“Free speech does not include spreading misinformation to downplay political violence,” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who also is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, tweeted – referencing an alleged “uptick in hate speech” since Elon Musk took Twitter private.
“Misinformation” is protected by the First Amendment.
The uptick that Senator Durbin is referencing was a bot campaign that Twitter suggests was used to troll the platform and the media as soon as Musk took control of the company.
Senator’s Durbin’s comments followed Twitter CEO Elon Musk tweeting a link to an article containing claims about the attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul.
Musk posted the link in response to a tweet by Hillary Clinton that contained a link by the Los Angeles Times. She wrote: “The Republican Party and its mouthpieces now regularly spread hate and deranged conspiracy theories. It is shocking, but not surprising, that violence is the result. As citizens, we must hold them accountable for their words and the actions that follow.”
While posting the link, Musk wrote: “There is a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye.” Musk deleted the tweet after about six hours. However, it already had over 100,000 likes and 28,000 retweets.
Musk did not explain why he deleted the tweet.
He has initially claimed to be a “free speech absolutist.” However, in a statement to advertisers after he became Twitter’s new owner, he said that the platform will not become a “free-for-all hellscape.”