Twitter owner Elon Musk sparked confusion on Friday with the announcement of a new policy aimed at “hateful tweets.”
“Twitter’s new policy is freedom of speech, but not freedom of access,” Musk tweeted. “Negative/hateful tweets will be debunked and demonetized as much as possible, so there will be no advertising or other revenue on Twitter. You won’t find a tweet unless you specifically search for it, which That’s no different than the rest of the Internet.”
“Note, this only applies to the individual tweet, not the entire account,” he added.
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Musk’s policy has raised many questions, particularly over what constitutes a “hateful tweet.”
“But who decides what is a ‘hate tweet’?” Libs of TikTok asked.
“Who decides what is a negative or hateful tweet?” Comedian Tim Young was similarly surprised.
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“If I attack the Supreme Leader of Iran, is that considered a ‘negative/hate’ tweet? How will the system tell the difference?” Journalist Yashar Ali pressed Musk.
“Is it still considered ‘negative/hateful’ to refer to a biological man as a man?” wrote conservative commentator Matt Walsh.
Others criticized the policy, calling it akin to “shadow banning,” a term used to hide Twitter accounts from search results but not remove them from the platform.
“What Elon Musk is describing here is ‘shadow banning.” Apparently the *new* policy is what everyone thought the old policy was,” wrote Reason magazine senior editor Robby Soove.
“Well how is this different from the previous policy? People’s tweets suppressed because some bigoted rando on Twitter thinks the tweet is mean or crazy?” Ellie Beth Stuckey, host of the conservative podcast, expressed surprise.
“Audacious visionary Elon Musk invented shadow banning,” quipped Twitch personality Hassan Packer.
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“You paid $8 to make this guy real LMAO,” said Hill reporter Zach Budrack.
“@elonmusk It’s your company, so you’re free to implement whatever policies you want. But free speech includes speech that challenges and sometimes offends others. Thus people grow. ‘Negative’ tweets are difficult to find, and undermine the process. There is no way this policy can be applied uniformly,” former congressman Justin Amash told Billionaire.
“This sounds like something the Chinese Communist Party would support,” tweeted Daily Wire senior writer Ryan Saavedra.
However, not everyone was negative about Musk’s anti-negative policy.
“A key principle of speech regulation before the Internet was to punish the speech, not the speaker. The system focused on specific harms and encouraged speakers who crossed lines to remain in the discussion, but made mistakes. Learn. Permanent restrictions discourage such development. Good news,” reacted substack author Matt Taibe.
Musk has previously championed himself as a free-speech autocrat, leaving critics to suggest that his new policy contradicts his core principles.
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The new policy rollout was coupled with the announcement that the Twitter accounts of The Babylon Bee, Jordan Peterson and Kathy Griffin would be reinstated, adding that the decision to reinstate former President Trump “hasn’t been made yet.” “
Twitter’s initial ban on Bee, which was implemented after the conservative satirical outlet’s joke about a transgender person mocking Biden administration official Rachel Levin, reportedly pursued Musk to take over the company. Affected