Twitter Says That its Moderation Policies Have Not Changed in Light of Musk Takeover

Previously, many former associates and enterprise companions of Elon Musk have famous that he’s not the man that he seems to be based mostly on his tweets. Musk takes a extra rational, measured {and professional} method in his enterprise dealings, and whereas he might look to stoke controversy together with his numerous feedback and opinions, he additionally is aware of that, in order to make the enterprise work, he must compromise and keep inside the guidelines, as ruled in every area.

Primarily, what Elon says and what he does are sometimes very various things, which is a vital observe when assessing his route for Twitter, and his tweeted edicts. 

Right this moment, EU Commissioner Thierry Breton met with Musk to debate Twitter’s current change in administration, and its future alignment with the EU Digital Providers Act (DSA), which incorporates numerous provisions round content material moderation and person security, that Musk’s new Twitter crew should adjust to in order to proceed working in the EU area.

Which, with thousands fewer moderation staff, may seemingly pose a problem.

As per Breton:

“Tright here continues to be big work forward, as Twitter should implement clear person insurance policies, considerably reinforce content material moderation and defend freedom of speech, sort out disinformation with resolve, and restrict focused promoting.”

However, Breton says, Musk has dedicated the corporate to adhering to those guidelines, which, no less than on the face of it, may have some influence on his broader ‘free speech’ method.

Although once more, what Elon says and what he does are completely different, and his repeated banging on the ‘free speech’ drum is more and more seeming extra aligned with boosting engagement than it’s about altering the corporate’s precise content material method.

Certainly, in a new blog post, outlining the method of Twitter 2.0, Twitter says that:

None of our insurance policies have modified. Our method to coverage enforcement will rely extra closely on de-amplification of violative content material: freedom of speech, however not freedom of attain.”

I imply, that’s not completely true – Twitter has stopped enforcing its COVID misinformation policy. However in a broader moderation and administration sense, Twitter says that its guidelines round hate and hurt stay in tact.

Musk appears to be making an attempt to play each side with this method – quite than removals and suspensions, Musk’s hoping that he can scale back the presence of offending tweets and feedback, which will likely be sufficient to satisfy the DSA and different regional necessities.

Which incorporates the necessities of Apple and Google, which each have content material moderation insurance policies constructed into their app retailer tips.

Primarily, Musk will likely be restricted in how far he can take his ‘free speech’ method, it doesn’t matter what he says. However once more, Twitter’s insurance policies haven’t modified anyway, so regardless of Musk’s repeated proclamations that he’s combating without cost speech, and standing up for individuals’s proper to say what they like, in actuality, Twitter coverage, in its personal phrases, has not modified in any respect.

This additional factors to Musk utilizing the ‘free speech’ argument as a lever to spice up engagement, versus it being a elementary aspect in his Twitter 2.0 imaginative and prescient.

Case in level – earlier this week, Elon tweeted out this meme after calling out Apple for scaling again its Twitter advert spend.

Musk then deleted the above tweet, then posted the remark embedded about his combat in opposition to Apple being ‘a battle for the long run of civilization’.

Elon knew that the meme weakened his argument, in that it revealed that he’s truly extra against paying Apple’s 30% App Retailer charge than he’s in opposition to Apple’s guidelines, which may, in some individuals’s view, influence free speech. However he additionally is aware of that the free speech argument sparks extra controversy, extra debate, and can get him and Twitter extra consideration consequently, so he’s utilizing this as a proxy to place stress on Apple, in a bid to get out of paying 30% on Twitter Blue subscriptions.

Which is unlikely to work – however extra importantly, it highlights the ways behind Elon’s politicized push.

That’s to not say that Elon doesn’t care about free speech, however he’s utilizing this as a negotiating tactic, versus taking an ethical or moral stand on this particular problem.

And once more, in closed rooms, in negotiations with the EU, in discussions with advertisers, I’m certain Elon’s method is far more subdued than it’s on-line. As a result of he is aware of that he wants them, he is aware of that he wants the entry, the advert {dollars}, he is aware of that he’ll must play by the foundations to remain in line with these necessities.

Which additional factors to the truth that you possibly can’t essentially depend on Elon’s tweets as an indicator of his technique. His tweets are a PR train, a method to drive controversy and debate, which can then carry extra customers to Twitter consequently.

As such, you possibly can count on Elon to proceed saying controversial issues, whereas additionally rigorously staying inside the bounds of what’s authorized, and sustaining primarily the identical guidelines and method to such in the app.

The ‘free speech’, ‘tradition battle’, ‘energy to the individuals’ stuff is all only a sideshow designed to generate most publicity for himself and the app – and persuade his supporters to pay him $8 monthly.

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