Musk Finally Announces New Twitter Policy: “Freedom Of Speech, But Not Freedom Of Reach”

Twitter owner and CEO Elon Musk has brought forth the most concrete terms to-date on what the speech-related guidelines will be on the platform moving forward: Freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach.

Well, that is unless you’re Alex Jones – because Musk revealed that he has no intentions of allowing him back on the platform.

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On November 18th, Musk had finally unveiled what can be construed as the most robust detailing of what will and will not be allowed on Twitter in terms of speech, delivering a fairly straightforward synopsis of what new and seasoned users of the platform can expect under the new leadership.

“New Twitter policy is freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach. Negative/hate tweets will be max deboosted & demonetized, so no ads or other revenue to Twitter. You won’t find the tweet unless you specifically seek it out, which is no different from rest of Internet.”

Image Credit: Twitter

Expanding on the topic of negative and/or hateful posts on Twitter, Musk clarified that only the posts in question will be ranked lower on the platform and not the entire account responsible for publishing tweets that may be deemed negative or hateful – essentially, putting an end to the shadow banning of accounts.

“Note, this applies just to the individual tweet, not the whole account.”

Image Credit: Twitter

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Musk also shared details on some recently reinstated accounts on the platform, noting that the Babylon Bee, Jordan Peterson, and leftist D-lister comedian Kathie Griffin (who was recently banned for impersonating Musk on Twitter) have been welcomed back to Twitter.

But as for the looming question about whether former President Donald Trump will be allowed back on Twitter, Musk admitted that a final decision hasn’t been reached yet.

“Kathie Griffin, [Jordan] Peterson & Babylon Bee have been reinstated. Trump decision has not yet been made.”

Image Credit: Twitter

While the aforementioned series of posts by the head honcho at Twitter serves as the clearest articulation to-date of what the speech guidelines are going to be on the platform moving forward, there’s still a lot left to be desired in terms of where exactly the proverbial line is drawn on what constitutes “negative” and “hate” posts on Twitter.

As for Musk openly admitting that certain posts will be ranked lower than others based upon this ambiguous definition of perceived negative or hateful context, the reality of there being some degree of content moderation is unsurprising when considering the cautious nature of existing and would-be advertisers on the platform.

But Musk was crystal clear on at least one notable personality who will not be welcomed back to Twitter: Alex Jones. On the same day Musk shared insight into the direction Twitter is going in speech-wise, he asked his followers, “What should Twitter do next?” One response that garnered a sizeable amount of attention was, “Bring back Alex Jones,” to which Musk plainly responded with, “No.”

Image Credit: Twitter

Needless to say, this seemingly firm stance from Musk on not allowing Jones to return to Twitter is a swift departure from the comments he made this past May, with the Tesla CEO proclaiming at the time, “Perma bans just fundamentally undermine trust in Twitter as a town square where everyone can voice their opinion.”

It appears as though Musk’s comments from this past May weren’t lost on some of those who replied to his proclamation that Jones wouldn’t be welcomed back on Twitter, with one commenter asking, “Could we get more transparency as to why? Do we believe in lifetime bans again?”

Unfortunately, Musk did not expand on the rationale behind his decision to keep Jones off the platform.

Image Credit: Twitter

Despite feeling as though it was eons ago, Jones and Infowars were permanently suspended from Twitter back in September of 2018, as well as Jones finding himself ousted from essentially all the Big Tech platforms at roughly around the same time.

On September 6th of, 2018, Twitter made the announcement of Jones’ removal from the platform, writing at the time that the company had taken “this action based on new reports of Tweets and videos posted yesterday that violate our abusive behavior policy, in addition to the accounts’ past violations.”

Image Credit: Twitter

While Twitter didn’t go into detail over what the offending video was that led to the permanent suspension, a report from the Associated Press regarding his permanent suspension from Twitter claimed the “video showed Jones berating CNN journalist Oliver Darcy for some 10 minutes in between two congressional hearings on social media.”

Despite Musk having not expanded on why he isn’t considering letting Jones back on Twitter, most people can extrapolate as to why he’d be hesitant to do so considering the controversies Jones has been embroiled in and his recent portrayals in the media following the defamation judgments rendered regarding Info Wars’ decade-old coverage of the Sandy Hook mass shooting.

Essentially, Musk is likely concerned that the ability to monetize Twitter by way of attracting advertisers would be in peril in the event Jones were to make a return to the platform.

Even though Musk’s concerns about letting someone like Jones back on Twitter are warranted from a business perspective, his take on the matter isn’t exactly sitting well with some of Jones’ fans and those who lean more toward being free speech absolutists. One reply to Musk read, “So you aren’t for free speech. Got it,” while another pointed out, “Why not? I don’t like him or agree with him or think he’s very sharp, but that doesn’t matter for free speech maximalism. Mute & block buttons exist.”

How everything is going to pan out over at Twitter remains to be seen, and perhaps Musk will have a change of heart regarding Jones once the proverbial temperature chills a bit regarding the actively incessant media cycle painting the new owner of Twitter as some kind of villain.

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