The “Twitter Files” Show It’s Time to Reimagine Free Speech Online

David French in Persuasion:

A few years ago I was invited to an off-the-record meeting with senior executives at a major social media company. The topic was free speech. I’d just written a piece for the New York Times called “A better way to ban Alex Jones.” My position was simple: If social media companies want to create a true marketplace of ideas, they should look to the First Amendment to guide their policies.

This position wasn’t adopted on a whim, but because I’d spent decades watching powerful private institutions struggle—and fail—to create free speech regulations that purported to permit open debate at the same time that they suppressed allegedly hateful or harmful speech. As I told the tech executives, “You’re trying to recreate the college speech code, except online, and it’s not going to work.”

I’ve been thinking about that conversation ever since Elon Musk took over Twitter, and particularly since Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss last week began releasing selected internal Twitter files at Musk’s behest.

More here.