Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Picture Alliance/Getty Images
Billionaire Elon Musk on Tuesday proposed a Twitter feature that would allow users to set preferences limiting what they see on the platform and block content they find offensive.
Musk, who’s set to purchase Twitter for $44 billion, said at the Qatar Economic Forum that this would be a step toward making Twitter an “appealing system to use.”
He said Twitter should allow people to say what they want on the platform within the “boundaries of the law,” but then limit who sees their comments based on other users’ preferences.
“If your preferences are to see or read anything, then you’ll get that,” he said. “But if your preferences are well, you prefer not to see, you know, comments that you find offensive in one form or another, then you can have that as a setting and not see it.”
The Tesla CEO said he still believes that Twitter should be as inclusive as possible but said there’s a “big difference between freedom of speech and freedom of reach.”
“In that, one can obviously, let’s say in the United States, go in the middle of Times Square and pretty much yell anything you want,” he said. “You’ll annoy the people around you, but you’re kind of allowed to just yell whatever you want in a public place, more or less.”
“But then whatever you say, however controversial, does not need to then be broadcasted to the whole country,” he said.
Musk has previously mentioned his desire to filter out offensive and boring content on social media. At his first all-hands meeting with Twitter employees, he said he plans on “not showing people content that they would find offensive.”
Twitter has not publicly revealed a blanket feature like the one Musk proposed. However, it allows users to block or filter out notifications from specific accounts, or content the platform flags as duplicate or automated tweets.
Additionally, the platform allows users to “mute” certain words so they won’t be shown posts containing those terms.
Musk said on Tuesday that his goal is to “entice most people to want to be on Twitter” because they find its content informative, entertaining, and useful.
According to him, an ideal userbase would include 80% of North America and “half of the world.”
The billionaire has repeatedly said he disagrees with Twitter’s practice of banning users that violate its policies, which currently prohibit people from promoting violence, extremism, adult content, and publishing someone else’s private information, among other offenses.
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