Elon Musk Accuses Twitter of Restoring Ye’s Account Without His Knowledge
Elon Musk has again accused Twitter of helping to undermine his efforts to address concerns about the company’s market power, after it was reported on Wednesday that the social network had restored an account belonging to Kanye West. The rapper-turned-designer had previously been locked out of his account after he posted a series of tweets suggesting that e-commerce giant Amazon is planning to launch its own digital currency, but has now been given new powers over a fresh profile.
Mr Elon Musk — whose company Tesla has struggled with production problems for its latest car model — tweeted the apparent restrictions placed on Mr West as “a vindictive final act from Twitter;END” and linked to a blog post which had first suggested that Twitter co-founder Evan Williams might have asked for the rapper’s account to be locked. In response, Twitter vice president of trust and safety Del Harvey said: “We are continuing to increase the scope and quality of verification efforts while focusing on keeping spam accounts and others operating nefarious purposes off our platform.”
Elon Musk accuses Twitter of ‘working against him’
Elon Musk has been a vocal critic of Twitter’s ability to combat online trolling, and was among a group of investors who wrote to the company’s management in March asking for an audit of its handling of hate speech and malicious bots.
He is also a member of Facebook’s board of directors, and has come under pressure from shareholders to push for meaningful change at the social network as it attempts to repair its reputation following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
The Tesla boss’s latest accusations against Twitter came after he highlighted the apparent blocking of West’s account, and a message from the rapper in which he complained of being treated unfairly by the social network. “Twitter shut down his account with no notice,” Elon Musk tweeted. “They won’t say why. They’ve hidden behind a wall of silence. This is growing more common among social media networks.”
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Elon Musk and other big tech voices support a digital bill of rights
Elon Musk’s concerns about the power wielded by social networks have led him to back the creation of a Digital Bill of Rights, although he has conceded that the effort is “more of a philosophical battle than a legislative one”. His support for the initiative comes after Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg suggested that regulation around internet firms was inevitable, and was later backed by Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
Elon Musk has argued that a Digital Bill of Rights would help to protect consumers from the growing powers of internet giants, and ensure that everyone has access to the same benefits offered by companies like Facebook and Google. “We’ll have to see how the Digital Bill of Rights progresses in the Senate,” he tweeted on Tuesday. “If it doesn’t, then we’ll go another route.”
Elon Musk: Big Tech cannot be trusted to self-regulate
Elon Musk has also criticized a suggestion made by Facebook’s Zuckerberg that Silicon Valley firms should be allowed to “go out there and create what they think is right”. “I do not think that they can self-regulate,” he said, “and I think that they need to be regulated.”
He went on to suggest that the best route for protecting consumers against the growing powers of social networks would be to create a digital bill of rights for everyone. “What we need to move toward here is a digital bill of rights, and the rights should be that you have control over your data, you can move your data from one service to another,
The right to be forgotten, the right to privacy,” he said, “and I think that’s going to be very important in the future.”
Elon Musk: We need a digital bill of rights for everyone
Elon Musk has also called for all consumers to have the same rights as those currently being proposed for social network users. “We need to expand the definition of what rights people have,” he said, “and we need to grow as a society to recognize that this is new and we don’t know all the consequences.”
He has suggested that the creation of a digital bill of rights would allow consumers to better defend themselves against companies such as Google and Facebook, and push for meaningful changes if they believe their rights are being violated. “
If you’re in a situation where you feel like your rights are being violated by a service, then you can go to some government regulator, and they can choose to [intervene] or not,” he said. “But the important thing is that you’re in a situation where you can make it right.”
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The need for tighter regulation of social networks is clear, but the details will be important in shaping a legal regime that protects consumers while not stifling innovation. Elon Musk’s call for a Digital Bill of Rights is laudable, but too often the philosopher-king has been a man of action. The question is whether he can make his voice heard among those in power.
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