December 5, 2022

Defender of free speech? Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover sparks calls for regulation


/ Shows / The Debate Issued on: 10/11/2022 – 20:09Modified: 10/11/2022 – 20:21


THE DEBATE © FRANCE 24 What happens when the world’s richest man, who fancies himself as a champion of free speech, buys a global brand that aspires to act as the planet’s digital town square? There has been plenty of turmoil in the two weeks since Elon Musk completed his $44 billion purchase of Twitter.

Now, the US president himself is wondering aloud whether the keys to the tech giant’s nearly 400 million users’ personal data should be in the hands of a firm whose second-largest investor is a Saudi prince; Saudi Arabia hardly being a champion of freedom of expression. With half of Twitter’s 7,000-plus staff fired last Friday, one wonders how many were content moderators. 

Musk’s unfiltered, unregulated approach to the tech industry by no means makes him an outlier. For years, Facebook, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, resisted taking any responsibility for the spread of disinformation. What about Google and China’s TikTok, to name just a few others?

As information wars rage over the war in Ukraine, France’s rivalry with Russia in Africa, China’s competition with the United States, who makes and enforces the rules of that digital town square that seeks to engage with viewers around the world?

Produced by Alessandro Xenos, Juliette Laurain and Imen Mellaz.

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