26 NGOs call for a boycott following the takeover by Elon Musk

The new Twitter promised by Elon Musk raises the concerns of several NGOs. In a letter addressed to brands, 26 NGOs are calling for a boycott of the social network if the billionaire applies changes to content moderation.

Elon Musk finally managed to get his hands on Twitter. The richest man in the world plans to make major changes to the social network founded by Jack Dorsey. Openly libertarian, the billionaire has already announced his intention torelax moderation. Elon Musk believes that Twitter has gone too far in censoring online content. “Freedom of expression is the foundation of a functioning democracy”, launched Elon Musk in the wake of the takeover.

The changes promised by the Tesla founder do not please everyone. Several Twitter employees fear that Elon Musk will turn the social network into an anarchic platform devoid of any control. The concern is shared by several NGOs.

26 NGOs ask brands to boycott Twitter if Elon Musk implements promised changes

In an open letter sent to the brands, a coalition of 26 NGOs asks advertisers to boycott Twitter if Elon Musk keeps his free speech promises. The coalition includes Media Matters for America, Accountable Tech and UltraViolet, organizations that fight against online disinformation and causes such as racism, homophobia or racism.

“Under Musk’s leadership, Twitter risks becoming a misinformation pit. Your brand risks being associated with a platform that amplifies hate, extremism, health misinformation and conspiracy theories (…) Your ad budget can fund Musk’s whim or empower him”encourages the coalition in a letter relayed by our colleagues from BFM.

Concretely, the NGOs are asking brands that pay to run ads on Twitter to commit to desert the social network if Elon Musk applies his program. Deprived of advertising revenue, the social network should theoretically bend to the demands of brands. It seems that Elon Musk expected criticism of this ilk and attempts to pressure.

To avoid being dependent on advertisers, the new owner of Twitter aims tofree the platform from corporate influence and advertising. Musk instead wants Twitter to derive revenue from selling premium subscriptions to certain users, such as brands or governments.

NGOs fear Donald Trump’s return to Twitter

The open letter also demands that all people banned from Twitter do not their return after Musk’s takeover. Without naming him, the NGO coalition thinks in particular of Donald Trump, one of the most famous individuals banned from the platform. The US president was ousted from Twitter following the attack on the capitol in January 2021. Twitter moderating believed that Trump was indirectly responsible for the event because of his hateful tweets.

Throughout his presidency, the former tenant of the White House posted several tweets considered to be incitement to violence. Rumors that have appeared online claim, without any proof, that Musk could reintegrate the former president into the social network in the name of freedom of expression.

“Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter will further toxify our information ecosystem and pose a direct threat to public safety, especially among those who are already the most vulnerable and marginalized”believes the coalition.

Annoyed by the letter sent to brands, Elon Musk spoke on Twitter to denounce an attempt at manipulation. “Who funds these organizations that want to control your access to information?”tackles Elon Musk, pointing out that many NGOs are funded by billionaire philanthropist George Soros or by former US presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. “I wonder if those who fund these organizations are fully aware of what the organizations are doing”added the billionaire.

On the same theme: Elon Musk tackles Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter, the American politician reframes him severely

Unfounded fears?

Despite the concerns expressed by NGOs, Elon Musk’s room for maneuver looks rather limited. Under the aegis of the libertarian billionaire, Twitter will always have to comply with the law. As Cédric O, the Secretary of State in charge of digital, reminds us, “the Digital services act – and therefore the obligation to fight against disinformation, online hate, etc. – will apply regardless of the ideology of its owner”. The European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, agrees and specifies that “whatever the new shareholding, Twitter will have to fully adapt to European rules”.

Source: BFM

Leave a Comment