Human rights groups have raised significant concerns over hate speech on Twitter and the power that its takeover by business magnate Elon Musk will now give the billionaire after the self-described "free speech absolutist" finally secured a deal to acquire the social media platform private.
Musk, the chief executive of electric vehicle car producer Tesla Inc (TSLA.O), has defined himself as a "free speech absolutist" and has criticised Twitter's policies of moderating content on the medium.
Earlier, Elon had stated that Twitter needs to become an open forum for free speech. After securing the deal to buy Twitter for USD 44 billion on April 25, the 50-year-old described the free speech as "the bedrock of a functioning democracy" in an official statement.
Elon Musk Buys Twitter For $44 Billion
Many human rights advocates noted that the 'Blue Bird' is not just another acquisition for Musk. "Regardless of who owns Twitter, the company has human rights responsibilities to respect the rights of people around the world who rely on the platform. Changes to its policies, features, and algorithms, big and small, can have disproportionate and sometimes devastating impacts, including offline violence," digital rights researcher and advocate at Human Rights Watch, Deborah Brown, has been quoted as saying in an India Today report.
She then added that freedom of expression is not just an absolute right, which is why there is a need for Twitter to invest in their drudgeries to keep its most vulnerable users safe on the platform.
Twitter did not respond immediately to a request for comment on concerns raised by the groups.
Social Activists Raise Concerns
American Civil Liberties Union executive director, Anthony Romero, reacted to Musk buying Twitter by saying: "While Elon Musk is an ACLU card-carrying member and one of our most significant supporters, there's a lot of danger having so much power in the hands of anyone individual."
Amnesty International also raised its concerns regarding any possible decision Twitter might take after the complete takeover of Musk to erode enforcement of the policies and mechanisms designed to moderate hate speech on the platform.
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