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Elon Musk says Twitter will have a ‘content moderation council’

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Elon Musk shown looking downward in front of upside-down Twitter logos. Laura Normand / The Verge

Elon Musk, Twitter’s new owner, says the company is setting up a council to make important moderation decisions at the company. In a tweet on Friday, Musk said the “council” will have “widely diverse viewpoints” and that “no major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes.”

Part of Musk’s professed reasoning for buying Twitter hinged on making it a platform for “free speech,” and he has said he’d consider letting controversial figures like former president Donald Trump back onto the platform. With Friday’s announcement, it seems as if he’s placing that sort of decision into the hands of a council.

Twitter will be forming a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints.

No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 28, 2022

The tweet doesn’t contain any details about what kind of viewpoints Musk is seeking to have on the council, how many people will be on it, how they'll be appointed, or how it’s different from the content moderation and policy teams that already exist at the company.

However, Musk has made it clear that he doesn’t agree with how the platform’s existing moderation systems operate; when he took control of the company, he fired several execs, including policy chief Vijaya Gadde, whose decisions he publicly criticized in the run-up to him buying the company.

Other social media companies have tried a seemingly similar approach — Meta has its oversight board, which is meant to be an independent organization that rules on Facebook’s platform and moderation decisions. However, critics have raised questions about how much power the board actually has to enforce its rulings. There’s also a web of potential legislation that could dictate how tech companies are able to moderate their platforms, which may limit what kind of moderation decisions Twitter and other platforms can make, regardless of what “free speech” ideals they’re aiming for.

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I'm team Musk! 

I think what he's trying to do is prevent Twitter from remaining a one-sided site and become a place where everyone can freely talk. It's hard when some people shout "hate" whenever there is merely disagreement in thought. It's not always hate to disagree. I think Twitter will grow more because of Musk's ideas. 

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I feel like I'm the only person in the world who simply does not care what Musk does with Twitter... everyone but me seems to either love it or hate it 😛 . But personally: I think Twitter was an awful platform before he took it over, and it's still an awful platform now. 

I really don't like microblogging in general, because of its very "soundbite-y" nature: it's really not conducive to thoughtful and nuanced discussion (and indeed, it actively discourages that form of conversation, which is what I think the internet needs more of!)

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