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Curious about Twitter’s future? So is the U.K. parliament

We’re all wondering what lies ahead for Twitter now that it is going to be owned by Elon Musk. Though the Tesla CEO has tweeted hints of what’s to come for the social media platform after his acquisition, the U.K. Parliament has decided to get the details via a more straightforward approach: Inviting Musk to testify before them.

On Wednesday, the U.K. Parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS) tweeted out a copy of a letter it sent to Musk, inviting him to speak about his plans for his newly acquired social media platform.

We've invited @ElonMusk to discuss the future of @Twitter in Parliament.

Chair @JulianKnight15: "Appearing before the Committee will give Mr Musk an ideal opportunity to set out his proposals in more depth and we would look forward to welcoming him.”


— Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (@CommonsDCMS) May 4, 2022

Member of Parliament and Chair of the DCMS Committee Julian Knight wrote the letter and, in it, referenced a number of proposed changes for Twitter Musk has mentioned before: Authentication for all users, addressing bots and spam accounts, and addressing the issue of freedom of speech. The letter also appeared to describe the committee’s own stance on these issues as it mentioned legislation and two reports conducted on them:

  • On the matter of authentication: The letter mentioned Musk’s “intention to roll out verification for all users” aligned with its own “proposed legislation” which it hoped would “restore the U.K. public’s trust in digital platforms”
  • Regarding bots and spam accounts: The letter also references a 2020 report about misinformation and the COVID-19 pandemic which “called for greater transparency of bots and automated and spam accounts.”
  • About free speech: The letter also mentioned a “need to tackle pernicious, pervasive online child sexual exploitation and abuse” while balancing that need with “civil liberties like freedom of expression.”

The issue of free speech on the bird app is by far the most important one Musk must address now that he has bought Twitter, especially since free speech laws vary among countries outside of the U.S. And in a separate statement, Knight seemed to highlight that issue as well:

“At a time when social media companies face the prospect of tighter regulations around the world, we’re keen to learn more about how Mr. Musk will balance his clear commitment to free speech with new obligations to protect Twitter’s users from online harms.

“Appearing before the committee will give Mr. Musk an ideal opportunity to set out his proposals for Twitter in more depth and we would look forward to welcoming him.”

If Musk accepts the DCMS Committee’s invitation to discuss his plans further, we might finally get a clear answer to a question that global users of the bird app no doubt have: How will he adapt (if at all) his vision of free speech on Twitter to the laws of other countries?

At this time, Musk has not yet tweeted a response to the invite.

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Anita George
Anita has been a technology reporter since 2013 and currently writes for the Computing section at Digital Trends. She began…
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