Elon Musk Questions Twitter’s Free Speech Policies

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by Britta Pedersen-Pool/Getty Images)

As the legal battle between him and the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) continues, Elon Musk takes to Twitter to question the social media platform’s “Free Speech” policies. 

What to Know

  • Elon Musk questioned whether or not Twitter’s Free Speech policies interfere with free speech being essential to functioning democracies.
  • This tweet was posted days after the SEC suggested that the posts on Elon Musk’s Twitter account should remain under scrutiny.
  • The SEC and Elon Musk have been going after one another since 2018. When Musk took to Twitter to say he has enough funds to take Tesla private. 

In a tweet on Friday (March 25th), Elon Musk made a poll for his followers. “Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?” 

Meanwhile, Elon Musk follows that tweet up by explaining. “The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully.”

Elon Musk’s latest remarks about Twitter’s free speech policies come just after the SEC stated that the billionaire’s tweet should remain under scrutiny. In a new filing, SEC lawyers explained that Musk had not met a “Hugh burden” to set aside a 2018 order. This requires Tesla lawyers to approve and/or monitor Musk’s tweets about the electric car brand. 

The SEC’s Latest Filing States It Has Authority to Require Tesla Attorneys to Vet Twitter post on Elon Musk’s Account 

Also in the latest filing, the SEC states it has the authority to require Tesla attorneys to vet Twitter posts on Elon Musk accounts when it comes to the company’s news and information. “Musk complains about ‘the sheer number of demands’ by the SEC from 2018 to the present. Which he characterizes as harassment. But Musk’s own chronology of alleged demands is both underwhelming and reflects legitimate inquiries as to new potentially violative conduct by Tesla and Musk.” 

Meanwhile, the SEC also stated in the filing, “When it comes to civil settlements, a deal is a deal. Absent far more compelling circumstances than are here presented.”

However, Alex Spiro, one of Elon Musk’s lawyers, declined to comment on the latest SEC filing. Tesla also did not respond to any requests for comments. And legal experts say that Musk is unlikely to have any decree set aside. Musk previously accused the SEC of harassing him with “roving and unbound” investigations

Along with discussing its authority over Tesla Twitter posts, the SEC is also investigating Elon Musk’s November 2021 tweet. Which showed a poll on whether he should sell 10% of his Tesla stock. After the poll revealed the majority of voters said yes, the electric car company’s stock price fell. Since then, Musk has sold more than $16 billion of his stock.