Moderating Twitter's Moderators

A defence of online free speech

Elon Musk’s imminent purchase of Twitter, and his view that free speech online should extend as far as the law allows, has led some progressive thinkers to exclaim their despair. But not so long ago, the fundamental distrust of anyone who wanted to restrict free speech was a pillar of progressive thought, even at the recognition that absolute free speech was not feasible or desirable. Revisiting some of those older arguments about why constraining free speech can lead to uncritical belief in authority is needed. That is not to say there should be no moderation of online speech when it comes to personal attacks. Conflating the freedom to dissent and even engage in conspiratorial thinking, with the freedom to attack others is a confusion that only libertarians make, and we should avoid, argues Peter Godfrey-Smith.

*Peter Godfrey-Smith will be speaking at HowTheLightGetsIn in Hay 2022, June 2 - 5. Check out the programme and book your tickets

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