In an all-hands meeting with Twitter’s staff on Thursday, Elon Musk gave more detail on how he would deal with moderation on the platform, leaving the door open for a more hands-on approach than many have assumed he would take.
Responding to an employee-submitted question about his views on content moderation, Musk said he believed people should be able to “say pretty outrageous things within the law” but that such speech shouldn’t necessarily be amplified, according to employees who heard the remarks. In particular, he leaned on a distinction between freedom of speech and freedom of reach, popularized by disinformation researcher Renée DiResta.
Reiterating past comments he has made publicly, Musk also said he wants Twitter to take a harder line against bots and spam, saying that “it needs to be much more expensive to have a troll army.” He told employees he is in favor of having users pay to be verified and prioritizing them in how Twitter ranks the tweets people see.
Musk has been outspoken in his criticism of Twitter’s moderation of conservatives on the platform, particularly the decision to ban former President Donald Trump in the wake of the January 6th riot. In an interview with the Financial Times in May, Musk said he would likely reverse the ban on Trump if the acquisition is successful. More recently, he expressed concerns that the platform was not acting aggressively enough in response to harassment against the Libs of TikTok account.
But speaking to Twitter staff, he took a softer line, holding to the basic principle of Twitter as a platform for self-expression. “Some people use their hair to express themselves,” he told the staff. “I use Twitter.”