Twitter isn’t about to rush into big content policy changes now that Elon Musk owns the company. Musk has announced that the social network will form a moderation council with members holding “widely diverse viewpoints.” There won’t be any “major” content decisions or ban reversals until that council meets, the entrepreneur says.
Musk hasn’t named council members or provided a timeline for the council’s creation. We’ve asked Twitter if it can comment on the strategy or provide additional details, and we’ll let you know if we hear more.
The Tesla chief has vowed to make substantial changes to Twitter’s moderation policy, such as relaxing the overall rules and limiting permanent bans on people like Donald Trump. However, the council plans suggest Musk could take some time to implement a new approach, and may delegate at least some of the responsibility. He recently tried to reassure advertisers that Twitter won’t become a “free-for-all hellscape” where ads run alongside horrific posts.
Twitter will be forming a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints.
No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 28, 2022
This isn’t to say Musk is avoiding all swift decisions. He has already fired multiple executives, including policy head Vijaya Gadde. Musk reportedly informed rank-and-file staff that he won’t lay off as many people as feared, but he’s still expected to cut jobs in relatively short order. Tesla engineers are believed to be helping with a code review that could lead to technical revisions.
If and when the council arrives, critics will be watching it closely. Conservatives have long accused Twitter of silencing right-wing viewpoints, and have gone so far as to enact state laws that force social networks to carry more content. Others, however, have rejected the claims and contended that strong moderation is necessary to prevent hate speech and misinformation from gaining traction. A moderation panel theoretically addresses both sides of the debate, but its effectiveness is far from established at this stage.