Musk’s Twitter Purchase Will Bring Back Free Speech, Expose What Was Done to Stifle It

Musk’s Twitter Purchase Will Bring Back Free Speech, Expose What Was Done to Stifle It
Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla Inc., in Los Angeles on Dec. 3, 2019. (Apu Gomes/Getty Images)
Jeff Carlson
Hans Mahncke
Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter represents a seismic shift in American political discourse.

Democrats and the media have benefited for years from seeing their voices artificially amplified through a cozy relationship with the multitude of tech companies. The goal has been to make their policies and ideas appear as though they are far more accepted than they really are.

The problem is that Twitter functions as the de facto public square—and the false elevation of some ideas and views combined with the active suppression of others has a direct impact on public discourse and debate.

Controlling this public square of political debate has been of immense benefit to Democrats, the media, globalists, and the government bureaucracy. It’s why they opposed Musk’s takeover offer from the start.

But it’s not just about losing control of public debate going forward. The actions of those who controlled the narrative through Twitter are now open to examination from Musk—who has already indicated that he will subject Twitter’s secret algorithm to public scrutiny.

Twitter has long restricted free speech. One method widely employed was shadowbanning—the limitation on the visibility of tweets from a given account. Another method used by Twitter was the outright banning of accounts that Twitter deemed problematic or offensive.

Musk himself became the subject of shadowbanning in the days before his offer was accepted—something he even joked about—despite already being the owner of more than 9 percent of Twitter.

If he approaches his acquisition of Twitter methodically, Musk will set about working to first understand how Twitter’s algorithm works—and then slowly remove the code that targets conservatives—bringing Twitter back to its original premise: a micro-blogging platform where anyone can share their thoughts and ideas, whether they're rich and famous, poor, or just an average Joe.

Democrats and the corporate media are deeply afraid of this change. The very last thing they want is a level playing field, which is part of the reason for their opposition to Musk’s takeover of Twitter. But it’s not the only reason.

The people in positions of power don’t want Twitter’s algorithm exposed—because that would provide definitive proof that voices who dissented from the official line on anything ranging from gender identification to Hunter Biden’s laptop were targeted, harassed, and actively censured.

And more importantly, the establishment doesn’t want to lose the power this level of control gives them. These same people are also actively concerned that direct messaging done on Twitter isn't subject to deletion or encrypted.

Some of these issues came to light when Twitter was hacked on July 15, 2020. Celebrity accounts were compromised and used to send out bitcoin scam tweets, including those of former President Barack Obama, rapper Kanye West, Apple, and even Musk himself.
At the same time that these accounts were hacked, a screenshot of Twitter’s admin panel was released. This panel appeared to show that Twitter administrators and engineers were allowed to blacklist and shadow-ban people with the push of a button.

The true story behind that screenshot of administration access and control was never resolved. Did all Twitter engineers have access to the panel? Could anyone be shadow-banned for any reason or for no reason at all? Through his new ownership of Twitter’s platform, it's left to Musk to not only deal with the effects and ramifications of the admin panel going forward but also to look at its abuse in the past.

A similar challenge is posed by Twitter’s algorithm. This is the set of rules that guides Twitter’s internal computers in deciding which accounts and messages get promoted and which get sidelined. The algorithm chooses which tweets make it into the top tweets feed. The algorithm also sets the day’s narrative by deciding what goes in the “What’s happening” column. It promotes certain topics and downplays or censors others. In short, the algorithm is the arbiter that establishes the direction of public political debate.

Musk has already indicated publicly that he wants to take a very close look into the inner workings of Twitter’s algorithm, going so far in a recent interview as to say he wants to make the algorithm public so that its detailed examination can be crowdsourced.

What Musk wants to do with the algorithm is revolutionary. The effects of this public disclosure will be long-reaching, perhaps extending to those within government. Open and public examination of the drivers behind our nation’s political discourse—and how those drivers were determined by a small handful of people—will likely prove highly illuminating.

Publishing Twitter’s algorithm publicly on a crowdsourcing site such as GitHub would bring full transparency to Twitter’s entire platform. It would reveal definitively, once and for all, how some speech is promoted while other speech is suppressed. By having it all out in the open, there could, as Musk suggests, be an open and fair debate about the choices made by Twitter and how and where to correct course.

In the end, most people just want fairness—a level playing field. Ideally, this fundamental change would take Twitter back to its roots where anyone from anywhere, rich or poor, famous or unremarkable, can post their ideas. Those thoughts and ideas that catch on will be organically elevated without unwanted interference from Twitter employees or from Twitter’s secret algorithm.

Another major issue Musk will have to address is the all-too-cozy relationship between Twitter and the government. Twitter has already confirmed that it is “in regular communication with the White House on a number of critical issues including COVID-19 misinformation.”

And despite public comments from the White House indicating the same, it's overtly unconstitutional for the government to be coordinating with Big Tech to ban dissenting ideas or ban speech altogether.

The collusion between government officials and Twitter has come into sharper focus recently. When some of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s emails were released under the Freedom of Information Act, at least one of these emails strongly suggested that Fauci and former National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins played a direct role in getting financial news site ZeroHedge banned from Twitter.
ZeroHedge had published an early article on the possibility that the virus that causes COVID-19 had leaked out of a Wuhan lab. Fauci and his group flagged the article in internal emails. A day later, ZeroHedge was banned from Twitter. It would be most interesting to examine the communications between Fauci’s team and Twitter from this time period.
It would be equally interesting to examine the communications of Twitter executives with government actors and officials, along with those of other Big Tech companies when, just before the 2020 presidential election, our nation’s tech giants suddenly decided in unison to ban all reporting of a New York Post story that had exposed Biden family corruption.
Twitter went so far as to ban users from talking about the Post’s article privately in direct messages.

There is also the issue of President Donald Trump’s removal from Twitter on Jan. 8, 2021. Notably, this was two days after Trump was removed from all other social media platforms, suggesting that there was some behind-the-scenes wrangling. It appears possible that Twitter’s chief executive at the time, Jack Dorsey, may not have been fully on board with such collective action right away.

The official reason for Trump’s removal was that his tweet that he wouldn't attend Biden’s inauguration was in breach of Twitter’s policies. But of course that excuse never passed the smell test. It's certain that great external pressure was brought to bear on Twitter to ban Trump as other tech companies had already done. The real question is where that pressure came from.

Close examination of communications around the time of Trump’s removal would provide unique insight into the machinations at work. And Musk, if he chooses to do so, can now revisit this issue to find out exactly what happened and why. Presumably, this would also be the mechanism for reinstating Trump’s account—debunking the entire reason for Trump being banned in the first place.

Whether Trump would want to be reinstated is a different question altogether. For Trump, a return to Twitter would burn hundreds of millions of dollars by effectively killing his own social media venture, Truth Social. Indeed, it’s already been reported that Trump will remain on his own platform.

But regardless of whether Trump is invited back or whether he would want to come back, this doesn’t alter the seismic shift that Musk has brought about. Allowing the world’s public square for political debate to become truly open once again is much bigger than Trump.

Musk’s purchase of Twitter effectively ends the control that Democrats and the corporate media have enjoyed over our nation’s political discourse. And it effectively removes their narrative control, whether it’s the virus, lockdowns, Hunter’s laptop and the 2020 election, or the war in Ukraine.

There will also be an unstated rebalancing of political opinion. Corporate media and the Democratic National Committee are going to find their impact reduced through the reestablishment of a level playing field. The DNC and their media allies will not like giving up that power. They may try to start their own Twitter light but it's likely to run into the same problems as previous offshoots such as Parler and Gab.

In the end, there can only be one real public square. And for the first time in many years, everyone will be treated equally.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
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