Some Twitter users say a platform under Elon Musk would be ‘terrifying’

Some LGBTQ people fear that the harassment they face on Twitter could get worse if Elon Musk succeeds in buying the company and making it private.

Twitter’s board of directors unanimously approved the sale of the platform to Musk for $44 billion on Monday, but the deal requires Shareholder and regulatory approval semi-final.

Some transgender people say Twitter has helped them connect with other LGBT people and build a community, but they are afraid of what might happen if a self-described masquerade. “absolute freedom of expression” Keep the company private, especially at a time when LGBT people and other marginalized groups are facing rampant online harassment.

Photo: Elon Musk during a press conference at the SpaceX Starbase facility near the village of Boca Chica, Texas, on February 10, 2022.
Elon Musk during a press conference at SpaceX’s Starbase facility near the village of Boca Chica, Texas on February 10, 2022.Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Earlier this month, Musk spoke more about the potential changes he would make to Twitter should his show go on. He said he would allow more unmoderated content in the interests of freedom of expression.

He has also made comments specific to transgender people which – combined with his views on reducing moderation of content – lead some trans users to believe that hate and harassment on the platform will increase. In a 2020 tweet, he mocked people who display their pronouns in their Twitter bio. After facing criticism, Tweeted later“I’m definitely for trans, but all these pronouns are an aesthetic nightmare.”

Alejandra Carabalo, a clinical instructor at Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic and transgender advocate, said she fears Musk will remove Twitter’s content editing policy that bans misinformation or promotes accounts like Libs of TikTok, who shared LGBTQ videos Teachers who are reported to have reprimanded or reprimanded some of them lose their job.

“There are a plethora of ways he can make the lives of transgender people on sites like this hell,” she said. “And there would be no way of moderation or keeping it in check.”

Carabalo said that if Musk took the company private, he wouldn’t have to answer to anyone but himself.

“I don’t know if I want to sound too shocking or excessive, but I really think this is a danger to democracy,” she said, noting that Twitter is one of the world’s most influential social media platforms.

She added that having a “thin-skinned” and “irrational” person like Musk “controlling this platform without accountability is frankly terrifying,” citing how Musk canceled blogger’s Tesla order distance He said the blogger was “very rude” called Cave Diver Who Helped Save 12 Boys And their soccer coach from a cave in Thailand is an “excited boy” on Twitter. He later apologized to the cave diver.

Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

LGBT people in particular face a disproportionate amount of online harassment. a 2019 تقرير Report From anti-bullying organization Ditch the Label and its analytics partner, Brandwatch, it found that 1.5 million, or 15 percent, of 10 million online posts on social media platforms between 2016 and 2019 were bullying.

2021 Anti-Defamation League Report It found that 64 percent of LGBT respondents reported experiencing online hate and harassment, compared to 46 percent of Muslims, 36 percent of Jews and about a third of black, Latino, and Asian Americans.

If Musk were to take the company private and remove most content modification policies, Brian Tanehill – a transgender woman and Army veteran – said she believed she would face “the same fate” as social platforms like Gab and Parler, which are popular among conservatives.

She said, referring to words that have recently seen an increase in usage among conservatives against LGBT people. She added that she believes there will also be an increase in doxxing, which means someone’s address and other personal information is published online without their permission.

“You’re not going to see any consequences for that kind of thing, so you’re going to invite more of it,” Taneyhill said. “You’ll see huge increases in misinformation, which is easily believed by people with an extreme right-wing confirmation bias.”

Alia Ali, a trans Muslim trans woman and preacher, found a community on Twitter, but said she feared it might become the next 4chan, a forum site with a bit of moderation. Spread Ali in 2020 to post it video for her She got her first estrogen injection, and she said Twitter is quickly removing accounts she had flagged for sending death threats. If Musk changes its content moderation policies, it is not clear how that will affect that policy in relation to death threats or the site. policy against doxxing.

“If Twitter becomes a full-fledged free-speech platform, it could put a lot of people at risk,” she said.

Although removing Twitter’s protections from harassment and threats of violence can negatively impact LGBT people, changing some other policies may help, according to Gillian York, director of international freedom of expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

She noted that during Interview Musk said earlier this month Twitter should unlock its algorithm Which determines which Tweets should be promoted or hidden from users’ feeds. An open source algorithm will allow people to see the code and suggest improvements to it.

Giving people more control over their experience on the platform, she said, “would make it a much more positive experience for people regardless of any changes to speech policies.”

On the other hand, Musk added that his definition of freedom of expression means “What complies with the law‘, which may be a problem for some LGBTQ users who live in more authoritarian states, where some speech is criminalized, or there are few publicly available forums for free expression.

For example, York officials in Ghana said Proposed a bill earlier this year It would criminalize being LGBTQ or ally and ban all speech, both online and offline, that promotes LGBTQ rights. Social media companies and other online platforms Can also be tried under the bill To disseminate information that promotes LGBTQ rights.

“Essentially, they make homosexuality illegal, and so if he says Twitter has to respond to laws like that, I think that’s actually a very strong departure from Twitter’s historical position on this, which is not to respond in general to being totally horrible human beings,” she said. “Rights violate such laws.”

Some LGBT people, including Carabalo, said they would likely leave Twitter if Musk succeeded in making the company private.

Carabalo, who has nearly 17,000 followers on Twitter, made her account private on Monday, saying that she had “never received so many hateful instant messages and phishing posts directed at me just because I criticized Elon Musk.”

“I don’t want to contribute to this at all,” she said of Musk’s possible change of Twitter policies.

Taneyhill, who has nearly 37,000 followers, said the platform is important to her as an author, but she could also be taken out of it if Musk changes content editing policies and harassment worsens.

“There is a lot of abuse that you can take on,” she said.

Ali said she plans to stay on the podium as a “strong believer in the resistance.”

“Transgender people, we shouldn’t be kicked out,” she said. “We shouldn’t feel unwelcome here. I’ll stay and welcome myself there.”

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