendment's constitutional right of free speech, prevents only government restrictions on speech, not restrictions imposed by private individuals or businesses unless they are acting on behalf of the government.

To my knowledge, since language was invented there has never been any civilization where people could say whatever they want, with no consequences.

Last edited by Hiku - on 05 April 2022

He's so desperate to be liked, the living embodiment of "how do you do, fellow kids?"

Anyway, I don't think the guy who amassed a following of millions and then when his feelings were hurt, publicly and falsely accused a British rescue diver of being a paedophile is the best judge on what 'freedom of speech' should entail or the best person to have influence in Twitter's policies. Also can't wait for double the amount of NFT/Crypto shilling on Twitter as well...

He should probably focus on the racial abuse happening in his own companies rather than shit posting on Twitter all day.

Last edited by Ryuu96 - on 05 April 2022

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Was I happy about Twitter and Facebook censoring conservatives? No.

Did I pretty much quit using those services? Yep.

Did I support calls for them to be investigated and regulated? No. They are companies that owe their allegiance to their shareholders, and if the shareholders leave those same leaders in place, then the majority of the shares must support censorship of conservatives, and that's their choice.

Now that Elon Musk is a major shareholder, and potentially about to be a majority share owner...

Am I happy Twitter will be censoring less conservative voices and being more neutral? Yes.

Will I use Twitter if it becomes less censoring of ideas the far left hates? Probably not.

Do I think liberals freaking out over Musk are being ridiculous? Absolutely. He is a moderate. He isn't going to take over Twitter and shut down liberal ideas, he just is going to push for everyone's voices to be heard and not just ones supported by the far left. The vast majority of conservatives are not Alt Right, just like the vast majority of liberals aren't Antifa, Musk just wants people to be treated fairly and ideas to be treated fairly.

Dulfite said:

Was I happy about Twitter and Facebook censoring conservatives? No.

Do you have examples of this, where they didn't break Terms of Service?
Because I'd wager outside of very rare instances, that's always going to be the case.

If someone goes on Twitter and spreads harmful misinformation, their posts may get flagged, or account suspended for that reason.
If they're let's say religious and harass gay people, they can get suspended for that.

Conservatives in the U.S. are seemingly much more prone to breaking terms of service for obvious reasons.

If someone is bigoted towards minorities, chances are next to zero that they vote for the party with "oPeN bOaRdErS".
If someone is spreading Q-Anon conspiracy theories about jewish space lasers (shoutout to Marjory Taylor Green), if you look at their timeline, chances are they've re-tweeted a lot of comments from a certain red hat wearing president.
If you frequently watch channels like Fox News, who question reality (actual quote from Mike Wallace about why he left the channel) chances are also much higher that you're a conservative.

If you're a holocaust denier, which is illegal in some countries, and a bannable offense here, chances are also very high that you're part of a white supremacist group. And they're traditionally also not big fans of the party that wants 'open borders' or protections for women's rights, etc.

If you're a sexual harasser, predator or deviant, that anti-cancel culture talk is going to start sounding really good at some point. Especially when you get caught.
Which party speaks the loudest about this issue again?

So when the group that is more prone to expressing sentiments that break terms of service face the consequences, they claim it's because they're conservatives. But it's because they broke TOS.

Last edited by Hiku - on 05 April 2022

Pretty good video on the topic:

Elon might be voicesterous but he isn't going to do something with Twitter that is going to get him sued and costs him billions. It's funny and sad that just the amount of money Tesla's stock fluctuates from week to week is enough money for Elon to purchase Twitter's 40 billion dollar market cap outright.  Edit also funny that after democrats were pushing for Elon to pay more taxes, so he put up a twitter poll asking if he should sell shares of his stock to pay taxes (which he had to do anyways) but than goes and spends the money he sold that stock for to buy 9% of Twitter.

"Freedom of speech," huh? A lot of people don't seem to quite understand what that means. If you want the short, short version, skip to the "TL;DR" at the bottom, but here's the long version.

Since I'm an American and I'm most familiar with my nation's own constitution, let's take a look at what it says about freedom of speech, shall we?

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Those first few words, especially its very first one, are crucial:

"Congress shall make no law..."

The U.S. Constitution's enumeration of rights is written in a rather specific way, namely as a restriction on government power. The First Amendment means the government can't throw you in prison for, say, insulting the president. The Fourteenth Amendment is generally understood as making the rights enumerated in the Constitution applicable to the states as well, whereas prior to that the First Amendment and others were considered applicable only to the federal government, meaning the states still had the power to abrogate those rights. And of course, at no point was the First Amendment ever considered absolute. There have always been certain limitations. Those limitations currently include, but are not limited to, fraud, false advertising, perjury, contempt of court, incitement to imminent lawless action, "true threats," dissemination of classified information (i.e., state/military secrets), child pornography, and copyright infringement. Defamation can also potentially carry civil penalties.

But the language of the First Amendment says nothing about restricting the power of owners of private property to govern speech on said property. A parent is not violating their child's First Amendment rights by putting them in time-out for being rude and disrespectful. A grocery store is not violating a person's First Amendment rights if they kicked them out for swearing loudly and generally being a nuisance. And a website is not violating a person's First Amendment rights by moderating or banning them from that site. Here on VGC, we moderators have had to ban, either temporarily or sometimes even permanently, people who broke our rules regarding what cannot be said. If the First Amendment was a restriction on private power, we would be powerless to stop people from posting just about anything they wanted.

Same goes for Twitter and other social media platforms. As the Constitution is a limitation on government power, not of private property, Twitter's owners have the right to establish whatever rules they see fit that define what is and is not considered acceptable behavior, and implement punishments for violation of those rules, up to and including permanent bans.

The text of the First Amendment also implies freedom of association that stems from both the enumerated rights of freedoms of speech and assembly. The right to free association also entails a right to not associate with someone. For example, a private club is largely free to set rules on who is or is not allowed in the organization and and to kick someone out of their organization for just about any reason. Again, this freedom is not absolute, and there are numerous laws and Supreme Court decisions regarding this. For example, federal civil rights legislation prohibits private property determined to be a "public accommodation" from discriminating against someone on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, and disability, and some states, counties, and municipalities have similar laws prohibiting those public accommodations to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Private organizations have also on rare occasion been subject to limitations to who they can exclude (see Roberts v. United States Jaycees), but current jurisprudence has given them a lot of leeway in determining their membership (see Boy Scouts of America v. Dale and Hurley v. Irish American Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Group of Boston). But it's worth pointing out that viewpoint discrimination is not disallowed under civil rights legislation, which makes sense in that a person can help what their opinions and worldview are, but they cannot help what their race, etc., is.

But as stated earlier, businesses generally are free to disassociate themselves from those who break rules regarding behavior. It's a generally held principle that any place of business can refuse service to anyone, provided that the reason for doing so does not run afoul of anti-discrimination legislation protecting certain groups. A restaurant or night club can have and enforce a dress code. A social media platform can ban someone for posting racial slurs or COVID-19 misinformation. A video game message board can moderate someone for insulting people on the basis on their preferred platform. Et cetera.

As for other nations, to the best of my knowledge most if not all other developed nations that have basic rights enshrined in their constitutions or other national documents consider those rights to be protected against government limitation, not limitations imposed by private property owners on those on or using their property (again barring whatever limitations may be imposed by anti-discrimination statutes in those nations).

TL;DR version: Twitter is not violating anybody's freedom of speech by banning them for violation of the site's rules. That's not how the law works. Get over it.

EDIT: Corrected for typos and to add examples of relevant court decisions re: freedom of association.

Last edited by Shadow1980 - on 06 April 2022


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