October 28, 2022
Issue: Corporate Accountability
Muslim Advocates: Musk Twitter Acquisition Raises Serious Safety Concerns
WASHINGTON, DC — This week, Elon Musk officially completed his acquisition of Twitter. Musk has stated that he wants to let Donald Trump return to the platform and has told investors that he plans to eliminate nearly 75 percent of Twitter’s workforce. He has also already fired Vijaya Gadde, head of legal policy, trust and safety at the company. Muslim Advocates was part of a coalition that called for Trump to be banned from the platform after the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection and is a member of Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council.
The following is a statement from Muslim Advocates Senior Policy Counsel Sumayyah Waheed:
“Elon Musk claims that he doesn’t want Twitter to become a ‘free-for-all hellscape’ but he would guarantee that outcome by letting white nationalist hatemongers back on the platform and pushing out the staff responsible for policing hate content.
Content moderation is an incredibly complicated, demanding process that requires vigilance, thoughtful deliberation and significant investment. Platitudes about free speech and implementing content standards merely ‘adhering to the laws of the land’ don’t come anywhere close to showing that Musk is up to this task. If anything, they signal an unacceptable lowering of standards that will subject marginalized communities to even more hate and violence—online and in the real world.
While it remains to be seen what Musk will actually do with Twitter, everything he has said up to this point signals that he at best possesses a dangerously naive view of what the work of content moderation entails, and at worst actively plans to undermine that work. We will be watching what he does very closely, particularly when it comes to policies and staffing decisions related to content moderation. This is not about left vs. right political brinkmanship or collegiate debates over free speech. This is about the safety of communities of color, people of minority faiths and other marginalized communities who are already under assault.”
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.