The fine line between freedom of speech and hate speech: Twitter in the “Musk era”

As we all know, Twitter, one of the most influential social media platform, is now owned by billionaire Elon Musk. The reason behind this acquisition is easy to understand, using Musk’s words: “the bird is freed”[1].

Unfortunately, too often freedom of speech and hate speech are connected and, as a study from the Montclair State University[2] shows, the direction the “renewed” platform is taking is already concerning.

Quoting the mentioned study: “The seven-day average of Tweets using the studied hate terms prior to Musk’s acquisition was never higher than 84 times per hour. However, on October 28 alone, from midnight to noon (immediately following Musk’s acquisition), those terms were used 4778 times”.


Image from Montclair State University’s study


Unsupervised platforms are known for being an altar to hate speech, disinformation, and extremist content. Therefore, following the billionaire’s statement, Twitter attracted users who wanted to share those types of content.

In this context, we should ask ourselves where the line between freedom and respect lies. We have to ask ourselves if we are willing to sacrifice years of progress in hate speech reporting on social media platforms, in the name of this so called “freedom”.

Even though is true that freedom of expression is a fundamental right of humanity[3], we shall never forget that it must be contained where it infringes other rights of individuals, or groups of individuals, through misconduct.



[3] ART. 19 of the Declaration of Human Rights

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