Ireland’s President Michael D Higgins has suggested that Elon Musk loosening speech restrictions on Twitter would be “incredible and dangerous narcissism”.
“Is it a great success that a multi-billionaire would be now deciding what is appropriate for people to exchange by way of discourse? I think it can hardly be described as anything other than a manifestation of an incredible and dangerous narcissism,” the 5’3″ octogenarian opined at what was supposed to be a climate change conference at Dublin City University, clearly referring to Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter but declining to identify the South African entrepreneur by name.
President Higgins is not known to have complained about the super-rich “deciding what is appropriate for people to exchange by way of discourse” when Twitter was run by censorship-happy Jack Dorsey, who took such radical measures as banning then-sitting U.S. President Donald Trump from the platform while he was in charge and has a net worth estimated at $6.62 billion by Bloomberg.
Current chief executive Parag Agrawal, meanwhile is not quite a “multi-billionaire” — but he was reportedly being bumped to an annual salary of $1 million with an annual performance bonus of up to 150 per cent of that salary and “granted a stock award worth $12.5 million” upon replacing Dorsey, making him an incredibly wealthy man by most people’s standards.
President Michael D Higgins has described the purchase of Twitter by tech billionaire Elon Musk as a 'manifestation of an incredible and dangerous narcissism' | Read more: https://t.co/UcW55R2V7G pic.twitter.com/5b9CZCjL3E
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) May 5, 2022
Many on the left have expressed concern or outright dismay over Musk “deciding what is appropriate for people to exchange by way of discourse” on Twitter not because he looks set to restrict people’s right to express certain views — Irish and European Union officials as well as British officials have little objection to online censorship and are indeed pressing for more of it — but because he has indicated he hopes to preside over a much freer regime.
“I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means,” he said on April 25th, adding that the “extreme antibody reaction from those who fear free speech says it all”.
He later clarified, however, that “[b]y ‘free speech’, I simply mean that which matches the law… If people want less free speech, they will ask government to pass laws to that effect.”
Such a standard would leave the existing censorship regimes in Europe and indeed the likes of China — if its use was ever liberalised by the communist state — to remain unscathed to a great extent.
"The EU does not want free speech," the Flemish MEP said. "That is dangerous for their system." https://t.co/3jWu6q4V9i
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 1, 2022
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