The Elon Speedrun Continues; Apparently Comedy Is Not Quite Legal On The New Twitter
Elon speed continues to run. Apparently, comics aren’t completely legal on the new Twitter
Last week we published a cheat sheet on how to speed up the learning curve to change content. It was really quick, but I don’t think Elon needed to look. Now he seems to be running briskly in public.
At a conference in May, Elon Musk said he opposed the idea of banning Perma.
“I don’t think banning Donald Trump was right, I think it was wrong,” Musk said. I would like to cancel the permanent ban. …but my opinion, and Jack Dorsey, I want to make clear, I share that opinion, is that we should not have a permanent ban.”
A few weeks ago, he said he hoped to “remain even my worst critic on Twitter, because that’s freedom of speech.”
He also said that when he spoke about the return of freedom of expression on Twitter, he meant “what goes with the law” and said he was “against censorship that goes far beyond the law.”
Beyond that (by which I mean more caveats), it has been noted that parodies are protected by the First Amendment, which makes them “legal”. And in one important case, illustrious judge Pierre Leval found that parody is still protected under the First Amendment, even if it misleads some. In this case, the parody of New York magazine allegedly was not classified as a parody. But Judge Leval points out that it doesn’t matter:
While New York’s position would have been stronger had her jokes been more direct, the ambiguity of the joke does not deprive her of First Amendment support. The protection of the First Amendment does not extend to those who speak clearly, whose jokes are funny, and whose satirical works succeed.
Oh, and one more thing: After acquiring Twitter, Musk declared that “comedy is now legal on Twitter.”
Good. Enough harbinger. On Sunday evening, Musk decreed that identity theft should immediately lead to Bramban’s performance.
From now on, any Twitter activity that impersonates itself without selecting “parody” will be permanently suspended.
Of course, as pretty much everyone has pointed out, it appears that the banned “mock” accounts are mostly people making fun of Elon Musk. Notably, comedian Kathy Griffin changed her name to Elon Musk and laughed at him. Others did something similar.
And so, just a week later, Musk is back in limitless “legal freedom of speech,” and he hopes all of his Twitter critics can stay in one take. It’s almost impressive.
And yes, you could argue (and I’m sure some pretty enthusiastic people in our comments will) that user impersonation can be an issue. Musk tried to explain that he was talking about verified accounts (which were considered verified accounts but are now “willing to pay $8 a month” under Musk). And yes, since the verified identities were checked out, I was able to see how hard it would be to impersonate someone else. This is less than the “Pay for Ticks Without Verification” setting.
But the point is, many of us are already trying to tell Musk that in March. Questions of moderation have nothing to do with “freedom of expression.” It’s something completely different.
I’m not jealous that Musk is trying to deal with the potential real problems that can come with imitation. But…if he had a little self-reflection, he would probably realize that all these hypocritical moves he’s making suggest that maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe Twitter and all the employees he fired had someone really decent (or shall we say designer) So) on what free speech actually means and how a platform like Twitter works.
And while I really hoped he’d keep everything a secret and flip it only to his fans, it really does seem like Musk is rushing through the learning curve to modify the content and make the same moves as others before him. It’s easy to scream “free speech for all” until everything explodes and people laugh at you left and right.
Anyway, comedy remains legal, and in a way it’s pretty funny.