Elon Musk says his vision for Twitter aligns with the EU's upcoming social media rules

nanoguy

Posts: 1,232   +24
Staff member
Why it matters: For all his outlandish remarks, it would be easy to dismiss Musk's takeover of Twitter as a way to secure a megaphone for expressing his views to a wide audience. However, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO may have good intentions after all, even if only to appease regulators who are looking into the Twitter acquisition.

Elon Musk is known for his controversial takes posted on Twitter, but the Tesla billionaire recently made a statement that clarifies his intentions with the social media platform he's trying to acquire for a whopping $44 billion.

This week, Musk appeared in a video alongside European Commissioner Thierry Breton where he expressed his support for things such as the EU's Digital Services Act (DSA). With the DSA, European regulators will soon force tech giants to moderate the content posted on their platforms more aggressively to combat disinformation and prevent personal harm to individual users.

In the video, Musk said he believes the DSA is "exactly aligned" with the future goals of Twitter as a social platform. This suggests his previous outlandish remarks about being a "free speech absolutist" or relaxing Twitter's already lax moderation policies may have little to do with the actual plans he has for making it a better space for public conversation.

The latest statement confirms that Musk's idea of free speech on Twitter merely matches the legislation of the countries in which it operates, regardless of how permissive that legislation is. He recently noted that if people in a given country wish to have less free speech, they can ask their government to pass laws to that effect.

What is becoming more clear as time goes on is that some of Musk's suggested improvements for Twitter do bear some similarities with the DSA. For instance, the preliminary draft of the DSA suggests tech giants operating in the EU will have to exercise more transparency around the way their algorithms serve content to users. This aligns with Musk's plan to open-source Twitter's algorithm, but we'll have to wait and see whether or not that will materialize in the near future.

Another area of interest for both the DSA and the Musk-powered Twitter is to "authenticate all humans" on the platform. This poses the risk of leaving some users who wish to stay anonymous for obvious reasons exposed to threats of violence and punishment by death in several countries. However, it may also reduce the number of bots and fake accounts, something that's been the Achilles heel of social media for a while now.

Suffice to say that while Musk seems willing to please governments around the world, it's not yet clear how he plans to achieve that with a global social network. Content posted by users from one country is usually available to people around the world. Conversely, if one piece of content is subject to specific moderation policies in one country, that may affect what people in other countries see, potentially distorting the image they see.

Today, Twitter announced the first change to the way it operates with something it calls the "Copypasta and duplicate content policy." This will supposedly promote healthy conversation and combat spam and duplicate content from flooding the platform. Automated accounts posting spam will be subject for removal, while duplicative content will be downranked in replies and even removed from email recommendations.

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Dimitriid

Posts: 2,216   +4,268
Leave it to Elon try and marry 2 diametrically opposite views like crazy libertarian freezed peach absolutism and European Union set of rules and regulations.

So, this is as implausible and plain stupid as the hyper loop or the mars colony and reflects the deepest problem we have with society: We have fully replaced accountability, democratic and participatory processes and the consensus of people for whatever a crazed lunatic wants because people *think* he has a lot of money (He actually doesn't: Tesla is mostly pure speculation and there's no chance in hell it could ever be cashed out for even a tiny single digit percent of it's stock value)
 

fps4ever

Posts: 936   +1,364
Wait so he will happily limit free speech in countries, say Russia or China, That want to allow freedoms and distribute fake news?

The article is about the EU, not Russia or China? I don't know if EU's align with those two countries so serious question...

My viewpoint is he wants to correct more freedom of speech "twitter" rules for countries that will allow it on twitter. Nothing wrong with that.
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 729   +1,158
Wait so he will happily limit free speech in countries, say Russia or China, That want to allow freedoms and distribute fake news?
As far as I can tell, he would say those governments aren't acting in the interests of its people. Here's what he actually said...
If people want less free speech, they will ask government to pass laws to that effect.

Therefore, going beyond the law is contrary to the will of the people.
Compared to other companies that would take Twitter's place if it was banned by refusing to comply with government regulations, theoretically the experience would only be worse because there may be more moderation than required by law, monetization of user data, and government or nefarious actors involved.

Compared to the current situation, at least by authenticating all users as humans on the platform it should limit the amount of possible government propaganda. Then open-sourcing how content is delivered would make it transparent if government propaganda is being systematically delivered.
Suffice to say that while Musk seems willing to please governments around the world, it's not yet clear how he plans to achieve that with a global social network. Content posted by users from one country is usually available to people around the world. Conversely, if one piece of content is subject to specific moderation policies in one country, that may affect what people in other countries see, potentially distorting the image they see.
This is my biggest risk in my mind. It appears that moderation will be highly country-specific. But will individual tweets be hidden on a country by country basis or will countries' policies affect if some tweets will be hidden all around the world? I suspect if the former route is taken (the most free-speech friendly policy), the costs will be much higher. The hardest part of this problem is that governments with disinformation/other policies would need to have tweets evaluated by each policy because what one country says is fake news doesn't translate to fake news for the rest of the world.

This could allow Chinese citizens to tweet content hidden in China but shown to the rest of the world. In my opinion however the most likely route is that tweets will need to...

1. First be evaluated by government regulations in the country of origin. If the content doesn't pass, it is removed for everyone.

2. Then be evaluated by policies of other countries and hidden on a country-by-country basis if they do pass the originating country's regulations.​
 

dangh

Posts: 616   +969
That is actually good news. Twitter needs to be more open and transparent, have to support freedom of expression att he same time reducing desinformation and malicious intends. Seems like Trump still be flagged even after his return on Twitter.
 

eforce

Posts: 1,001   +1,452
I think this can work if Twitter makes it clear that the government is censoring you, not Twitter itself, perhaps citizens will take more responsibility when voting next time...
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,821   +6,787
That is actually good news. Twitter needs to be more open and transparent, have to support freedom of expression att he same time reducing desinformation and malicious intends. Seems like Trump still be flagged even after his return on Twitter.
Trump is claiming that he will not rejoin twitter https://www.foxnews.com/media/nunes-trump-elon-musks-twitter-truth-social but since he rarely says anything with even a modicum of truth, who knows?

And then there's this https://news.yahoo.com/donald-trump-lawsuit-over-twitter-225450219.html

IMO, Musk has no clue what he is getting himself into. He thinks that just because "he's rich" the world will bend to his will, or should I say the BS he spouts on a daily basis. In that respect, he is not much different from Trump.

EDIT: You are right, though. Look what happened to the My Pillow Guy - https://www.foxbusiness.com/politic...-twitter-account-after-being-banned-last-year
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,821   +6,787
I think this can work if Twitter makes it clear that the government is censoring you, not Twitter itself, perhaps citizens will take more responsibility when voting next time...
Perhaps. IMO, Musk is spouting BS about his intent when he knows that what is allowed will be dependent on the laws of the country - to which this article alludes. Unless Musk really is as clueless as I think and really does believe that he will be allowed to do what he wants just because he is "rich" regardless of the laws of a country.

I'll give a hypothetical - a Terrorist organization (as defined by the US) starts tweeting terrorist stuff on Twitter. Twitter, in the US could face charges of aiding a terrorist organization. Does anyone think that Musk will allow such terrorist groups on Twitter? Personally, I think if Musk is that dumb, he ought to go into retirement and just stop flapping his yap about how he can make things better.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,821   +6,787
As far as I can tell, he would say those governments aren't acting in the interests of its people. Here's what he actually said...
In what Musk said and you quoted, Musk is assuming that "the people" actually had a say as to what was made law. This is not necessarily true (e.g. China, Russia, and elsewhere) and, IMO, is a prime example of Musk's BS to make it sound like he is doing what the people want, when in some countries, this will not be true at all.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,821   +6,787
IMO, Musk speaks with forked tongue. One tong of the fork says "I'll reduce censorship to support freedom of speech" the other tong of the fork says "I will do what is necessary, including censorship to comply with laws passed by the country".
 

AlaskaGuy

Posts: 397   +300
Perhaps. IMO, Musk is spouting BS about his intent when he knows that what is allowed will be dependent on the laws of the country - to which this article alludes. Unless Musk really is as clueless as I think and really does believe that he will be allowed to do what he wants just because he is "rich" regardless of the laws of a country.

I'll give a hypothetical - a Terrorist organization (as defined by the US) starts tweeting terrorist stuff on Twitter. Twitter, in the US could face charges of aiding a terrorist organization. Does anyone think that Musk will allow such terrorist groups on Twitter? Personally, I think if Musk is that dumb, he ought to go into retirement and just stop flapping his yap about how he can make things better.
The official account of the Iranian govt. tweeted for the annihilation of Israel yet wasn't banned. Go figure eh.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,821   +6,787
The official account of the Iranian govt. tweeted for the annihilation of Israel yet wasn't banned. Go figure eh.
Well, that is really nothing new for them, and I also think it is something that has been public knowledge for a long time. Perhaps that is why Twitter did nothing about it, but all I am able to do is speculate.

I also think it is a bit different in that it is highly unlikely to happen. Perhaps radicalization of individuals is more likely to happen, and why the US has charged some citizens with materially supporting terrorism - https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/unit...ined-isis-charged-material-support-violations
I don't agree with Iran, obviously, but the US government forcing Twitter to take down those posts would probably have come close to infringing on the 1st Amendment Rights of Twitter - especially since those statements are already public knowledge.
 

Vanderlinde

Posts: 148   +102
Stupid EU goes alot more further then that, basicly require any company like whatsapp, signal, telegram and such to open up encryption to battle terrorism or child stuff.

EU is just a facist state. Nothing since the 84's has ever changed.
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,626   +4,600
TechSpot Elite
Stupid EU goes alot more further then that, basicly require any company like whatsapp, signal, telegram and such to open up encryption to battle terrorism or child stuff.

EU is just a facist state. Nothing since the 84's has ever changed.
The difference between the EU and the US is that the EU is passing proper laws and has proper discussions on these subjects while the US is doing it behind its citizens' backs. I wonder who is worse here.

You don't seem to understand what "facist" means.

FYI the legislation in question is just a draft and has not passed.
 
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NumberSix

Posts: 147   +200
Stupid EU goes alot more further then that, basicly require any company like whatsapp, signal, telegram and such to open up encryption to battle terrorism or child stuff.

EU is just a facist state. Nothing since the 84's has ever changed.
if you aren't a terrorist or a kiddy fiddler then you don't have owt to worry about do you.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,908   +7,879
Big talk from a guy that doesn't even have SEC approval on the sale, of course a simple thing like rules and laws has never stopped him before ......