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June 2, 2023

Good News: Musk Cans a Speech Suppressor

In response to an unauthorized attempt at censorship, Elon Musk reaffirmed Twitter’s commitment to free speech and sent another exec packing.

He’s gone wobbly! they shrieked. But they were wrong.

Yesterday, the indefatigable content monetizers at The Daily Wire reported that Twitter had canceled a deal with them to stream Matt Walsh’s wildly popular documentary “What Is a Woman?” for free on Elon Musk’s free speech platform.

The reason for Twitter’s cancellation? “Misgendering.” As Daily Wire co-CEO Jeremy Boreing explained, “After reviewing the film … Twitter let us know that not only could we no longer purchase the package they offered, they would no longer provide us any support and would actually limit the reach of the film, and label it as ‘hateful conduct’ because of ‘misgendering.’”

Boreing and his colleagues were right to be concerned. After all, Walsh’s poker-faced mockumentary is perhaps the niftiest tool on the pro-biology workbench. And with media censorship on the ascendancy, Twitter was the natural choice for sharing the film with the widest audience possible.

But not a softened, censored version of it. “[Musk] is not beholden to conservatives,” said Boreing, stating the obvious. “He has the right to run his business as he sees fit. But if Twitter is going to throttle one side of one of the most important debates facing society, it cannot claim to champion free speech.”

Indeed, Musk had marked his purchase of the company last April by declaring, “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.”

Within hours, Musk took a break from one of his many money-making enterprises and responded unequivocally.

“This was a mistake by many people at Twitter,” he said. “It is definitely allowed. Whether or not you agree with using someone’s preferred pronouns, not doing so is at most rude and certainly breaks no laws. I should note that I do personally use someone’s preferred pronouns, just as I use someone’s preferred name, simply from the standpoint of good manners. However, for the same reason, I object to rude behavior, ostracism or threats of violence if the wrong pronoun or name is used.”

For good measure, Musk defenestrated accepted the resignation of one Ella Irwin, the twit head of trust and safety whose office oversaw content moderation and was therefore responsible for the attempted censorship.

So much for Musk going wobbly on free speech.

And so continues the nascent movement to protect children from the harmful effects of mutilative sex-change procedures.

As for Musk’s enormous Twitter investment, there’s some gloating on the Left that he made a terrible business decision. As The Wall Street Journal reports, “Twitter is valued at one-third of what Elon Musk paid for it in October, according to asset manager Fidelity, which again marked down the value of its equity stake in the social-media company.”

Here, some additional analysis is needed. Musk’s gift to freedom-loving people everywhere is indeed worth far less today than the $42 billion he paid for it — at least according to the valuation estimate of Fidelity, which has a significant interest in Twitter.

“Twitter’s value,” as our Mark Alexander notes, “is not based on a publicly traded company but in this case an estimate of what Fidelity thinks it’s worth. It’s likely that Twitter is worth substantially less than Musk paid for it, but he said as much at the time of purchase. And Twitter has laid off most of its staff without compromising the product, thereby creating substantial savings.”

All in all, then, some good news on the free-speech front with which to head into the weekend.

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