Elon Musk crosses a line
His rash comments are putting a former Twitter employee at risk. Musk won. He OWNS Twitter. He doesn't have to behave this way.
Elon Musk blocked me on Twitter this morning.
If you had THAT on your 2022 bingo card, congratulations.
The irony only gets thicker.
Musk is mad because I called him out for attacking Yoel Roth - who as Twitter’s former head of trust and safety is probably at least partly responsible for my ban last year.
Yes, I defended a former Twitter executive against the man I hoped would buy Twitter.
Because Musk has targeted Roth in a very dangerous way. For the last several days, Musk has repeatedly said that old Twitter didn’t do enough to end child pornography and sexual exploitation. Indeed, this article and this lawsuit raise serious questions about how well Twitter’s former management handled users posting sexual images of minors.
But child pornography is a problem across the Internet, and Musk has offered no specifics explaining what Twitter’s former management did wrong or what he plans to do differently. He has also fired most of the employees who were supposed to keep Twitter free of abusive material.
Maybe Musk fired them because he thought they had failed. Maybe they were caught in the larger layoffs. Either way they are gone. If Musk plans to rebuild the team, he has not said so publicly.
Instead, in the last 48 hours, he has helped cheerlead a campaign against Yoel Roth. The campaign has highlighted old and off-color tweets Roth made, as well as Roth’s University of Pennsylvania PhD thesis about Grindr, a gay sex and dating app. In the 289-page thesis, Roth noted that some people under 18 had taken advantage of Grindr’s weak age-confirmation protection to use the site and went on to write:
Even with the service’s extensive content management, Grindr may well be too lewd or too hook-up-oriented to be a safe and age-appropriate resource for teenagers; but the fact that people under 18 are on these services already indicates that we can’t readily dismiss these platforms out of hand as loci for queer youth culture. Rather than merely trying to absolve themselves of legal responsibility or, worse, trying to drive out teenagers entirely, service providers should instead focus on crafting safety strategies that can accommodate a wide variety of use cases for platforms like Grindr — including, possibly, their role in safely connecting queer young adults.
Musk turned Roth’s words - which cannot possibly be read as a defense of pedophilia or child sexual exploitation - into this:
It’s worth noting that less than five weeks ago - after he took over Twitter! - Musk supported Roth:
Then Roth quit, and I was glad to see him go - because he supported political and Covid censorship. That was all the reason I needed.
I can’t believe I have to say this, but no one - not Elon Musk or anyone else - has presented any evidence that Roth supports child pornography or sexual abuse.
I can’t believe I have to say this either, but - as I have clearly said from the beginning of this argument - my view that Twitter is a common carrier that cannot censor its users does NOT extend to child pornography. Material that is illegal offline is also illegal online.
To say the least, child pornography and child sexual abuse are highly charged topics (understatement alert). Musk has already seen the harm rashly accusing someone of pedophilia can cause. In 2018, he apologized for calling a British man in Thailand a “pedo guy”:
Now he has encouraged his 120 million followers to think the worst of Yoel Roth, a man whom he happily supported - until Roth quit and wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times criticizing the “sudden and alarming changes” Musk had made.
As you know, I support many of those “sudden and alarming changes.” In fact, I mostly wish Musk had gone farther on policy.
No matter. Musk’s fit this weekend has endangered Yoel Roth. If he has evidence that Roth or other Twitter employees supported child sexual abuse on Twitter, he should take it to an agency qualified to investigate. If not, he needs to leave Roth alone and stop inflaming passions around this issue before someone gets seriously hurt.
If blood flows, it will be on Elon Musk’s hands.
Nah, Musk isn’t crossing a line by trying to clean up twitter, sorry Alex but you’re off base here. Also - blocking is allowed fyi
I don't disagree with you often but this time you're wrong.