Elon Musk, a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist,” is threatening to sue the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for billions of dollars because the group has publicly criticized his management of X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. In a public meltdown over X’s declining financial condition, Musk accused the ADL, an organization founded in 1913 “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all,” of being “the biggest generators of anti-semitism” on X.
It wasn’t always like this.
On November 2, 2022, a few days after acquiring Twitter for $44 billion, Elon Musk met with representatives of the ADL and other civil rights groups to address their concerns about content moderation. After the meeting, Musk described the ADL president Jonathan Greenblatt and the others in attendance as “civil society leaders” and assured the group that “Twitter will continue to combat hate.” He promised that “Twitter will not allow anyone who was de-platformed for violating Twitter rules back on platform until we have a clear process for doing so,” and that would involve a “content moderation council.” The council, Musk said, would “include representatives with widely divergent views, which will certainly include the civil rights community and groups who face hate-fueled violence.”
But all of that was a lie.
Musk never formed a content moderation council and began making unilateral decisions to reinstate previously banned users. The ADL and other civil rights groups called for advertisers “to pause their spend globally until it becomes clear whether Twitter remains committed to being a safe place for advertisers as well as society overall.” [Continue reading…]