Well, he did it.
Elon Musk effectively bought Twitter for $44B last week. The monumental purchase has some Americans celebrating Musk’s pledge to allow “free speech” on the social platform, with Musk saying he’s “against censorship that goes far beyond the law.”
But others have expressed concerns about the potential for disinformation and hateful rhetoric to thrive on Twitter if content moderation is pared back or removed. With that in mind, CivicScience surveyed thousands of U.S. adults about their thoughts on Musk’s Twitter takeover. Similar to what CivicScience discovered before the buyout, most Americans are not concerned about content moderation changes at Twitter.
Concern is higher when filtered among Twitter users only. Still, the site’s most active users are more likely than not to say they’re “not at all concerned” about potential content moderation changes.
Individuals who identify as non-heterosexual were more concerned than those who identify as heterosexual.
And women on Twitter are substantially more likely to be “very concerned” about potential content moderation changes than men on the platform, though half of female Twitter users said they’re not at all concerned.
Interestingly, those who are concerned about content moderation on Twitter in the Musk era are also more likely to place a high value on brands’ social consciousness.
And there’s a strong correlation between the media a person consumes and their level of concern about content moderation on Twitter. Only 4% of Fox News viewers expressed any level of concern about the issue. Compare that to 54% of CNN watchers and 46% of MSNBC viewers.
The issue may be a reflection of Musk’s gradual shift from being a relatively centrist political figure to something of a conservative icon in the U.S.
While it remains to be seen how many users – if any – leave Twitter due to Elon Musk’s philosophy on free speech, it’s certain that a substantial segment of the site’s user base is concerned about it. Those concerns are amplified among women and non-heterosexual individuals.