UN Official Makes Public Plea to Musk

Letter expresses apprehension over Twitter's direction under new owner
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2022 11:40 AM CST
Human Rights Official Makes Public Plea to Musk
Pedestrians pass the offices of Twitter on Friday in central London.   (Aaron Chown/PA via AP)

Worried about the way Elon Musk's stewardship of Twitter is beginning, a UN official has made a public plea to the billionaire to ensure the platform reflects respect for human rights. Volker Türk, high commissioner for human rights, wrote an open letter to the new owner, the Guardian reports, expressing "concern and apprehension." Musk's first week, which included mass layoffs that did not exempt Twitter's human rights team, was "not, from my perspective, an encouraging start," Türk wrote. The agency announced the letter in a tweet; Türk has more than 25,000 followers on Twitter.

Hate speech posts increased in the first hours after Musk took over. "Twitter has a responsibility to avoid amplifying content that results in harms to people's rights," Türk wrote. "There is no place for hatred that incites discrimination, hostility or violence on Twitter." He added that hate speech can have "horrific, life-threatening consequences." The UN official also said it's vital that Twitter not collect user data and resist, as much as possible under the law, complying with "unjustified requests from governments" to turn over such information. "Respect for our shared human rights should set the guardrails for the platform's use and evolution," Türk said. (Read more Elon Musk stories.)

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