In the shift of the left against free speech principles, there is no figure more actively or openly pushing for censorship than Hillary Clinton. Now, reports indicate that Clinton has unleashed her allies in the corporate world to coerce Musk to restore censorship policies or face bankruptcy. The effort of the Clinton-linked “Accountable Tech” reveals the level of panic in Democratic circles that free speech could be restored on one social media platform. The group was open about how losing control over Twitter could result in a loss of control over social media generally. For Clinton, it is an “all-hands on deck” call for censorship. She previously called upon foreign governments to crackdown on the free speech of Americans on Twitter.
We have been discussing how Clinton and others have called on foreign countries to pass censorship laws to prevent Elon Musk from restoring free speech protections on Twitter. It seems that, after years of using censorship-by-surrogates in social media companies, Democratic leaders seem to have rediscovered good old-fashioned state censorship.
Accountable Tech led an effort to send a letter to top Twitter advertisers to force Musk to accept “non-negotiable” requirements for censorship.
General Motors was one of the first to pull its advertising funds to stop free speech restoration on the site.
Of course, the company had no problem with supporting Twitter when it was running one of the largest censorship systems in history — or supporting TikTok (which is Chinese owned and has been denounced for state control and access to data). Twitter has been denounced for years for its bias against conservative and dissenting voices, including presumably many GM customers on the right. None of that was a concern for GM but the pledge to restore free speech to Twitter warrants a suspension.
The letter is open about the potential cascading effect if free speech is restored on one platform: “While the company is hardly a poster-child for healthy social media, it has taken welcome steps in recent years to mitigate systemic risks, ratcheting up pressure on the likes of Facebook and YouTube to follow suit.”
The letter insists that free speech will only invite “disinformation, hate, and harassment” and that “[u]nder the guise of ‘free speech,’ [Musk’s] vision will silence and endanger marginalized communities, and tear at the fraying fabric of democracy.”
Among other things, the letter demands “algorithmic accountability,” a notable inclusion in light of Democratic politicians demanding enlightened algorithms to protect citizens from their own bad choices or thoughts.
In addition to Accountable Tech, twenty-five other groups signed the letter to demand the restoration of censorship policies, including Media Matters and the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation. Accountable Tech has partnered in the past with Hillary Clinton’s Onward Together nonprofit group.
I have no objection to boycotts, which are an important form of free speech. However, this boycott action is directed at restoring censorship and preventing others from being able to post or to read opposing viewpoints.
If consistent with their past records, these companies will likely cave to these demands. While the public has clearly shown that they want more (not less) free speech, these executives are likely to yield to the pressure of Clinton and other powerful figures to coerce Musk into limiting the speech of others on his platform.
These campaigns only add support to Musk’s push for alternative revenue sources, including verification fees. As I previously wrote, we can show that there is a market for free speech by supporting Twitter in trying to reduce the dependence on corporate sponsors. If Musk remains faithful to free speech, many customers are likely to join his platform and support his effort to reduce censorship on social media.