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Friday, December 1, 2023

Elon Musk says Twitter to form new ‘content moderation council’

Musk's comments come one day after he sought to ensure advertisers that he did not want his ownership of Twitter to result in the company becoming a "free-for-all hellscape."

Twitter owner Elon Musk announced on Friday that the social media company will form a new body to police content on the platform, though he did not offer much in the way of details.

“Twitter will be forming a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints,” tweeted Musk. “No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes.”

Read more: Elon Musk takes control of Twitter, fires executives

Musk’s comments come one day after he sought to ensure advertisers that he did not want his ownership of Twitter to result in the company becoming a “free-for-all hellscape.”

Musk has long taken a more hardline approach to free speech, but in a message geared toward advertisers, he vowed to continue Twitter’s policies of policing various content, including hate speech and threats of violence.

“The reason I acquired Twitter is that it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” Musk wrote in the hours leading up to his $44 billion deal’s closure.

“There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far right wing and far left wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society,” he added.

Musk said that in addition to ensuring the company is run in compliance with US laws, “our platform must be warm and welcoming to all.” He had previously signaled that he would reinstate former President Donald Trump’s account, though the former commander-in-chief has said he would not return to Twitter as he seeks to maintain his in-house Twitter competitor.

Read more: Elon Musk under federal investigations over Twitter deal

Concerns had mounted that should Musk purchase Twitter, he would cut back or throw out its efforts to moderate content, particularly hate speech, which would likely leave many advertisers scrambling for the exits along with everyday users.

Addressing advertisers directly, Musk said he believes “that advertising, when done right, can delight, entertain and inform you; it can show you a service or product or medical treatment that you never knew existed, but is right for you.”

“For this to be true, it is essential to show Twitter users advertising that is as relevant as possible to their needs,” he wrote. “Twitter aspires to be the most respected advertising platform in the world that strengthens your brand and grows your enterprise. To everyone who has partnered with us, I thank you. Let us build something extraordinary together.”