Musk’s Twitter/X Expands Censorship Efforts for Elections

Patrick Pleul/Pool via AP, File

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. That great champion of free speech Elon Musk is once again expanding censorship policies for X (formerly Twitter), this time for elections.


I recently reported that Musk’s X was hiring more “election disinformation” staff, and now it has a slew of updates before the 2024 election. These include enforcement of its “Freedom of Speech, Not Reach” policy, which involves suppressing content that allegedly breaks Twitter policies or upsets people without fully deleting it. This gives the illusion of free speech while practicing censorship. I wish I could say I was surprised, but unfortunately, this was fairly predictable, and from the moment Musk bought Twitter.

After all, Musk consistently panders to the Chinese Communist Party, which runs a tyrannical censorship regime. Furthermore, Musk‘s new X CEO Linda Yaccarino aligns with the anti-free speech World Economic Forum. She bragged recently of censoring to please X advertisers and contributed to a report that praised Communist China and endorsed state funding of media.

The first problem with the new measures is clear from the title: “Supporting people’s right to accurate and safe political discourse on X.” The Founding Fathers would be quite staggered to hear that people have a right to “accurate and safe political discourse.” The reality is that they don’t.

For one thing, it is the essence of political discourse that people disagree considerably with each other. X will end up having to decide which side it thinks is lying (and it’s usually not the side that gets censored). That is, X will have to violate the Constitution and set itself up as a sort of arbiter of truth. Second, no one has the right to “safe” discourse. The issue with “safe” is that it is a very subjective word, and, as we have seen, leftists can label pretty much anything as a trigger for making them feel “unsafe.”


Related: Musk’s X Reportedly Hiring More ‘Election Disinformation’ Staff

Moving beyond the title, X first announced that it is “currently expanding our safety and elections teams to focus on combating manipulation, surfacing inauthentic accounts, and closely monitoring the platform for emerging threats.” X then clarified it will be enforcing its deceptively-named Civic Integrity Policy before and during the upcoming election. X is supposedly seeking “the right balance” between “harmful content” and “political debate.”

X went on to feature its “Freedom of Speech, Not Reach” policy. I explained above how this policy censors while pretending to protect free speech, but you are supposed to feel better because posts that are censored through this policy will have labels on them to let you know.

Ironically, X then asserted its “commitment to free expression” based on allowing political advertising on the platform. But one ominous sentence indicates the same problem I noted above, that the whole point of political advertising in an election is that opposite sides will make totally different assertions and accuse each other of being wrong.

X said it will be “prohibiting the promotion of false or misleading content, including false or misleading information intended to undermine public confidence in an election, while seeking to preserve free and open political discourse. We’ll also provide a global advertising transparency center.” So who decides what is “misleading”?


The X announcement ended by stating that X continues “to scale Community Notes,” which allows certain users approved by X to fact-check posts on the platform.

The Media Research Center pointed out that Twitter/X doesn’t exactly have an unbiased track record in distinguishing between speech protected by the Constitution and actual threats.

“Political speech is inherently upsetting to people, and its ‘accuracy’ is certainly subject to debate. That is the actual reason we have a First Amendment right, without which our representational democracy will fail. X should axe this new censorship plot,” said MRC Vice President for Free Speech America Dan Schneider. MRC previously found through a poll that 2020 censorship of the Hunter Biden scandals actually altered election outcomes in favor of Joe Biden.

These new policies are exactly the sort of pernicious censorship that Musk promised to end when he took over the platform, allegedly to make it a free speech haven.


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