Elon Musk says he wants free speech, but his track record suggests otherwise


Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, the world’s wealthiest person on paper, is buying Twitter, the social media platform he has relied on for years to promote his interests and shape his public image.

“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” said Mr. Musk in a statement when the deal was announced Monday.

Musk has characterized himself as a First Amendment and free speech advocate for years, for example, in defending himself in a defamation lawsuit after calling a critic a “pedo guy” (Musk won), and to argue that the SEC infringed on his rights in a settlement agreement they struck and revised after the agency charged him with securities fraud in 2018.

But as The Atlantic, Bloomberg and others have pointed out, Musk’s free speech advocacy seems to apply mostly to his own speech or that of his fans and promoters. TechDirt argues that Musk lacks a serious understanding of free speech and even less about content moderation.


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