Elon Musk: 'The Bedrock of Democracy Is Freedom of Speech'

March 20th, 2024 4:28 PM

Tech mogul Elon Musk unloaded about the importance of free speech and the challenges he has faced dealing with the prior regime at X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. 

During a live conversation with Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey on March 18, Musk stressed that Americans have an unparalleled right to freedom of speech that must be protected on social media. “No country has the protection of speech that the United States does, not even Canada,” he said on X Spaces (formerly Twitter Spaces). “So that’s something we should really take pride in and seek to preserve. I think that the bedrock of democracy is freedom of speech.” 

Musk emphasized the importance of free speech by discussing what motivated the Founding Fathers to write the First Amendment. “[The First Amendment] exists because people came from countries where they could not speak freely, where if they did speak their mind they would be imprisoned or killed,” Musk explained. “That’s why they were so concerned about freedom of speech. It's because they didn’t have it in the countries they came from. In many places of the world, maybe most places, you don’t have freedom of speech.”

Musk warned about political “constraints on speech” before calling out Twitter’s extreme bias under its former CEO Parag Agrawal. Musk said that there were roughly “ten voices on the right suppressed for every one on the left” on Twitter before he took over the company. Musk described the past regime as having a “very big thumb on the political scale.” 

Although Musk’s influence has appeared to decrease overt censorship on the platform, there are still outside entities that try to sabotage free speech on X. Musk discussed some of his struggles with advertisers being pressured to pull their ads from X. He explained that “pressure groups” and various organizations “will get together” to “attack advertisers, who advertise on the X platform or some other platform, in order to starve the companies of revenue.” He later added that this kind of pressure campaign effectively “ becomes a boycott.”

Musk stated that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had resisted this pressure for a while before ultimately giving in when it had cost him billions of dollars. Musk said that these pressure groups have so much power because “household name brands” like Facebook want to avoid any “strife” and many advertisers would rather make concessions than deal with bad press. 

Musk said that these advertiser boycotts had cost X two-thirds of its American advertising revenue and that the company would not have survived without significantly reducing costs. “If we had not been able to reduce our costs dramatically, X, formerly Twitter, would have gone bankrupt. And that’s fully what they were trying to do. They were trying to drive the company into bankruptcy, which obviously is major suppression of free speech.” 

The X Space unfolded two days after Bailey, who hosted the interview, had his landmark free speech case heard by the Supreme Court. The Murphy v. Missouri case pitted Americans’ free speech on social media against collusion between Big Tech and the federal government. 

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on so-called hate speech and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.