Tesla CEO Elon Musk said what he believes “healthy, functioning free speech” looks like during a Thursday TED talk interview.
“If in doubt, let the speech, let it exist. If it’s a gray area, I would say let the tweet exist, but obviously in a case where there’s perhaps a lot of controversy, you don’t want to necessarily promote that tweet,” Musk said. “So I’m not saying I have all the answers here, but I do think that we want to be very reluctant to delete things, ban things and be very cautious with permanent bans. Time outs, I think, are better than permanent bans.”
“A good sign as to whether there is free speech is someone you don’t like allowed to say something you don’t like. And if that is the case, then we have free speech,” he continued. “And it’s damn annoying when someone you don’t like says something you don’t like. That is a sign of a healthy, functioning free speech situation.”
He also noted that having a platform that is “trusted” and “inclusive” is crucial to the “future of civilization.”
“This is not a way to make money. My strong, intuitive sense is that having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization. I don’t care about the economics at all,” he said.
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) April 14, 2022
Musk made an offer to purchase Twitter for $43.4 billion via text message to the platform’s board chair Bret Taylor, saying he will “unlock” its “extraordinary potential,” the Hollywood Reporter reported Thursday. (RELATED: Tucker Carlson Says Elonn Musk Taking Over Twitter Would Be A ‘Direct Challenge’ To Liberal Elites)
“I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company,” Musk wrote.
He initially purchased a 9.2% stake in Twitter, making him the company’s largest stakeholder, according to an SEC filing from earlier in April. The Tesla CEO had previously questioned the social media platform’s adherence to free speech in a March 25 Twitter poll where about 70% of respondents said Twitter does not “rigorously” follow that principle.
Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy.
Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 25, 2022
“Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy. What should be done?” Musk later tweeted.
Twitter has come under fire in the past year for censoring posts deemed a violation to its platform’s policies. The company recently locked out the satirical outlet “The Babylon Bee” for violating rules against “hateful conduct” after it labeled transgender Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Rachel Levine as “The Babylon Bee’s Man of the Year.”
The platform then suspended Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk for violating its rules over a tweet that said: “Richard Levine spent 54 years of his life as a man. He had a wife and a family. He ‘transitioned’ to being a woman in 2011, Joe Biden appointed Levine to be a 4-Star Admiral and now USA Today has named ‘Rachel’ Levine as a ‘Woman of the Year’ Where are the feminists?”
Fox News host and Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson was also censored for posting screenshots of the two tweets “for violating Twitter rules.”