October 31, 2022
A Statement from Brenda Victoria Castillo, President & CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC)
Last Thursday, Billionaire SpaceX and Tesla founder, Elon Musk, completed his $44 billion purchase of Twitter. NHMC has consistently condemned Musk’s attempts to influence Twitter and its policies, first when he acquired 9.2% of the company and again when he announced his intention to purchase and take over the company outright. Musk’s acquisition of Twitter is an exploitation of his wealth to influence the content on the platform. His stated policy intentions could significantly harm the Latine community by dismantling necessary safeguards against hate speech and disinformation.
In addition, Musk recently stated that he plans to convene a content moderation council composed of people with "widely diverse viewpoints." As Musk is a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist,” NHMC is extremely concerned this council will include individuals who actively promote hate and disinformation. Musk also plans to reinstate Donald Trump's Twitter account, likely inciting violence and conspiracy in undoing what NHMC advocated for with Twitter for years. Finally, according to reports, Musk has already fired top executives and plans to drastically decrease Twitter’s staff, decreasing the company’s ability to moderate content on the site responsibly.
All of these statements point to a decrease in content moderation under Musk’s ownership–just over one week from the 2022 Midterm Elections, endangering the public and historically and intentionally marginalized communities such as Latine. Without the appropriate oversight, social media algorithms on platforms like Twitter allow unfiltered hate speech, conspiracy theories, and threats of violence targeting our community to circulate. According to the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism’s recent research, 37% of Latinos do not feel safe at the voting polls. NHMC fears this move will increase those fears and open the door to more retraumatization and new voter suppression tactics, dissuading Latinos from exercising their right to vote.
This all comes on the heels of the Spanish Language Disinformation Coalition (SLDC)’s letter to the six major social media platforms, including Twitter, urging them to do more to stop the exploitation of our community through disinformation and fraud online. NHMC will continue to stand up for our community and call for platforms to be held accountable for the danger they continue to expose to our community.
Yours in the Movement,
Brenda Victoria Castillo
President & CEO
National Hispanic Media Coalition