Elon Musk, Twitter’s next owner, provides his definition of “free speech”

Illustration of Elon Musk juggling three birds in the shape of Twitter's logo.

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson | Photo by Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

Elon Musk has claimed he is buying Twitter in order to protect free speech. But what does Musk mean by “free speech”? Musk provided a somewhat vague answer in a tweet on Tuesday, one day after striking a deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion. (The sale to Musk is pending and needs shareholder approval to be completed.)

Musk’s statement, which he made the pinned tweet on his Twitter profile, said the following:

By “free speech”, I simply mean that which matches the law. I am against censorship that goes far beyond the law.

If people want less free speech, they will ask government to pass laws to that effect. Therefore, going beyond the law is contrary to the will of the people.

Twitter has First Amendment right to moderate tweets

There are multiple ways to interpret Musk’s statement as it relates to United States law, particularly the First Amendment. One interpretation is that Musk doesn’t need to change Twitter at all to prevent “censorship that goes far beyond the law.”

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