Elon Musk calls himself a ‘free speech absolutist’. Is it another of his Twitter jokes? – Technology News, Firstpost

It is official! Elon Musk, the richest man in the world, buys Twitter. He has used the social media platform, where he has more than 84 million followers, to shape his public personality – he pisses people off, and when he wants to, he goes crazy. Now he wants to transform Twitter.

Musk has big plans for the site, which he says is not living up to its potential as an acquittal platform. “Freedom of speech is the foundation of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where issues vital to the future of humanity are debated,” Musk said in a statement when the deal was announced Monday.

The billionaire who calls himself a “free speech absolutist” wants his worst critics to continue tweeting on the microblogging website he says is extremely “important for the future of civilization.”

He wants to make Twitter a friendlier place for free speech by “be careful of” permanent bans. “The policy of a social media platform is good when the most extreme 10% left and right are equally unhappy,” he tweeted on Tuesday.

But it’s one thing to tame free speech and another to take criticism. We look at Musk’s track record.

Fire employees

If we are to believe the Tesla CEO’s employees and critics, his “freedom of speech” claims are nothing but a farce. Aside from defending their right to speak out, Musk has suppressed it in the past by beating people up with lawsuits and finding a way to punish them for their convictions. He has fired employees who disagreed with him.

John Bernal, a former Telsa employee, was fired after he posted YouTube reviews of the car’s autopilot feature on his channel. The video shows his Tesla hitting a billboard.

Before the resignation, Bernal was told by his executives that he had “violated Tesla policy” and that his YouTube channel was a “conflict of interest”. However, the written notice of divorce did not state any reason for his resignation.

“Looks like @elonmusk is a free speech absolutist…unless it’s security concerns IMO,” he wrote on Twitter Monday.

In a video posted earlier this month, Bernal said, “I was fired from Tesla in February and my YouTube was cited as the reason. Even though my uploads are from my personal vehicle outside of business hours or owned with the software for which I have payed.’

Bernal isn’t alone in paying a heavy price for censoring Tesla. Cristina Balan was fired from the company after she raised the alarm about vehicle safety. That’s not all. The company also began leaking misinformation about her to the press. Balan, who has filed a defamation charge against Tesla, told The Times, “Musk is an absolutist about absolutism, which is the exact opposite of free speech.”

Tesla Motors CEO has fired employees who were critical of the company. AFP

Hunting for journalists, critics

Those who do not work with Telsa, but are involved with the company as a customer or journalist, are far from safe.

It will require customers testing the entire self-driving technology to sign nondisclosure agreements stating that they must “selectively choose” what they post on YouTube because “there are a lot of people who want Tesla to fail,” LA Times reports.

A journalist, who failed to give rave reviews at the Tesla Model X launch event, was called by Musk and their order for the vehicle was canceled.

Things didn’t go well for an unnamed investor nicknamed “Montana Skeptic” when he predicted Tesla’s stock would tank. Musk found out who he was, called his company and threatened to sue.

Skeptic decided to deactivate his Twitter account and stopped writing about Tesla. “My response to his[Musk’s}threatswassimplytoprotectmyemployerandkeepmyjob”hewroteinablog[Musk’s}threatswassimplytoprotectmyemployerandpreservemyemployment”hewroteinablog[Musk’s}dreigementenwasgewoonommijnwerkgevertebeschermenenmijnbaantebehouden”schreefhijineenblog[Musk’s}threatswassimplytoprotectmyemployerandpreservemyemployment”hewroteinablog

‘No man you want to cross’

Musk’s alleged bigotry extends beyond Tesla. After cave rescue driver Vernon Unsworth said Musk who sent engineers and submarines to rescue stranded children in Thailand was a “PR student,” the entrepreneur called the man a “pedo” on Twitter. He hired a private investigator to prove his accusation, calling the man a “child molester” in an email to a BuzzFeed reporter.

Unsworth sued Musk, but lost the case. His lawyers argued that a reasonable person should not take his tweets seriously.

Musk “is willing to go to great lengths to punish or retaliate against people who speak badly of him,” said Ed Niedermeyer, who struggled to find sources to talk to him, even off the record, for his book on Tesla, to LA Times. Sources who did contact the writer told him: “Elon Musk is not a man you want to cross.”

Elon Musk is one of Twitter’s most followed personalities with over 84 million followers. AP

The Evil MuskBros

Musk has vowed to “beat the spambots or die trying”. Ironically, many of his and Tesla’s millions of followers are bots.

He also has a devoted fan base known for viciously attacking and trolling people online, and even campaigns against them if they have something unkind to say about Tesla or its owner. They often scold people for holding views that are not favorable to either of them.

Musk’s fans who revere him are “known for addressing people they believe have crossed him, especially journalists, with relentless zeal,” writes The Verge in an article titled “The Gospel of Elon Musk, According to his flock’.

When Musk lashes out at the media for negative publicity, his fans follow. They keep attacking those chosen by the entrepreneur for days on end. Some of the toxic fan base doesn’t hesitate to target women.

“…there’s an army – mostly young, mostly white, almost entirely men – marching behind him. These MuskBros, as we call them, make it their mission to descend on women who criticize Musk, and give them tear it to pieces. I know, because it happened to me. More than once,” journalist Erin Baba wrote in The Daily Beast.

Musk may call himself the banner of free speech, but the evidence suggests otherwise.

With input from agencies

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