United Nations human rights chief Volker Türk has urged Elon Musk, the new owner and CEO of Twitter, to “ensure that human rights are at the heart of Twitter’s management”.
The letter comes a day after the billionaire fired half of Twitter’s workforce following an announcement that the social media platform was losing more than $4 million a day.
In the open letter published on Saturday, Türk wrote, “Respect for our shared human rights should set the safeguards for the use and evolution of the platform.”
The UN human rights chief urged Twitter’s ‘Chief Twit’ to defend the right to privacy and underlined that Twitter had a responsibility to avoid amplifying rights-infringing content of others.
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Türk encouraged Musk to promote the “privacy and free speech rights” of users.
She conversely included that “freedom of expression is not a pass”, taking the example of the spread of “harmful” disinformation from the COVID-19 pandemic “in relation to the vaccines”.
Türk continued, arguing that Twitter’s content moderation should continue to prohibit “hate that incites discrimination”, adding that “they know that hate speech spreads like wildfire across social media platforms. in countries with radically different cultural, political and religious backgrounds – with horrific, life-threatening consequences for thousands of people.”
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His words of warning come as the billionaire balances his pledge to restore free speech to the social media platform while simultaneously preventing the platform from descending into a “free-for-all hellscape”. which he pledged to prevent.
Türk’s open letter concluded by stating that “Twitter has much to offer our common agenda for a better world, but we need to be clear-headed about what is needed to make it a reality.”
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