Some trans Twitter users say platform under Elon Musk would be ‘terrifying’

Some trans Twitter users say platform under Elon Musk would be ‘terrifying’

Some LGBTQ people fear that the harassment they face on Twitter could get worse should Elon Musk successfully purchase the company and take it private.

Twitter’s board of directors unanimously agreed to sell the platform to Musk for $44 billion on Monday, but the deal requires shareholder and regulatory approval before it’s final.

Some transgender people say Twitter has helped them connect with other LGBTQ people and build community, but they are afraid of what could happen should Musk — a self-described “free speech absolutist” — take the company private, especially at a time when LGBTQ people and other marginalized groups have faced rampant online harassment.

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Earlier this month, Musk spoke more about potential changes he would make to Twitter should his bid go through. He said he would allow more content to go unmoderated in favor of free speech.

He’s also made comments specific to transgender people that — in combination with his views on less content moderation — lead some trans users to believe hate and harassment on the platform would increase. In a 2020 tweet, he mocked people who display their pronouns in their Twitter bio. After facing criticism, he later tweeted, “I absolutely support trans, but all these pronouns are an esthetic nightmare.”

Alejandra Caraballo, a clinical instructor at Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic and a transgender rights advocate, said she is afraid that Musk might remove Twitter’s content moderation policy that prohibits misgendering or boost accounts like Libs of TikTok, which has shared videos of LGBTQ teachers that reportedly led to some of them being reprimanded or losing their job.

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