November 21, 2022
A Statement from Brenda Victoria Castillo, President & CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC)
Over the weekend, Twitter’s new CEO, Elon Musk, made a unilateral, dangerous decision to reinstate former president Donald Trump to the social media platform, reversing a permanent ban put in place on January 8, 2021. NHMC is deeply appalled at this action and denounces Musk’s invitation for hate, violence, and disinformation under the guise of “free speech.”
On November 18, Elon Musk released a poll on his official Twitter account asking users if they favored reinstating Donald Trump’s account. After a result of 51.8% in favor of reinstating and 48.2% against it, Musk announced that “the people have spoken” and that Trump’s account will be reinstated immediately.
Given that Donald Trump was suspended from Twitter in January of 2021 and Musk’s claim that Twitter’s official policies have NOT changed, Musk is violating his own policies with this decision. This is a ridiculous way to make official policy decisions for Twitter – especially ones of this magnitude – which should always include discussions with civil rights and disinformation experts.
Donald Trump has a long legacy of spouting hate on Twitter, and the decision to reinstate him via a poll when countless civil rights organizations have spoken out against it emphasizes that Elon Musk does not care if he endangers people by abusing his power as owner and CEO of this platform. While on Twitter, Donald Trump consistently used his official account to spread hate speech and misinformation. Throughout his campaign and as president, Donald Trump specifically targeted immigrants and Latinos, along with other marginalized communities, with hate and ignorance. Reinstating his Twitter will give him a wider audience for this hate speech, which is especially concerning given his recent announcement that he will run for president again in 2024.
NHMC continues to point out the clear connection between online hate speech and disinformation and real-life violence, as we saw when Trump incited an insurrection, attempted coup, and domestic terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.
We’ve also seen the tragic impact of when online hate speech goes unchecked and leads to violence in the case of the El Paso shooting targeting latine and, most recently, the shooting in Colorado Springs targeting the LGBTQ+ community. In both cases, violence against historically and intentionally marginalized groups was inspired by hateful online speech, like the kind Donald Trump promotes.
As a leading organization fighting disinformation and holding platforms accountable through efforts like Stop Hate For Profit, Stop Toxic Twitter, and the Spanish Language Disinformation Coalition, we are exhausted from urging people in power to do the right thing and protect our families and communities from unnecessary violence and harm. No more lives should be taken as a result of platform inaction.
Yours in the Movement,
Brenda Victoria Castillo
President & CEO
National Hispanic Media Coalition