By Alba Rosa/ Staff writer
After Tesla CEO Elon Musk hinted at Twitter’s purchase, many users of the platform await for the transaction to finalize. His intention of saving free speech labeled him a hero of the platform, but I don’t agree.
Musk took to Twitter to discuss potential changes he’ll make within the platform, including the possibility of privatizing it. He also mentioned possible changes that received some scrutiny, like considering having former president Donald Trump return to the platform as well as others whose accounts were banned from Twitter.
In Trump’s case, he used Twitter to provoke many users. He’d tweet arguments that were baseless and he wouldn’t accept fault for them. In the end, it resulted in his suspension.
Musk also stated in a tweet that Twitter must be politically neutral in order to deserve the trust of the public, which leads to “upsetting the far right and far left equally.”
And yet, I continue to view Candace Owens’ tweets on the trending page, the same way I see Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s tweets there as well —Two different people with opposing beliefs on several issues.
As much as I agree with preserving our freedom of speech, I don’t believe that altering the policies and allowing banned accounts to return would be the ideal way to do it.
And it most certainly does not make him a hero.
By signing up for Twitter, you must agree to certain rules and policies in order to use the platform. Not only do you have to be over 13 years old, but the information you share in a tweet must be truthful at all times — fully supported by facts. In fact, Twitter collaborated with both Reuters and the Associated Press in order to ensure this policy.
Most importantly, Twitter has made it very clear that bigotry and hateful comments have no place within the platform.
Musk and many others believed that rational policies were too restrictive.
Moving forward with Musk’s ownership of Twitter, his true intentions on this purchase are unclear. As far as I’m concerned, free speech isn’t the most pressing problem we face on Twitter. Plus, with all the money he’ll spend on completing this purchase, it would’ve been wiser for him to use his money for more relevant causes, like giving to charities and movements that need support the most.
“I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter because that is what free speech means,” said Musk in a tweet.
It’s a statement I agree partially on. As a Twitter user, I’m already aware of the many people I will disagree with daily. But I don’t argue with nor judge them for having a different opinion than mine.
Because I have a public account, I must expect that I will receive critiques, opinions and different points of view. It is allowed and even encouraged.
When it comes to publicly sharing an opinion, there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed. Just like in real life, there are many things we must be careful with online. At the end of the day, we must respect others above all.
Users who end up suspended are reported for a reason — their comments were most likely to be utterly rude and demeaning. Their tweets went against rules, which were crystal clear the moment they signed up to the platform. However, the terms and conditions page is often ignored by users, but it’s advised to skim through it and follow the policies to avoid common mistakes.
Those responsible for such shameless tweets shouldn’t be surprised they were kicked off. After all, there are certain policies we must always follow — it shouldn’t be a surprise.
Still, I must address that Twitter isn’t a perfect platform either. While they have done well on some occasions, they’ve let dangerous terrorist groups freely use the website. All violent extremist groups and organizations should be banned.
Free speech is defined as the freedom to speak about what you truly believe in, without facing any repercussions. It’s the confidence of having your point of view acknowledged and accepted, as well as the power of knowing what you feel is right. It’s truly a powerful message.
But it isn’t something to claim lightly or to abuse either.
The ability to use your freedom of speech also constitutes respect— if you want your voice to be heard, you must listen and respect others’ opinions. Ultimately, it promotes equality.
This is a very complicated topic, as the meaning is often misinterpreted and used as someone’s last resort to their obvious maltreatment. Unfortunately, this happens often. In the name of free speech, people get the chance to demean and bully for no logical reason but to troll. Especially on Twitter.
It’s the reason this valuable cause carries a terrible reputation.
I believe in freedom of speech because it allows me to express myself fearlessly. I stand by it — our voice is the most powerful tool.
But Musk’s plan of reinviting people whose accounts were suspended on the platform would do the opposite of saving free speech. It would ruin it — destroying the true intention of the movement.
The only way to actually save our freedom of speech is to educate ourselves and be more informed about things before we say them. By being respectful and helpful, we can save this valuable cause.
The opinions presented on this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.