Musk’s Purchase of Twitter Shouldn’t Endanger Latino Communities
Today Twitter’s board of directors announced that it had struck a deal with Elon Musk to sell the company to the mercurial billionaire. Musk has repeatedly criticized Twitter for its efforts to rein in dangerous content, including banning former President Donald Trump from the platform. Maria Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino, issued the following statement:
“In recent years we’ve seen the power that social media can have not just in shaping our politics, but in warping our reality–sometimes with deadly consequences. In 2019, for instance, a far-right gunman massacred 23 people in El Paso, Texas, motivated by hate directed at the Latino community, which was fed a steady diet of online bigotry, disinformation and conspiracy theories. The killer even cited the former president’s tweets in his manifesto.
“We can support free expression while still limiting the reach and power of the kinds of vile, hateful rhetoric that led to the deadliest attack on our community in our nation’s history. More recently, hate speech instigated a riot to overthrow our government. Handing a megaphone to white nationalists and violent extremists–including at least one who recently sat in the Oval Office–isn’t a win for free speech. Instead it is a recruitment mechanism for those targeting the most marginalized amongst us.
“Elon Musk has the opportunity to make important, positive changes at Twitter. He should avoid the temptation to hand the website over to its most dangerous and extreme users. He now has the responsibility to install effective monitoring systems that advance the principles of free speech while guarding against threats that can lead to real world harm.”
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Voto Latino is a grassroots political organization focused on educating and empowering a new generation of Latinx voters, as well as creating a more robust and inclusive democracy. Through innovative digital campaigns, culturally relevant programs and authentic voices, we shepherd the Latinx community towards the full realization of its political power.