With the midterm elections on the horizon, talks of mass layoffs, and the uptick of hate speech on the platform, everybody is rightfully worried about Twitter’s direction. New Twitter CEO Elon Musk had a Zoom call with a collection of civil rights groups on Tuesday to assure them that hate speech and election disinformation would be curtailed, Politico notes.
The participants included the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League, the Asian American Foundation, Color of Change, and more. A notable omission is groups that represent people who identify as LBGTQ+.
There was some confusion as to whether Musk would allow previously banned users back on the platform. Musk wrote in a tweet about the meeting that “Twitter will not allow anyone who was de-platformed for violating Twitter rules back on [the] platform until we have a clear process for doing so, which will take at least a few more weeks.”
Musk has stated he plans to create a moderation council to look at existing policies regarding content that could be considered harmful. However, the steps outlining what the council would be doing have not been presented to the public yet. The groups on the Zoom call were cautiously optimistic about the call, but leaders like NAACP President Derrick Johnson still have some concerns.
From Tech Crunch:
“The NAACP met with Elon Musk to express our grave concerns with the dangerous, life-threatening hate and conspiracies that have proliferated on Twitter under his watch. According to a report, hate speech increased by approximately 500% in the first 12 hours following his acquisition. Now let that sink in,” said NAACP President Derrick Johnson in an emailed statement.
“Nazi memes, racial slurs, and extreme far-right propaganda do not belong in the ‘town square’ of any democracy or online platform. […] In the immediacy, it is critical that Twitter’s existing election integrity policies remain in effect until at the very least after the midterm elections have been certified.”
Free Press and other civil rights groups published a report calling on Twitter’s top 20 advertising partners to hold Musk accountable regarding his content promises. Co-CEO Jessica Gonzalez said she would wait and see if Musk would stay the course. “These are words, and we will hold him accountable based on his actions, not on his words,” she said.