Elon Musk's Twitter vision

9 May 2022

Digital spaces might one day simultaneously broadcast millions of statements to millions of listeners and readers, something that the founding fathers of the United States may not have envisaged when they established the country.

Also, they may not have anticipated that those digital places, such as town halls, sidewalks, and courthouse steps which in less technologically sophisticated eras housed the majority of Americans' political discourse, would, in many instances, supersede the conventional ones.

However, Elon Musk's upcoming move to privatize Twitter (TWTR), one of the social media's most contentious forums, raises the question of whether First Amendment speech rights apply to private forums that leverage the public internet to elevate and conceal third-party views, as in the case of Tesla.

To the extent that Twitter functions as the de facto public town square, as Musk wrote days before disclosing his plans to purchase the social media network in a March Twitter tweet, 

"failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy. What should be done?"

As far as social media behemoths go, Twitter has 229 million monthly active users, significantly lower than the 2.9 billion Facebook (FB), YouTube (GOOG) 2.6 billion, Instagram (FB) 1.5 billion, and TikTok's 1 billion monthly active users.

No matter how big or little things are compared, Musk believes "Twitter is the digital town square where topics essential to the future of mankind are argued."

Even though this subject has been discussed for many years, no resolution has been found despite several Congressional hearings.

Twitter's controversial decision to exclude former President Trump from using the social media network was upheld on Friday by a federal court dismissing Trump's claim.

What should be done is separate from what legally can be done to prevent Twitter or other social platforms from interfering with their users' postings, say constitutional law experts, notwithstanding social media's ability to attract and police a big part of the nation's crucial conversations.

"Private corporations are private," Stanford Law School professor Nate Persily said, laying out the fundamental rationale for concluding that social media entities are entitled to regulate their user's speech. "They don't have to respect the First Amendment. They have First Amendment rights themselves."

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects internet platforms from being held liable for the words of their users by allowing them to pick and choose whatever information is published on their websites.

Write & Read to Earn with BULB

Learn More

Enjoy this blog? Subscribe to Qwavivi007


No comments yet.
Most relevant comments are displayed, so some may have been filtered out.