What Elon Musk’s Twitter ‘free speech’ promises miss

Illustration by Kristen Radtke / The Verge; Getty Images

Thursday morning, Elon Musk offered to buy Twitter to save free speech.

“I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy,” wrote the Tesla and SpaceX billionaire — who recently acquired a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter — in a filing. “However, since making my investment I now realize the company will neither thrive nor serve this societal imperative in its current form. Twitter needs to be transformed as a private company.”

It’s not clear how this gambit will play out, but there’s also a more fundamental question: what does Elon Musk think free speech is, and who’s threatening it? Free expression is a…

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Author: Adi Robertson