Enough about Elon Musk’s Twitter deal. It’s time to talk about social media reform

Enough about Elon Musk’s Twitter deal. It’s time to talk about social media reform

While coverage focuses more on politics and less on personality as is often expressed in media criticism, rarely is there such a clear need in last month’s coverage of Elon Musk’s move to buy Twitter (TWTR).

As the media follows Musk’s business tweets, we are distracted by the urgent need for serious, thoughtful, community-wide discussion of adults about social media reform, especially when it comes to government regulation and the inclusion of the First Amendment.  Comes.

Reformers, citizens, academics and politicians have been warning about the dangers of unregulated social media for years.  From documenting Facebook’s role as a major platform for Russian propaganda in the 2016 presidential election, to whistleblowers’ shocking revelations about Instagram’s perceived effects on teen self-image, the list of complaints has only grown.  Most recently, the call for accountability on social media came from New York Governor Kathy Hochol, who spoke at a news conference after a racist shooter called up-to-the-minute plans to bring down a supermarket.  platform.  Buffalo

In fact, even tech executives such as Microsoft President Brad Smith and political leaders such as former President Barack Obama have in recent weeks voiced the need to more aggressively monitor one of the world’s largest platforms.  Is.  Editing content with Elon is more dangerous than ever.  Musk said that if he regained control of Twitter, he would move it toward a more “authoritarian” concept of free speech.  One idea that caught media attention last week: giving back to former President Donald Trump, who was banned in the wake of the January 6 uprising.  Prior to his tweet on Friday, the now $44 billion deal was related to a number of fake or spammy platform accounts.

 Much heat and volume and less light and clarity have come mainly from Musk coming into the debate last month about regulating social media, with his tweets and persona becoming the focus of media coverage and conversation on social media, not just  Just on the subject of how we do that.  As a nation, we will allow social media to serve democracy and not be part of the force that can destroy it.

Even as Musk has promised a more realistic policy on enforcement when it comes to banning figures like Trump, he insisted last week that he would stick to the new EU content surveillance law.  ,  Really?  It’s hard to know where he really stands – when he’s getting serious or when he’s being hunted.  Or when he wants to see how much response one of his tweets might get, like when Twitter’s share prices dropped 13 percent on Friday.

In recent weeks, Musk has largely dominated the conversation on social media with his tweets and public comments, distracting from the intense debate about reform, moderation and the First Amendment.

Serious reform proposals are being offered.

Tom Wheeler writes in TechTanks at the Brookings Institution, “the idea that a handful of platforms can continue to set their own codes of conduct even if those decisions are detrimental to the public interest.”

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