Is Elon Musk’s Twitter too good to be true?
Many conservatives have hailed the social media giant’s billionaire owner for his transparency and enthusiasm for creating the preeminent free speech platform.
Others, however, are doubtful that Musk will be able to live up to his lofty aspirations. Perhaps they’re right. It might be a mistake to put too much stock in the goings-on of one tech company.
News of the latest account banned from Twitter seems to lend at least some credence to this notion.
On Wednesday, Axios reported that an account called @ElonJet had been permanently suspended.
Run by Florida college student Jack Sweeney, the account tracked the whereabouts of Musk’s private jet (and therefore Musk himself) by publishing publicly available flight-tracking data.
The account had over 500,000 followers.
Sweeney quickly created an account on Mastodon that will track Musk’s jet instead.
Musk has not commented on the situation since the suspension. He did provide some comments on @ElonJet last month, however.
In early November, Musk claimed his “commitment to free speech” compelled him to keep the account up, even if he didn’t like it.
Well, now it looks like that commitment wasn’t quite enough.
My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 7, 2022
Don’t forget, the Twitter, Tesla, and SpaceX CEO is far from conservative.
Perhaps Sweeney’s account was banned because, sharing Musk’s whereabouts, it posed a risk to his safety. There’s certainly an argument to be made there.
But, to be clear, nothing Sweeney did was illegal. His account simply published a speech that Musk (or someone at Twitter) didn’t like, perhaps fairly so.
But what about political speech Musk disagrees with? Liberals often argue that speech made by conservatives is akin to violence.
Musk doesn’t seem to buy into that sort of talk. But things change. People change. And Elon Musk is no different than anyone else.
Maybe we shouldn’t be pinning all of our free speech hopes on Twitter.