July 4, 2022


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The general public doesn't agree with Elon Musk's 'freedom of speech' Twitter campaign

Elon Musk’s campaign to purchase Twitter and, properly, crusades typically, have rather a lot in widespread: No person requested for them.

On Tuesday, Musk made a suggestion to purchase Twitter for $41 billion and take the general public firm non-public. The tried takeover is within the title of accelerating “freedom of speech” on the platform. Musk did his personal “analysis” on freedom of speech points on Twitter — within the type of a Twitter ballot.

As Musk explained in a TED Talks interview, he thinks Twitter must be extra sparing in each its content material moderation and the individuals it suspends or bans for violating guidelines.

“If unsure, let the speech exist,” Musk stated, earlier than additionally including “I haven’t got all of the solutions right here.”

The factor is, analysis reveals that almost all People, on either side of the aisle, disagree. A brand new working paper of a research from MIT and Yale researchers discovered that 80 p.c of People assume social media corporations ought to take motion to scale back the unfold of misinformation. Whereas that features each democrats and republicans, even 68 p.c of republicans agree with that view.

“Our information means that [Musk’s views] should not consultant,” David Rand, an MIT professor of administration science and one of many research’s co-authors, stated. “Lots of people in Silicon Valley have this sort of possibly libertarian, excessive free speech orientation that I do not assume is consistent with really how most People and social media platform customers take into consideration issues.”

The study surveyed 4,900 Americans on their opinions about content moderation on social media. They asked about whether platforms should moderate misinformation generally, but also asked about one specific case of content moderation: QAnon. It turns out that even with a relatively partisan case of misinformation, there is still bi-partisan support for cleaning up social media: 52.5 percent of people identified as “Strong Republicans” agreed that companies should “try to reduce the spread of the QAnon conspiracy theory on their platforms.”

“A concern that often comes up when you talk about enforcement on misinformation is like, okay, great, nobody wants misinformation, but people really disagree about what’s misinformation,” Rand said. “And I think that’s actually overstated. There’s actually much less partisan disagreement [on what qualifies as misinformation] than you would possibly assume.”

Different research have proven that the general public thinks social media corporations ought to bear the duty for misinformation spreading on their platforms, and a 2021 Pew survey discovered that there was rising assist among the many public for the concept that the federal government ought to intervene to scale back the unfold of misinformation on-line. However the brand new MIT paper asks particularly concerning the motion social media corporations ought to take, and located bipartisan assist for such a content material moderation.

Whereas the research, drawn from information gathered utilizing the net market analysis device Lucid, has not been printed or peer reviewed but, different researchers view its findings as sound. Jonathan Nagler, the co-director of NYU’s Middle for Social Media and Politics, stated it was a “good research,” although he seen sampling a number of thousand individuals, fairly than tens of hundreds, as a “limitation.” Nonetheless, Nagler echoed the disconnect between Musk’s “freedom of speech” views, and apparently that of the general public.

“A lot of the public thinks it is a good suggestion to get misinformation off of platforms,” Nagler stated. “Freedom of speech issues are just a little bit within the eye of the beholder.”

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