Research shows no free lunch for Musk in Twitter free speech quest

Informatics professor Filippo Menczer in The Conversation, May 11, 2022, says Elon Mask’s bold bid to acquire Twitter and convert it to a free speech haven free of censorship of conservative views and excessive moderation has inspired much debate. Research shows that although social media companies are often lax in enforcing policies, there is no evidence of anti-conservative bias but revealed that Twitter has a conservative bias. And changing Twitter’s regulatory practices would allow free reign for inauthentic accounts given to “…amplifying disinformation, influencing elections, committing financial fraud, infiltrating vulnerable communities and disrupting communication.” So lack of regulation would allow real users to be inundated by inauthentic accounts and the like.

Twitter began as a hard line free speech forum but soon found that untrammeled free speech did not produce felicitous results. “Mr. Musk is a relative dilettante on the topic, writes Shira Lvide, The New York Times, April 126, 2022, “and hasn’t yet tackled the difficult trade-offs in which giving one person a voice may silence the expression of others, and in which an almost-anything-goes space for expression might be overrun with spam, nudity, propaganda from autocrats, the bullying of children and violent incitements.”

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