X (formerly Twitter) owner Elon Musk’s purported support for free expression is nothing more than a “snake-oil salesman’s marketing scheme,” writes Freedom of the Press Foundation Executive Director Trevor Timm in The Guardian.
The most recent example of Musk’s hypocrisy on free speech was X’s brief suspension of several left-leaning journalists and commentators. That incident followed Musk’s frivolous lawsuit against Media Matters in November and a long line of other anti-speech antics. Musk “uses his power to retaliate against his critics more than anyone this side of Donald Trump,” Timm wrote. He’s also gutted X’s legal department and made its rules and procedures “opaque and arbitrary.” It doesn’t have to be this way, though:
Imagine Musk’s professed love for free speech wasn’t entirely fake. As the wealthiest person in the world, he could have huge leverage. He could create a transparent, robust appeals process for [X users] who allegedly break the rules and get suspended. He could employ a huge legal team to fight any and every government order for censorship around the world, while protecting the anonymity of his users against those who sue.