Elon Musk is Threatened with “Sanctions” at World Economic Forum

Elon Musk is Threatened with “Sanctions” at World Economic Forum


Elon Musk is Threatened with “Sanctions” at World Economic Forum

He must “Behave” and Stop Free Speech

BECKER NEWS

“The time of the Wild West is over,” the European Commission’s Vice-President for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová warned Elon Musk at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.

Speaking with Euronews Next in Davos on Wednesday, Jourová said Twitter would face sanctions if it didn’t comply with the EU’s new online regulations.

Asked if the E.U. could force big platforms like Twitter to comply with the new online laws that aim to restrict speech and confine public opinion to state-approved narratives, she said that there was “nothing stronger than legislation in force.”

“We will have the Digital Services Act [DSA]. We will have the Code of Practice as a part of this legislation,” Jourová said.

“So, after Mr Musk took over Twitter with his ‘freedom of speech absolutism,’ we are the protectors of freedom of speech as well,” she claimed.

Jourová did not further clarify what she was talking about.

It isn’t the first time the E.U. has fired a warning shot at Elon Musk about allowing users to speak their minds freely on the digital platform.

Earlier in January, the European Commission warned Elon Musk that Twitter must do much more to protect users from “hate speech,” “misinformation” and other “harmful” content, or risk a fine and possibly even a ban under strict new EU content moderation rules.

Thierry Breton, the EU’s commissioner for digital policy, told Musk that the social media platform will have to significantly increase efforts to comply with the new rules, known as the Digital Services Act, which are set to take effect next year.

The two held a video call in January to discuss Twitter’s preparedness for the law, which will require tech companies to act as Thought Police on their platforms for content that the European governments find objectionable.

*********

(TLB) published this article from Becker News as compiled and written by Kyle Becker

Header featured image (edited) credit:  Jourová/Musk/orginal BN article

Emphasis added by (TLB) editors

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An Easy Way For Musk To Restore Free Speech On Twitter

An Easy Way For Musk To Restore Free Speech On Twitter


An Easy Way For Musk To Restore Free Speech On Twitter

The First Amendment Option

By Jonathan Turley

Twitter Logo

Below is my column in the Hill on one way for Elon Musk to re-introduce free speech values on his newly acquired social media platform. Pro-censorship advocates like former President Barack Obama may have given Musk a roadmap for restoring free speech on Twitter.

Here is the column:

For free speech advocates, Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter could prove the most impactful event since Twitter’s founding in 2006. The question, however, is how Musk can accomplish his lofty goal of restoring free speech values to social media. He first would have to untie the Gordian knot of censorship in a company now synonymous with speech control. The answer may be simpler than most people think. Indeed, anti-free-speech figures in the country may have given Musk the very roadmap he’s looking for: the First Amendment.

The purchase of Twitter alone will have immediate and transformative changes for free speech. The control over speech on social media required a unified front. Free speech is like water, it tends to find a way out. With social media, there was no way out because of the unified front of companies like Google, Apple and Facebook. Facebook is actually running commercials trying to convince people to embrace their own censorship. This message was reinforced by Democratic leaders like President Biden, who demanded that these companies expand censorship and curtail access to harmful viewpoints.

Now this market has one major competitor selling a free speech product.

The fear is that Musk might be proven right and that Twitter could become larger and more profitable by allowing more free speech. Facebook has not had much success in convincing customers to embrace censorship, but it may find shareholders wondering why the Facebook board (like the Twitter board) is undermining its own product as a communications company committed to limited speech.

Another immediate change could be the forced exodus of a line of ardent censors from the company, with Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal (hopefully) at the head of line. Agrawal is one of the most anti-free-speech figures in Big Tech. After taking over as CEO, Agrawal quickly made clear that he wanted to steer the company beyond free speech and that the issue is not who can speak but “who can be heard.”

However, once such figures are removed from Twitter, the question is how to re-establish a culture of free speech.

The answer may be in the very distinction used by Democratic politicians and pundits to justify corporate censorship.

For years, anti-free-speech figures have dismissed free speech objections to social media censorship by stressing that the First Amendment applies only to the government, not private companies.

The distinction was always a dishonest effort to evade the implications of speech controls, whether implemented by the government or corporations. The First Amendment was never the exclusive definition of free speech. Free speech is viewed by many of us as a human right; the First Amendment only deals with one source for limiting it. Free speech can be undermined by private corporations as well as government agencies. This threat is even greater when politicians openly use corporations to achieve indirectly what they cannot achieve directly.

Corporations clearly have free speech rights. Ironically, Democrats have long opposed such rights for companies, but they embrace such rights when it comes to censorship. The Democratic Party embraced corporate governance of free speech once these companies aligned themselves with their political agenda. Starbucks and every other company have every right to pursue a woke agenda. Social media companies, however, sell communications, not coffee. They should be in the business of free speech.

Democrats have continued to treat the First Amendment as synonymous with free speech, as a way to justify greater censorship.

Just last week, former President Barack Obama spoke at Stanford to flog this false line. Obama started by declaring himself, against every indication to the contrary, to be “pretty close to a First Amendment absolutist.” He then called for the censorship of anything that he considered “disinformation,” including “lies, conspiracy theories, junk science, quackery, racist tracts and misogynist screeds.”

He was able to do that by emphasizing that “The First Amendment is a check on the power of the state. It doesn’t apply to private companies like Facebook or Twitter.”

Well, what if it did?

The Constitution does not impose the same standard on Twitter — but Musk could. He could order a new Twitter team to err on the side of free speech while utilizing First Amendment standards to maximize protections on the platform. In other words, if the government could not censor a tweet, Twitter would not do so.

The key to such an approach is not to treat Twitter as akin to “government speech,” a category where the government has allowed major speech controls. Rather, tweets are very much as Musk has described them: akin to speech in “the digital town square.” If the government could not stop someone from speaking in a public forum like a town square, Twitter should not do so through private means.

The value to tying private speech to First Amendment jurisprudence is that there is a steady array of cases illuminating this standard and its applications.

Such a rule would admittedly allow a large array of offensive and objectionable speech — just as the First Amendment does in a public square. That is the price of free speech.

This is, admittedly, not a perfect fit. Twitter needs to protect itself from civil liability in the form of trademark, copyright and other violations in the use of its platforms. Moreover, most sites (including my own blog) delete racist and offensive terms. That can be done through standard moderation systems or, preferably, optional filters for users to adopt on Twitter. There are also standard rules against doxxing as well as personal threats or privacy violations.

Social media companies long had these limitations before plunging headlong into the type of content-based speech regulations made infamous by Twitter. Musk can use the baseline of the First Amendment with these limited augmentations to re-create the type of relatively open forums that once characterized the internet.

I have long admitted to being a type of “internet originalist” who prefers precisely the digital town square concept embraced by Musk. Adopting the First Amendment standards would create a foundation for free speech that can be tweaked to accommodate narrow, well-defined limitations.

The greatest challenge is not the restoration of free speech but the retention of such a site.

Notably, figures like Hillary Clinton have suddenly turned from advocating corporate censorship to calling for good old-fashioned state censorship. Last week, Clinton called on the European Union to pass the Digital Services Act (DSA), a massive censorship measure that has received preliminary approval. Coming after Musk’s bid for Twitter, Clinton and others now want to use European countries to offer the same circumvention of the First Amendment. Rather than use a corporate surrogate, they would use an alternative state surrogate to force Twitter to censor content or face stiff penalties in Europe.

Musk will have to fight that battle when it comes. In the interim, he can rally the public, as he did Twitter shareholders, to the cause of free speech.

*********

(TLB) published this article from Jonathan Turley with our appreciation for this  perspective. 

Header featured image/credit: The Choice is Yours/Birds/ nationandstate.com/ 2022/04/28/the-first-amendment-option


unnamed-1

Bio

Professor Jonathan Turley is a nationally recognized legal scholar who has written extensively in areas ranging from constitutional law to legal theory to tort law. He has written over three dozen academic articles that have appeared in a variety of leading law journals at Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Northwestern, University of Chicago, and other schools.

After a stint at Tulane Law School, Professor Turley joined the George Washington faculty in 1990 and, in 1998, was given the prestigious Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law, the youngest chaired professor in the school’s history. In addition to his extensive publications, Professor Turley has served as counsel in some of the most notable cases in the last two decades including the representation of whistleblowers, military personnel, judges, members of Congress, and a wide range of other clients.

Continue reading Bio…

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An Easy Way For Musk To Restore Free Speech On Twitter

An Easy Way For Musk To Restore Free Speech On Twitter


An Easy Way For Musk To Restore Free Speech On Twitter

The First Amendment Option

By Jonathan Turley

Twitter Logo

Below is my column in the Hill on one way for Elon Musk to re-introduce free speech values on his newly acquired social media platform. Pro-censorship advocates like former President Barack Obama may have given Musk a roadmap for restoring free speech on Twitter.

Here is the column:

For free speech advocates, Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter could prove the most impactful event since Twitter’s founding in 2006. The question, however, is how Musk can accomplish his lofty goal of restoring free speech values to social media. He first would have to untie the Gordian knot of censorship in a company now synonymous with speech control. The answer may be simpler than most people think. Indeed, anti-free-speech figures in the country may have given Musk the very roadmap he’s looking for: the First Amendment.

The purchase of Twitter alone will have immediate and transformative changes for free speech. The control over speech on social media required a unified front. Free speech is like water, it tends to find a way out. With social media, there was no way out because of the unified front of companies like Google, Apple and Facebook. Facebook is actually running commercials trying to convince people to embrace their own censorship. This message was reinforced by Democratic leaders like President Biden, who demanded that these companies expand censorship and curtail access to harmful viewpoints.

Now this market has one major competitor selling a free speech product.

The fear is that Musk might be proven right and that Twitter could become larger and more profitable by allowing more free speech. Facebook has not had much success in convincing customers to embrace censorship, but it may find shareholders wondering why the Facebook board (like the Twitter board) is undermining its own product as a communications company committed to limited speech.

Another immediate change could be the forced exodus of a line of ardent censors from the company, with Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal (hopefully) at the head of line. Agrawal is one of the most anti-free-speech figures in Big Tech. After taking over as CEO, Agrawal quickly made clear that he wanted to steer the company beyond free speech and that the issue is not who can speak but “who can be heard.”

However, once such figures are removed from Twitter, the question is how to re-establish a culture of free speech.

The answer may be in the very distinction used by Democratic politicians and pundits to justify corporate censorship.

For years, anti-free-speech figures have dismissed free speech objections to social media censorship by stressing that the First Amendment applies only to the government, not private companies.

The distinction was always a dishonest effort to evade the implications of speech controls, whether implemented by the government or corporations. The First Amendment was never the exclusive definition of free speech. Free speech is viewed by many of us as a human right; the First Amendment only deals with one source for limiting it. Free speech can be undermined by private corporations as well as government agencies. This threat is even greater when politicians openly use corporations to achieve indirectly what they cannot achieve directly.

Corporations clearly have free speech rights. Ironically, Democrats have long opposed such rights for companies, but they embrace such rights when it comes to censorship. The Democratic Party embraced corporate governance of free speech once these companies aligned themselves with their political agenda. Starbucks and every other company have every right to pursue a woke agenda. Social media companies, however, sell communications, not coffee. They should be in the business of free speech.

Democrats have continued to treat the First Amendment as synonymous with free speech, as a way to justify greater censorship.

Just last week, former President Barack Obama spoke at Stanford to flog this false line. Obama started by declaring himself, against every indication to the contrary, to be “pretty close to a First Amendment absolutist.” He then called for the censorship of anything that he considered “disinformation,” including “lies, conspiracy theories, junk science, quackery, racist tracts and misogynist screeds.”

He was able to do that by emphasizing that “The First Amendment is a check on the power of the state. It doesn’t apply to private companies like Facebook or Twitter.”

Well, what if it did?

The Constitution does not impose the same standard on Twitter — but Musk could. He could order a new Twitter team to err on the side of free speech while utilizing First Amendment standards to maximize protections on the platform. In other words, if the government could not censor a tweet, Twitter would not do so.

The key to such an approach is not to treat Twitter as akin to “government speech,” a category where the government has allowed major speech controls. Rather, tweets are very much as Musk has described them: akin to speech in “the digital town square.” If the government could not stop someone from speaking in a public forum like a town square, Twitter should not do so through private means.

The value to tying private speech to First Amendment jurisprudence is that there is a steady array of cases illuminating this standard and its applications.

Such a rule would admittedly allow a large array of offensive and objectionable speech — just as the First Amendment does in a public square. That is the price of free speech.

This is, admittedly, not a perfect fit. Twitter needs to protect itself from civil liability in the form of trademark, copyright and other violations in the use of its platforms. Moreover, most sites (including my own blog) delete racist and offensive terms. That can be done through standard moderation systems or, preferably, optional filters for users to adopt on Twitter. There are also standard rules against doxxing as well as personal threats or privacy violations.

Social media companies long had these limitations before plunging headlong into the type of content-based speech regulations made infamous by Twitter. Musk can use the baseline of the First Amendment with these limited augmentations to re-create the type of relatively open forums that once characterized the internet.

I have long admitted to being a type of “internet originalist” who prefers precisely the digital town square concept embraced by Musk. Adopting the First Amendment standards would create a foundation for free speech that can be tweaked to accommodate narrow, well-defined limitations.

The greatest challenge is not the restoration of free speech but the retention of such a site.

Notably, figures like Hillary Clinton have suddenly turned from advocating corporate censorship to calling for good old-fashioned state censorship. Last week, Clinton called on the European Union to pass the Digital Services Act (DSA), a massive censorship measure that has received preliminary approval. Coming after Musk’s bid for Twitter, Clinton and others now want to use European countries to offer the same circumvention of the First Amendment. Rather than use a corporate surrogate, they would use an alternative state surrogate to force Twitter to censor content or face stiff penalties in Europe.

Musk will have to fight that battle when it comes. In the interim, he can rally the public, as he did Twitter shareholders, to the cause of free speech.

*********

(TLB) published this article from Jonathan Turley with our appreciation for this  perspective. 

Header featured image/credit: The Choice is Yours/Birds/ nationandstate.com/ 2022/04/28/the-first-amendment-option


unnamed-1

Bio

Professor Jonathan Turley is a nationally recognized legal scholar who has written extensively in areas ranging from constitutional law to legal theory to tort law. He has written over three dozen academic articles that have appeared in a variety of leading law journals at Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Northwestern, University of Chicago, and other schools.

After a stint at Tulane Law School, Professor Turley joined the George Washington faculty in 1990 and, in 1998, was given the prestigious Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law, the youngest chaired professor in the school’s history. In addition to his extensive publications, Professor Turley has served as counsel in some of the most notable cases in the last two decades including the representation of whistleblowers, military personnel, judges, members of Congress, and a wide range of other clients.

Continue reading Bio…

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The Liberty Beacon Project is now expanding at a near exponential rate, and for this we are grateful and excited! But we must also be practical. For 7 years we have not asked for any donations, and have built this project with our own funds as we grew. We are now experiencing ever increasing growing pains due to the large number of websites and projects we represent. So we have just installed donation buttons on our websites and ask that you consider this when you visit them. Nothing is too small. We thank you for all your support and your considerations … (TLB)

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Comment Policy: As a privately owned web site, we reserve the right to remove comments that contain spam, advertising, vulgarity, threats of violence, racism, or personal/abusive attacks on other users. This also applies to trolling, the use of more than one alias, or just intentional mischief. Enforcement of this policy is at the discretion of this websites administrators. Repeat offenders may be blocked or permanently banned without prior warning.

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Disclaimer: TLB websites contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, health, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

••••

Disclaimer: The information and opinions shared are for informational purposes only including, but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material are not intended as medical advice or instruction. Nothing mentioned is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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