A cowboy to the rescue?
The recent acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk culminates an amazing sequence of events that bodes well for free speech. For “activist archaeologists”, Musk’s takeover offers the possibility of Twitter becoming a “go-to” public platform for archaeologists…
…who seek to disseminate new research findings on current events quickly so their research can be included in the public discourse. Granted, there is always a risk when presenting research not yet peer reviewed; however, as a means to stimulate public discourse to new ways of thinking, Twitter’s potential is enticing.
In his “tweets” leading up to his bid to take Twitter private, Musk shared that Twitter was the de facto town hall, but was undermining its status as such by censoring information through cryptic algorithms. With any censorship, the first question is who are the censors and the second is how do they decide what to censor? To Musk’s credit, he has promised to make Twitter’s algorithms open source.
The path to a truly open platform respectful of free speech will not be easy. Deciding where to draw the line between free speech and inciting violence, for example, is a question that has been debated in America, at least, since the ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791. Musk will be challenged. Nevertheless, an internet without undue and harmful censorship has just taken a step closer to becoming a reality. Hats off to Musk for trying.