Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the a-hypocrite-is-hypocriting dept

Oh, Elon. Following on yesterday’s nonsense in banning the ElonJet account that robotically posted the public information regarding Elon’s private plane flights, and then trying to justify it later (after initially promising to keep the account alive to demonstrate his “commitment to free speech”), it appears that Elon’s commitment to free speech continues to dwindle.

This afternoon it showed itself in the form of banning the @JoinMastodon account, which is the official account of the Mastodon federated, open source, social media network that has been growing by leaps and bounds, mostly from people exiting Twitter.

Image showing @joinmastodon account suspended

Its crime? From the Internet Archive, it appears that its last tweet was… to let people know that the @ElonJet account exists on Mastodon:

Image showing Mastodon's Twitter account letting people know that ElonJet exists on Mastodon.

Just earlier this week, in a Twitter spaces, Elon mocked Mastodon by claiming that people weren’t going there because “no one’s listening,” implying that the audience is too small. I’ll just note that, personally, I’ve found the opposite to be true. The engagement on Mastodon has been a lot more interesting and valuable than on Twitter of late.

Either way, it does seem like Musk is doing the classic content moderation learning curve in quite incredible speed — and still without actually learning anything.

Now, we’re the first to admit that content moderation at scale is impossible to do well, and that it’s important to give the benefit of the doubt to mistakes. But, seriously, how does one explain this?

The Mastodon account did not violate even the new policy. I guess, if you did a really, really strained reading of the new policy, by linking to the ElonJet account on Mastodon, it was, in some twisted way, linking to travel routes, and that’s banned? That’s the best explanation for this. But… it’s still not a good one.

And it definitely does not show a commitment to free speech.

Then, of course, there are the worst explanations for this, which is that Musk actually is nervous about how much Mastodon is growing. As impulsive as Musk appears to be, I actually doubt that’s why this happened at all. But it still looks pretty, pretty bad.

But, yeah. Every social media network needs some form of content moderation. It’s not about “censorship,” as some people keep claiming. But how that moderation plays out is very much dependent on who is in control over the site. And sometimes it may be a hypocritical billionaire surrounded by sycophants with no real commitment to anything other than himself.

Anyway, I’ve been hanging out at Mastodon myself, and it’s been great. Come follow me there. I’m hoping to have some more posts soon about some of what I’ve learned while there.

Filed Under: content moderation, elon musk, elonjet, hypocrisy, mastodon

Companies: twitter

Leave a Reply