Por Kanishka Singh
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Human rights groups on Monday raised concerns about hate speech on Twitter and the power that the sale of the company will give billionaire Elon Musk after the self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist” agreed to buy the company. social network and make it a privately held company.
Musk, who is also chief executive of electric car maker Tesla, has criticized Twitter’s policies to moderate content on the platform.
The billionaire, who has about 84 million Twitter followers, said the company needed to become a genuine forum for free speech. In a statement after securing the platform’s purchase deal on Monday, Musk described free speech as “the foundation of a functioning democracy.”
Twitter is not just another company, human rights advocates noted. “Regardless of who controls Twitter, the company has a responsibility to respect the rights of people around the world who trust the platform. Changes to its policies, features and algorithms, large and small, can have disproportionate and sometimes devastating impacts, including offline violence,” Deborah Brown, a digital rights researcher and advocate for Human Rights Watch, told Reuters.
“Free speech is not an absolute right, which is why Twitter needs to invest in efforts to keep its most vulnerable users safe on the platform,” he added.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment on concerns raised by human rights groups.
“While Elon Musk is a card-carrying member of the ACLU and one of our most important supporters, there is too much danger in having that much power in the hands of any one individual,” Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, told Reuters.
Amnesty International said it was concerned about any possible decision by Twitter that could erode enforcement of policies and mechanisms designed to moderate online hate speech.
“The last thing we need is a Twitter account that voluntarily turns a blind eye to violent and abusive speech against users, particularly those most disproportionately impacted, including women, non-binary people and others,” said Michael Kleinman, director of technology and human rights. at Amnesty International USA.