Twitter CEO Elon Musk got into a fascinating confrontation with former Twitter Files journalist Matthew Yglesias on Saturday as the hot topic of a Turkish government censorship request arose.
Did your brain fall out of your head, Yglesias? The choice is have Twitter throttled in its entirety or limit access to some tweets. Which one do you want?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 13, 2023
“In response to legal process and to ensure Twitter remains available to the people of Turkey, we have taken action to restrict access to some content in Turkey today,” Twitter Global Government Affairs reported to users on Friday. “We have informed the account holders of this action in line with our policy. This content will remain available in the rest of the world.”
“The Turkish government asked Twitter to censor its opponents right before an election and Elon Musk complied — should generate some interesting Twitter Files reporting,” Yglesias remarked.
“Did your brain fall out of your head, Yglesias?” Musk retorted. “The choice is have Twitter throttled in its entirety or limit access to some tweets. Which one do you want?”
“As I said it sounds like the Twitter Files reporting on this will be interesting — will be eager to see that the gang does with the info that’s surely coming their way,” Yglesias responded in a follow-up tweet.
As I said it sounds like the Twitter Files reporting on this will be interesting — will be eager to see that the gang does with the info that’s surely coming their way. https://t.co/yiHGgA4Lfu
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) May 13, 2023
“I agree with this move by Twitter because of this very reason,” left-wing commentator Brian Krassenstein commented. “My one request would be for a public announcement regarding the reasons for the block. Transparency would go a long way.”
“We could post what the government in Turkey sent us,” Musk replied. “Will do.”
A Twitter user named Razi Berry made a highly relevant remark about the U.S. primary and general election campaign seasons.
“Will you censor the current primary or upcoming election season in any way?” she asked. “What is the civic integrity tos (terms of service)? Because the censorship of election speech was still in effect at 2022 midterms.”
Elon Musk is turning over his Twitter CEO job to a World Economic Forum-affiliated woman named Linda Yaccarino, who was former head of advertising at NBCUniversal.
Excited to announce that I’ve hired a new CEO for X/Twitter. She will be starting in ~6 weeks!
My role will transition to being exec chair & CTO, overseeing product, software & sysops.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 11, 2023
Apart from being the Chairman of Global Advertising and Partnerships at NBCU, Yaccarino is the Chairman of the WEF’s Taskforce on Future of Work and sits on the WEF’s Media, Entertainment and Culture Industry Governors Steering Committee.
Big Tech’s allowance of free speech is a crucial aspect of democratic accountability and election integrity. It will be interesting to see if Yaccarino honors this critical aspect of democracy and the stated vision of Elon Musk that Twitter will be a free speech platform.
Editor’s note: This article was corrected to remove the attribution of Yglesias as a Twitter Files journalist.
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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.