April 14, 2023

This Musk Smells Hateful


This Musk Smells Hateful
USAFA hosts Elon Musk, April 7, 2022. Justin Pacheco, Wikimedia Commons.

Elon Musk recently took to Twitter to respond to comments made by Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia (and ex-president), regarding Ukraine.

On April 8, Medvedev announced at the end of a large thread, "Nobody on this planet needs such a Ukraine. That's why it will disappear." Musk advised his followers to make informed decisions by themselves instead: "All news is to some degree propaganda. Let people decide for themselves."

Many Twitter users expressed their disappointment and disapproval of Musk's stance, with some accusing him of enabling the spread of Russian propaganda and misinformation. Some argued that, by not taking a stronger stance against Russia's actions, Musk was effectively condoning their behavior and contributing to the problem.

Under its new management, Twitter lifted restrictions on accounts affiliated with Russian authorities, allowing them to be recommended once again and to appear in search results. These include the official account of Vladimir Putin, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Russian Embassy in the UK, among others.

When Twitter was still a publicly-traded company, the platform released a statement outlining its intention to combat Russian disinformation: "We will not amplify or recommend government accounts belonging to states that limit access to free information and are engaged in armed interstate conflict - whether Twitter is blocked in that country or not."

However, the Telegraph ran a series of experiments and found that Twitter has since changed its policies. A newly-created account had Russian government tweets appear in its "For You" section, a feature driven by algorithms, despite the new account not following any Russian government accounts.

This isn't the first time Musk utilized his free speech regarding Russia, and it certainly seems like it won't be his last.

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