Twitter’s run for President DeSantis underscores the platform’s shift to the right under Musk. wagon radio 720

NEW YORK (AP) — Two years ago, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who signed into law a bill aimed at punishing Twitter and other big social media companies, warned against COVID-19. He accused the platform of “suppressing ideas” and silencing conservative voices during the pandemic.

What a turnaround!

A new version of Twitter, owned by Elon Musk, helped DeSantis launch his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination on Wednesday. Marred by technical glitches and skewered by critics of the candidate, the forum is still an undeniable right-winger under Musk, whom Twitter bought for $44 billion and took over in October. emphasized transformation.

DeSantis said during the Twitter Space event, “The truth has been censored time and time again, but now that Twitter is in the hands of free speech advocates, it will never happen again on this Twitter platform. ‘ said.

The event’s co-organizer, Musk, responded to the praise, saying, “Twitter certainly cost money, but free speech is priceless.”

Musk has touted his platform as a haven for free expression, but since Musk bought the platform and fired or laid off about 80% of its staff, the site has been open to extremist views and It’s filled with hate speech.

As such, as the bitterly divided country heads into the 2024 presidential election, Twitter (frequently used by government agencies, including those that provide candidates and voting information) has turned to conspiracy theories, fake content, and election misinformation. Warning bells are ringing that it may become an open space for information.

Many Republicans have hailed Musk’s takeover of Twitter as creating one of the last mainstream online spaces where opinions can be shared without fear of deletion. Conservative media luminaries like former Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Daily Wire podcast host have said they plan to start streaming content on the site.

Democrats and anti-hate watchdogs, meanwhile, say Mr. Musk’s partisan rhetoric and policy changes are effectively giving far-right extremists a megaphone.

Since buying Twitter, Musk has overhauled the site’s authentication system and removed protections against impersonation for some government accounts and political candidates. He also personally indulged in far-right conspiracy theories on the site, reinstated an account with a history of extremist rhetoric, and dismantled the team responsible for managing content flowing across the platform.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, this is consistent with a flood of conspiracy theory rhetoric, with the QAnon hashtag reaching 91 on Twitter between May 2022 and May 2023, according to the Anti-Defamation League. 10%, and about three-quarters of those messages were posted after Musk took over.

Several followers of the unsubstantiated QAnon theory centered around the idea that former President Donald Trump is waging a secret war against “Deep State” enemies and pedophiles, 6 January 2021 violent acts, including the attack on the United States Capitol. .

Musk’s decision to revive an influential Twitter account with a history of propagating extremist views saw a space where users share anti-Semitic tropes, conspiracy theories and other types of hate tweets. ADL reported Wednesday.

Yael Eisenstaedt, vice president and head of the group’s Tech Society Center, said Musk’s content moderation choices “helped silence marginalized voices” by giving freedom to harassers and internet trolls. There are,” he said.

“It’s one thing to demand free speech on platforms,” she says. “To say that we allow extremists, i.e. conspiracy theorists, to perpetuate this kind of rhetoric, anti-Semitism and racism is another story.”

Twitter did not provide comment despite repeated requests. Instead, it sent automated responses to most media inquiries.

Musk’s free speech rhetoric has also attracted conservatives who have been banned from other platforms or, in Carlson’s case, fired.

On May 9, shortly after his demise, Carlson announced on Twitter that part of his show would be on the platform. It’s not yet clear what that means or when it will start.

“There are very few platforms left that allow free speech,” Carlson said in a two-minute message that has been viewed more than 132 million times. “The last big thing left in the world, the only thing left, is Twitter where we are now.”

But free speech and truth are not the same thing, and Mr. Carlson was recently accused on Fox of spreading misinformation about the January 6th Capitol riot.

DeSantis is a frequent guest on Fox News, appearing on the station for an interview after a Twitter event on the night of the presidential election announcement.

DeSantis’ Twitter launch was significantly delayed by site crashes and server strains, but his choice to debut the campaign on the platform will expose Fox to more competition as the Republican kingmaker. is shown. His campaign said $1 million had been raised online in the first hour after the announcement. Fox’s ratings plummeted during the 8:00 p.m. Eastern time slot, when Carlson used to work.

The Daily Wire, whose podcast hosts popular conservative influencers like Ben Shapiro and Candice Owens, announced Tuesday that it will start streaming the show on Twitter next week.

Doug Hay, a Republican strategist and former head of public affairs for the Republican National Committee, said Twitter “will definitely become an important part” of the Republican election strategy for the 2024 presidential primary.

“And it’s all because of what Elon Musk has said in the past few months as he took over Twitter and tried to make it a more friendly space for conservatives,” he said.

Musk has leaned toward Republican politics, tweeting that in 2022 the Democrats “have become the party of division and hate.” Although he tweeted that he endorsed both DeSantis and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, who also joined the Republican nomination this week, on Tuesday he said he had yet to endorse a specific presidential candidate.

Democrats have recoiled at Mr. Musk’s Twitter direction, but have remained largely unmoved, at least for now. Looking ahead, a recent Pew Research Center survey found slightly more Democrats than Republicans said they were unlikely to use Twitter in the next year.

Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden said he was experimenting with BlueSky as a Twitter alternative for a “more casual, fun and positive environment” than Twitter. But he also continues to use Twitter to communicate with voters.

Jimmy Williams, a longtime Democratic political consultant, said he would advise Democrats not to “give space.” In fact, Musk said Wednesday that his own forum is open to any politician.

“Twitter is a two-way street,” Williams said.


New York-based Associated Press media writer David Bowder contributed to this report.


The Associated Press receives support from several private foundations to strengthen its commentary coverage of elections and democracy. Learn more about AP’s democracy initiative here. AP is solely responsible for all content. Twitter’s run for President DeSantis underscores the platform’s shift to the right under Musk. wagon radio 720

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