Social network Twitter was a hotbed for chaos on October 28th following Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s acquisition. Some reported an increase in racism and bigotry on the platform, while others claimed Musk would reinstate former President Donald Trump’s account (which, as a reminder, was banned after Trump incited the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol).
Amid the chaos of Musk’s Twitter takeover, Musk tweeted that the company will form a “content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints” and that there would be “no major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes.”
Twitter will be forming a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints.
No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 28, 2022
As has been pointed out elsewhere, Musk’s tweet is likely an attempt to ease concerns of advertisers, much like Musk’s earlier tweet to advertisers about not making Twitter a “free-for-all hellscape” where “highly relevant ads are actually content!” The thing is, Musk has been talking about making Twitter into a free-for-all hellscape for a while. If nothing else, it’ll be interesting to see how Musk attempts to appease the advertisers he needs for Twitter to make money and his most rabid fans who just want to tweet slurs.
Moreover, Twitter already has a trust and safety council that advises it on product and policy decisions. Formed in 2016, Twitter expanded it in 2020 to form groups dedicated to difficult topics like safety, online harassment, digital rights, suicide prevention and more.
In the same vein, Musk fired several Twitter executives, including Vijaya Gadde, head of legal and policy. Gadde was a key figure in shaping Twitter’s content moderation policy and supporting free speech on the platform. Notably, Musk incited a wave of harassment against Gadde following several tweets criticizing her earlier this year.
Ultimately, it remains to be seen what shape this new content moderation council takes. It may be advisory, like the trust and safety council, or perhaps it could be similar to Meta’s Oversight Board. Whatever happens, the council is almost guaranteed to stir up more controversy and chaos.
For the latest on all the Musk x Twitter news, check out our coverage here.