Jewish, Muslim groups voice concerns over Musk Twitter takeover


Jewish, Muslim groups voice concerns over Musk Twitter takeover

Muslim and Jewish organizations are expressing concern about billionaire Elon Musk’s impending ownership of Twitter, warning that the aerospace tycoon could roll back moderation policies and unleash a new wave of harassment against religious minorities often targeted on the platform.

“It strikes me as deeply troubling and potentially dangerous that two people — Musk and (Facebook co-founder) Mark Zuckerberg — essentially control the public square,” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement. “That seems like a sad day for democracy.”

Twitter announced on Monday (April 25) that Musk will take over the company, with the deal expected to finalize sometime in the next three to six months. Musk has been a frequent critic of the platform’s current moderating policies, and his expressed goals for the platform under his leadership have centered on free speech.

But since the announcement, Musk has promoted criticism of Twitter on the platform, and company staffers have reportedly expressed concern he may undo long-standing efforts to moderate content.

Some groups — including religious organizations — have also voiced ambivalence about Musk’s interpretation of free speech.

The ADL, a Jewish civil rights organization, is one of several groups that help Twitter moderate hateful content by serving on the company’s Trust and Safety Council.  “We know firsthand that hate and extremism in digital spaces can lead to physical violence, particularly against Jews and other marginalized communities,” Greenblatt said in his statement.

In a survey conducted by the ADL in 2021, 36% of Jewish respondents said they had experienced online harassment, comparable to 33% the year before. In addition, 22% said they had experienced “severe” online harassment, slightly up from 20% in 2020.

The same survey found that 42% of Muslim respondents said they had experienced online harassment, with 32% saying the harassment they experienced was severe.

Source: Religion News Service (RNS)

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