Elon’s free speech defection

Last week Media Matters ran a hit piece regarding Musk condoning alleged antisemitism on the platform, causing some advertisers to defect. Musk went on the attack, claiming that Media Matters took the data out of content, which I do not dispute. I think he is right. My opinion of Media Matters, like all watchdog non-profits, is low. These organizations are hardly impartial, but are biased like the rest of the media.

But on the 17th he instituted a ban on ‘euphemisms that imply genocide’. How is ‘decolonization’ a call for genocide? This is ludicrous. Even the most uncharitable twisting of definitions doesn’t presuppose such a conclusion.

So the famously thin-skinned billionaire in the end puts money ahead of principles. This was evident by banning Kanye West last year for tweeting a cartoon that was interpreted as antisemitic. Who is still buying the angle of Elon being a champion of free speech. I was wrong to some degree in this regard because I had predicted after the buyout that Elon would have more discretion.

It’s the advertisers, and to a lesser extent his social circle, who dictate what is allowed or not, not the users. I am guessing he got some pushback from people close to him for not doing enough to combat ‘hate speech’ on the platform. Which is fine and understandable from a business perspective, but let’s not pretend Musk is a savior of free speech, when he’s not.

There is no single conception of what free speech means. Unconditional speech does not exist; it’s more like free speech exists provided certain topics are not broached. The rules may seem arbitrary or contradictory. It’s ok to criticize the ADL but not Israel, for example.

It’s easy to beat up on the woke in the context of censorship over things in which ‘the ingroup’ can agree on, such as the woke’s denial of gender differences or the inclusion of trans athletes in cis-sports, but the Gaza conflict resists the easy categorization and the convenient or obvious battlelines of past culture war issues.