December 4, 2022

FREE SPEECH FOLLIES: Everything you wanted to know about Elon Musk allowing Trump back on Twitter

FREE SPEECH FOLLIES: Everything you wanted to know about Elon Musk allowing Trump back on Twitter

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Perhaps to try to save the company he’s been busy torpedoing through a combination of arrogance and bad ideas, Elon Musk has decided to let former president Donald Trump – who previously used the platform to encourage violence and try to overthrow the government – back on Twitter.

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“The people have spoken,” Musk declared, citing a “poll” he conducted from his handle.

Vox populi, vox dei means “the voice of the people is the voice of God.”

In this scenario, Musk is God, of course.

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The billionaire instigator has frequently framed this as a “free speech” issue. Yet our Constitution only specifies that the government — the GOVERNMENT, Elon – cannot interfere with free speech. That doesn’t mean that we have to give every idiot – orange or otherwise – a platform, as everyone but you seems to understand.

It’s also worth noting that not all speech is the same. Expressive speech must be distinguished from threats, harassment, libel, and slander, and speech employed to facilitate fraud.

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So far, Trump has claimed he’s not returning to Twitter because it has “a lot of problems.” Finally, he’s right about something.

As of 11:30 AM on the day after Trump’s account was restored, he had still not posted anything on the platform, with this tweet from the day of his ban still sitting at the top of his feed.

Yeah, we knew that.

Here are some of the reactions from around Twitter following the announcement.

Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), one of the only members of the GOP to serve on the House Select Committee investigating the Trump-inspired January 6th, 2021 insurrection at the Capitol, reminded the public exactly why Trump was kicked off  Twitter to begin with, something Elon musk apparently forgot.

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With the accusations that the move to reinstate Trump’s account was merely a sham to reinvigorate a social platform that Musk overpaid for — and for which he is desperately trying to claw back profitability for his multi-billion dollar investment — it’s ironic that the legitimacy of the voting process involved with the decision has been sundered with accusations of a “stolen election.”

Anyhow, since you’re so into “polls” Elon, I’m thinking maybe we should conduct a poll to see if you should jump off the Empire State Building. Whichever way it goes, you’ll honor it, right?

I’m on Twitter for now (we’ll see what happens). You can follow me there: @RossRosenfeld

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