An MSNBC host reacted to Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter by fretting about the threat that social-media companies might suppress political opinions and ban candidates.
Ari Melber, host of “The Beat,” delivered a lengthy monolog in which he also worried about shadow bans, ie, “secretly” suppressing the reach of specific posts.
He noted that the US “used to regulate media ownership and say Rupert Murdoch can’t have too many local TV stations and newspapers in one town … but the Congress hasn’t gotten around to limiting whether someone can own all of Twitter,” Mr . Melber said.
Twitter began as a privately-owned company, the brainchild of Jack Dorsey.
“If you own all of Twitter or Facebook or what have you, you don’t have to explain yourself. You don’t even have to be transparent,” the MSNBC host added.
Mr. Melber then raised the specter of things that already have happened.
“You could secretly ban one party’s candidate or all of its candidates, all of its nominees. Or you could just secretly turn down the reach of their stuff and turn up the reach of something else, and the rest of us might not even find out until after the election,” he said.
Among other things, Twitter has kicked Donald Trump off its platform while he was still formally president in the wake of the Jan. 6 US Capitol riots. It also suspended the account of a major US media outlet — the New York Post — over its true reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop and also prevented other users for sharing the article in the run-up to the November 2020 presidential election.