Twitter looking for ‘White Knight’ to save it, Tony Katz says

Tech

(NewsNation) — Twitter has a unique way of deciding who gets to participate, and who doesn’t, radio host Tony Katz said — but it hasn’t been an arbiter allowing people to speak freely.

“That’s always been the argument. It’s always been the problem. Is Elon Musk, the guy to fix it? Well, he’s certainly talking that way.” Katz said on NewsNation’s “Morning in America.”

Billionaire and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has, in the past 10 days, gone from one of Twitter’s most vocal critics to offering to buy the social media platform outright. Musk has said the social media platform isn’t living up to its potential as a “platform for free speech.”

Twitter suspends accounts for violating its content standards on violence, hate speech or harmful misinformation. It’s even suspended former President Donald Trump, angering his followers.

So far, Musk has mostly described his goals in buying Twitter in broad terms, saying he wants to open up the ‘black box” of artificial intelligence so people have more transparency about why some tweets might go viral and others might disappear. He’s also said he favors temporary, rather than permanent, bans for users.

Twitter, instead of not being unbiased enough, is “purposefully biased” in their community standards, Katz said.

“I think Twitter is absolutely biased, tremendously biased,” Katz said.

When it comes to Twitter’s community standards, Katz said, it should be noted that Ayatollah Khamenei is still on the platform, as are followers of controversial Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has made many anti-semitic remarks accusing Jewish people of manipulating the U.S. government.

Twitter’s censorship can be seen in the social media site’s restrictions on a story by the New York Post about emails on Joe Biden’s son, Hunter’s, laptop, Katz said.

“That is their own internal politics, of going against our ability to engage freely,” Katz said.

With Musk’s announcement of his interest in buying Twitter came swift concern from people who do not think Musk will be effective at content moderation. GlobalData analyst Rachel Foster-Jones told the Associated Press that regulators worldwide will be “wincing” at the potential free speech implications should Musk’s Twitter takeover succeed.

“Musk is clearly serious about promoting free speech for the benefit of democracy, but the line between free speech and hate speech or misinformation is becoming increasingly muddied, and attempts to change Twitter could easily lead to these issues spiraling out of control,” she said.

While Musk has described himself as a “free speech absolutist,” he has blocked Twitter users who question or disagree with him.

Despite Musk’s $43 billion cash offer, Katz doubts Tesla CEO’s bid to buy Twitter will go through. It still has to be brought to a vote in front of Twitter’s shareholders.

“I think that there’s going to be real pressure put upon Twitter not to sell,” Katz said. “They are looking for a white knight.”

Even Musk himself has conceded it might be hard for him to buy Twitter: much of his $265 billion fortune is tied up in Tesla stock, and it’s unclear how much cash he has.

“I do think this will be somewhat painful and I’m not sure that I will actually be able to acquire it,” Musk has said.

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