Former CIA analyst Bob Baer, in an interview with CNN's Boris Sanchez, said that the idea of “free speech” on Elon Musk's Twitter is “nonsense.”
Sanchez started the discussion by noting that Musk recently said that banned accounts will be reinstated, after a poll the Tesla owner launched went in favor of granting amnesty to accounts that had been censored by Twitter.
Baer said, “Well Boris, I can tell you one thing, Putin is going to be all over Twitter.
“If there's no regulations on this, fake accounts, spoofed accounts, the rest of it – this is a great opportunity for him. And so when he's talking about the popular voice, Musk he's really talking about Russian intelligence.”
He added: “The Russians are waiting for something like this. They need a propaganda campaign against the United States and against our support for Ukraine, and they're gonna be all over Twitter – I guarantee this – supporting the far right, plans, demands to stop arming Ukraine. You just wait.”
Baer explained how Russia could use the platform for a disinformation campaign: “What Putin's gonna do, and the Russians, is they're gonna use this as a vehicle to save himself in Ukraine. And you know, whether it's gonna work or not, I don't know. But we're gonna see, as soon as these restrictions come off, we're gonna see the Russians all over it.”
Asked how Twitter can combat the spread of disinformation, Baer said that the platform was already doing it before Musk took over.
“Well that's why the pre-Musk Twitter had 7000 people going through these accounts. You can pick ‘em out with algorithms, you can pick ‘em out by looking at ‘em. You can check IPs and the rest of it, and you simply block ‘em,” the CIA analyst explained.
7000 was the approximate total number of employees at Twitter, not the size of the moderation team.
Baer blasted Musk's idea of free speech, saying, “And it's not right. And you know, this freedom of speech [idea] is just nonsense, 'cause you can't go into a movie theater and yell, ‘fire!' It's against the law,” – ? repeating a statement that in itself is misinformation.