by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
With the 2022 midterm elections less than a week away, it’s easy to be obsessed with the outcome of the vote. If recent polls are correct, this will be a “red wave” election in which Congress is returned to GOP control. But there’s another “red wave”: The one that’s washing over the Big Media and Social Media.
In recent days, the mainstream media have been in a tizzy following Tesla and Space-X founder Elon Musk’s dramatic $42 billion takeover of Twitter. Along with jokingly calling himself the “Chief Twit,” he promises major changes at the popular social-messaging site, with a total of 1.3 billion accounts and more than 200 million daily posts.
What’s left unsaid is what it will do for free speech and the return of centrist and conservative voices to social media. Musk, regardless of his politics, which range from left to right to everything in between depending on the issue, has been a robust defender of speech rights.
After taking over, Musk fired a whole suite of executives who had created and executed Twitter’s insidious plan to “de-platform” conservative voices from Twitter. The whole enabling apparatus seems set to go: Of Twitter’s 7,500 employees, some 50% to 75% are expected to get the axe as soon as this week.
With the likely restoration of hundreds if not thousands of suspended accounts, America’s thriving online opinion community is about to have part of its political and free speech ecosystem restored.
Musk vows to create a “content moderation council” made up of people holding “widely diverse viewpoints,” not a bunch of woke scolds. It’s expected to soon begin reinstating those who’ve been unjustly removed, some permanently.
Already, the entrepreneur has “frozen some employee access to internal tools used for content moderation and other policy enforcement, curbing the staff’s ability to clamp down on misinformation ahead of a major U.S. election,” according to Bloomberg.