By MichaelMH Published Dec. 18, 2022
Twitter has been in hot water since Elon Musk took over, and its latest announcement won't do anything to reverse its fortunes. On Sunday, the company announced that it would start banning accounts that promote any of seven rival social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, Post, and others. In other words, Twitter has declared war on competitors!
At first glance, the ban might seem like a smart move for Twitter; after all, why should any company let another competitor use its platform to promote their own? However, given how much backlash the platform has already gotten due to Musk's actions, including legions of people voicing their frustration and anger and directing their followers to find them elsewhere, this move could easily backfire. It could alienate even more people from the platform who don't want to be told what they can and can't post about other social networks.
Related Video: The Future of Free Speech on Twitter Under Musk
Not to mention the legal implications that former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti noted in a reply to Musk, Twitter and other social media platforms are not traditional publishers, as such publishers have civil and criminal legal liability for the things that they publish.
In other words, if Twitter decides to classify itself as a traditional publisher, it would be legally liable for every tweet that is posted on the website.
"It appears that you admit that you’re a publisher for purposes of Section 230 of Title 47 of the United States Code," Mariotti explained to Musk. "Have you thought about the consequences of the positions you’re taking, or are you just winging it?"
Éric Freyssinet, the deputy director of France's Cyberspace Gendarmerie Command, similarly warned Musk that his company could lose protections against both civil and criminal legal liabilities if it really enforces this policy.
"Any attempt to remove my tweets that link to my other social media accounts, not violating any law, would actually make Twitter an editorial media, and no longer a social media platform, with civil and criminal liability for *any* illegal content therein," he explained.
Twitter's latest announcement is sure to drive away even more users in an already tumultuous time for the company. While it makes sense from a business perspective for them to limit competition on their platform, this ban has implications for free speech that cannot be ignored. Ultimately, only time will tell how successful this move will be, but in all likelihood, it won't help Twitter regain its former glory anytime soon.