Early Twitter exec Jason Goldman slams Elon Musk's ‘Naive’ free-speech ideas
Jason Goldman, a member of Twitter Inc.’s founding team and former board member, criticized Elon Musk’s plan to relax speech restrictions on the platform.
Jason Goldman, a member of Twitter Inc.'s founding team and former board member, criticized Elon Musk's plan to relax speech restrictions on the platform, saying it “reveals a very naive, unserious approach to the content moderation issues he will face.”
Goldman also took issue with Musk targeting current Twitter employees in his recent tweets, saying it opened them up to abuse and threats from his fan base of more than 86 million followers. Musk, the billionaire head of Tesla Inc., agreed to buy Twitter Inc. for $44 billion earlier this week but has continued to denounce the business and its employees.
“You absolutely should not allow the prospective owner of the company to troll your employees for the decisions that they made,” Goldman, who also has worked for Google and the Obama administration, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television.
Musk's tweets included criticism of Twitter's 2020 decision to block a New York Post story about Hunter Biden -- something he called “incredibly inappropriate.” That tweet and others have contributed to a wave of online abuse directed at Twitter's top lawyer, Vijaya Gadde.
Musk has said that Twitter needs to be politically neutral and become a digital town square where anything can be discussed -- unless the speech is barred by law. But he's also vowed to eliminate spam bots and authenticate people on the platform, moves that could be at odds with free expression, Goldman said.
“There's no First Amendment carve-out for anonymity -- you can definitely express yourself anonymously,” said Goldman, who worked at Twitter from 2007 to 2010. “It shows that he hasn't really put the dots together on what needs to happen in this space.”
An approach that maximizes free speech also might allow things that Musk wouldn't want on the platform, he said.
Six or seven years ago, there was content “that was being used by ultra-extremists, including ISIS, to recruit people off of Twitter,” Goldman said.
That included beheading videos, he said. “Are we going to allow that back on?”
He described Musk's takeover of Twitter as “a disappointment.”
“The company really could use great stewardship at this point and what he's revealing is just how unserious a person he is about both his ideas for the product and the philosophy that underpins it,” Goldman said.