President Joe Biden’s administration is “keeping an eye on” Twitter, his press secretary said as the social media site’s new billionaire owner Elon Musk ramps up his drive for free speech.
Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s remarks came at a press conference Monday after a reporter suggested Musk’s buyout of Twitter is “a critical moment, really, in terms of ensuring that Twitter does not become a vector for misinformation.”
The reporter asked if Jean-Pierre was “concerned about that” and wondered what “tools” the administration has to address the alleged problem.
“This is something that we’re certainly keeping an eye on,” Jean-Pierre answered, adding, “We’re going to continue to monitor the situation.”
The press secretary also said it’s the “responsibility” of social media platforms to “take action” against misinformation and hate. Vaguely referring to “what’s happening on Twitter,” she said “we see it with our own eyes.”
Musk reacted to the exchange on Twitter, asking: “Why are so many in the media against free speech? This is messed up.”
Jean-Pierre’s comment also came as Musk went on a tweetstorm Monday labeling his push for free speech as “a battle for the future of civilization.”
The Tesla and SpaceX CEO’s acquisition of Twitter, finalized last month, was premised on loosening content moderation and allowing for more free speech. Some previously banned accounts have been restored, including former President Donald Trump’s, but no significant changes to content moderation have been reported yet.
Musk previously said content policy changes would come only after forming a “content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints.” But he has qualified and partially retracted that idea since then, Techdirt reported.
Still, his turbulent ownership has seen about half of all Twitter employees fired, including some who handled misinformation, CBS News reported. And the site says its “COVID-19 misleading information policy” is no longer implemented as of Nov. 23.
A reported spike in racial slurs immediately following Musk’s acquisition was attributed to a “trolling campaign” of fake accounts, as reported by Variety.
President Joe Biden is reportedly also angling for a national security review of Musk’s international business dealings. He told reporters this month that foreign investment in his Twitter buyout was “worth being looked at.”