Human Rights Groups Concerned for Hate Speech on Twitter After Elon Musk Purchase
April 26, 2022
Cited article by Kanishka Singh, Reuters
HRRC shares concern with other human rights organizations over the dangers of removing protections against hate speech and disinformation on social media. While social media platforms have become essential tools for business and communication, the possible removals of such protections can lead to both online abuse and offline violence.
The recent purchase of Twitter by Elon Musk raises significant concerns for limitations on hate speech on the social media platform. Musk has repeatedly described himself as a "free speech absolutist" and has criticized Twitter's moderation of content. However, human rights groups stress that the freedom of expression is not absolute, and social media platforms (no matter who owns them) have a responsibility to ensure the protection of vulnerable groups and those who use the platform.
Abusive language, hate speech, and disinformation are some examples of how social media can be misused. We have seen the ways in which this overreach of freedom of expression can lead to abuse online, and violence and threats to democracy offline. Amnesty International has voiced concerns over future decisions that could be made to erode the enforcement and protective mechanisms.