Moderators are critical to the town square

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Elon Musk is trying to frame his $44bn takeover of Twitter – what he dubs the “digital town square” – as a crusade to protect free speech. Musk, who is a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist”, has implied that Twitter should amend its content moderation policies. However, in a world where social media and search engines have become integral to how people find and access information and news online, an approach focused only on a negative rights philosophy won’t be sufficient. Hence, we need positive safeguards to introduce and promote public interest objectives in the governance of social media platforms, writes Eleonora Maria Mazzoli. Despite the raising concerns and criticism towards the acquisition of Twitter by the billionaire Elon Musk, on April 26th the board of Twitter has agreed to a $44bn takeover, sending shockwaves across the Internet. Musk, who is self-declaredly a “free speech absolutist”, stated in his “victory” tweet  that “free speech is the bedrock of a functioning d…

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