Elon Musk’s takeover plans for Twitter continue to raise eyebrows. His announcement to restore the supposedly lost freedom of speech on the platform and also to give Donald Trump his account back has so far earned applause mainly in right-wing conservative circles.
After his powerful moves both in and out of the crypto trading market – which is currently going through crucial times, driven by the trading bot for Kraken software – Musk has things pretty clear when it comes to his hard-earned money.
Among liberals, parts of the workforce, and organizations that campaign against hate on the Internet and the spread of dangerous fake news, Musk’s announcement is perceived as a dangerous threat.
How Left-Wing Is Twitter?
This has also reignited the political debate that has been simmering for years about whether the platform favors more left-wing or right-wing ideological content and people. For Elon Musk, the matter is clear.
“Twitter obviously has a strong left-wing spin,” he wrote. Far-right commentator Mike Cernovich had previously mocked Twitter for not blocking journalist Caroline Reilly, even though she had welcomed an arson attack on anti-abortion activists.
But how valid is Musk’s political assessment of left-wing Twitteria? All scientific studies show that right-wing conservative content in social media like Facebook or Twitter is favored by the algorithm and is therefore displayed significantly more often.
Twitter itself had also pointed out this circumstance in the fall of the previous year with its own investigation and attempted to refute the accusations of alleged unfair treatment repeated prayerfully by right-wing conservatives.
In doing so, the company also wanted to go some way toward rectifying an interview with Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, who admitted in a CNN interview back in 2018 that the majority of Twitter employees probably belong politically to the left-liberal camp.
What Does Musk Change?
Musk does not want the lifting of the block to be understood as a carte blanche for Trump and thus once again gets entangled in contradictions to other statements made.
“Wrong and bad tweets” are to be made invisible or deleted even after his takeover. Even a temporary block if someone violates laws or behaves “destructively towards the world” is permissible, Musk said.
But what would be the consequences of Musk’s planned looser access for moderation in the first place – and for whom? A quick rundown:
- … for Donald Trump? For now, the former U.S. president has not responded to Musk’s new remarks. But at the end of April, he said he would not return to the platform even if the company rehabilitated him. He had been “disappointed in how Twitter treated me,” he gave as the reason at the time, even though Musk was “an excellent person.”
- … for the political climate in the U.S.? Especially since the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021, after which Trump himself was also blocked, it has been true that Twitter is looking a little more closely at moderation and blocking of hate and fake accounts. How much has that changed? That’s an open question. Even in 2021, much misinformation about the Corona pandemic spread rapidly, with many right-wing Republicans enjoying good approval ratings in polls. Trump himself also managed to get many – but not all – of his desired candidates elected in the currently ongoing primaries.
- … for America’s oligarchs? Musk and Trump are not the only ones among America’s heavyweights who have in the past advocated that online discussion should once again be allowed to be more robustly right-wing. Billionaire Peter Thiel, through the company he helps run, Palantir, is also considered a champion of “free speech” online. Thiel has also supported several candidates in the current U.S. election campaign – some of them successfully.