Washington D.C. — Elon Musk’s public revelation of an offer to purchase Twitter raises serious concerns about the company’s commitment to protect the rights of vulnerable communities and the public interest. The self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist” has frequently called for a rollback of the platform’s content moderation policies and practices, a move that would be in direct opposition to the demands of Muslim Advocates and other civil rights groups. This is extra troubling as Muslim Advocates has previously and repeatedly sounded the alarm that Twitter is already endangering American Muslims and other marginalized communities by failing to enforce their existing policies on hateful content.
Sumayyah Waheed, Senior Policy Counsel at Muslim Advocates, released the following statement:
“Elon Musk has publicly paraded his desire for less accountability on the platform under the guise of free speech. Twitter already has a serious problem of failing to enforce its policies, which creates real danger for Muslims and other marginalized groups. In recent months, Muslim Advocates raised concerns directly with Twitter about its decision to not take action on anti-Muslim and anti-trans tweets by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene that clearly violated the company’s hateful conduct policies.
It is alarming enough that the platform cannot hold itself accountable to its own standards. It will be a disaster if Twitter further rolls back content moderation back because of Musk’s influence. If this deal goes through, or even if Musk remains a significant influence on Twitter’s board, we have serious concerns that the company will do even less to enforce its standards on hateful content—putting power and profit above the safety and wellbeing of its users. For years, the platform has been weaponized as an echo chamber for extremist voices with limited consequence for their flagrant displays of hate speech.
Online hate speech is a serious threat to the nation’s marginalized communities and frequently translates into offline attacks. This is made worse when the rich and powerful minimize the real-life consequences of such vile rhetoric with a misleading excuse of ‘free speech.’ As we continue to witness legislative leaders leverage Twitter to spread anti-Muslim, antisemitic, anti-LGBTQ content, as well as other forms of hate speech, we desperately need the platform to actually enforce its content rules and guard against efforts to further weaken them.”
Muslim Advocates is a national civil rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.