Washington Examiner: Musk Twitter takeover could prompt Big Tech to censor less, conservatives hope

April 15, 2022

Washington Examiner

Billionaire Elon Musk’s attempt to take Twitter private and make it more free-speech oriented could nudge other social media giants to censor less content in order to remain relevant, conservative tech scholars argue.

The news of Musk’s offer to buy Twitter for $41 billion Thursday has raised the prospect that if he succeeds in making the platform more popular and free speech inclined, then tech giants such as Facebook and Google could be pressured into changing their content moderation policies and algorithms as well.

“Facebook, Google, and others will have to reevaluate if their current censorship policies will continue,” said Mike Davis, president of the Internet Accountability Project, a conservative advocacy group.

“There will be pressure to change their content moderation policies that censor conservatives and others they disagree with,” he added.

Conservatives often cite prominent examples of anti-Republican or anti-conservative bias on Big Tech platforms, including Trump’s widespread social media bans, the suppression on Twitter of a New York Post story about Hunter Biden before the 2020 election, and the many famous conservatives who have been suspended or kicked off Twitter for flouting the platform’s content moderation policies.

Davis added that relying on Musk to buy and change Twitter and other social media platforms was a “Band-Aid solution over the gaping wound of Big Tech” and that a more sustainable solution to reining in the tech giants is having greater choice within the social media industry by updating the laws around antitrust and content moderation.

Conservatives are hopeful that Musk could unintentionally compel large social media platforms to change their content moderation policies to become more free speech oriented.

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