Charlotte Alter, Time magazine’s national correspondent, dismissed Elon Musk’s desire for free speech on Twitter in a Friday article. She said it was a white man obsession and an entrepreneurial way to gain influence and power around the world.
She claimed that Musk’s notion of free speech was about the right to spread misinformation and had nothing to do the Founding Fathers original intention.
Alter started her piece by suggesting that Musk should have invested his $44 billion in something more worthwhile than “free speech,” which she used throughout the piece.
She wrote that “Some people believe that something is worth more than what they will pay for it.” If this is true, then protecting free speech, which Elon Musk cited as the main reason he bought Twitter for $44billion, could be twice as valuable as solving America’s homelessness crisis and seven times more than solving world hunger.
The author wondered then why Musk, a wealthy techie, would care about freedom speech and how it had “become a paramount concern of the technomoral universe.”
Then she cited Fred Turner, Stanford University professor of communication, as the answer. He agreed that it was a dominant obsession among the most elite.
Alter claimed then that “free speech” in the 21st Century means something different from what it meant in the 18th century, when it was enshrined in the Constitution.
She explained that the right to speak your mind without being imprisoned does not mean the right to disinformation millions upon millions of people via a corporate platform.
This was a part of the author’s quest to break boundaries. “In a culture that values achieving impossible goals, some tech titans might also view the liberal consensus regarding acceptable speech as another boundary to break.”
Alter invited Jason Goldman, who was part of the original team that founded Twitter before joining the Obama administration.
Goldman believes that a more relaxed approach to content moderation is inherently anti-speech. This is because it will drive away a group of users who might use your product, but don’t feel safe.
Alter stated that Musk views free speech differently as he is part of engineer culture.