Speech on X is free — if you agree with Elon Musk.
X-formerly-Twitter owner Elon Musk is seemingly limiting access to The New York Times on his platform, with engagement on X posts linking to the renowned newspaper tanking.
As Semafor reports, engagement for other influential news accounts like Politico and The Washington Post has remained relatively consistent. But one NYT link shared by former president Barack Obama reached fewer than 800,000 users, while a Politico link he shared got nearly 13 million views.
In other words, Semafor's analysis strongly suggests that X is shifting away from what Musk perceives as left-leaning content and increasingly embracing conservative media.
If so, the hypocrisy is striking. Musk, after all, is a self-professed "free speech absolutist" — so if he's throttling access to stuff he doesn't approve of, it represents a glaring double standard.
Musk has had it out for the NYT for a while now. Last month, he lashed out at the newspaper over a report about the far-right backlash to an old South African anti-apartheid song.
Shortly after, the site started making it more difficult to access content via external links on the social media platform by slowing down redirects to these sites. Affected sites included the New York Times, Reuters, Facebook, Instagram, Bluesky, and Substack, the Washington Post reported at the time.
At the time, Musk called the NYT a "declining, once-powerful, but fundamentally doomed to be regional and increasingly archaic legacy publication."
And that's without getting into an earlier and equally ugly chapter: back in December of last year, roughly a month into his chaotic stewardship of the social media platform, when Musk started mass suspending Twitter accounts of journalists who criticized him.
In short, Musk has made it clear with his recent decisions that free speech is simply not a priority on the platform. His actions, which have historically spoken even louder than words, paint a troubling picture of what X is turning into: a Wild West where disinformation, propaganda, and conspiracy theories flow freely.
Whether threatening to sue the Anti-Defamation League, suing the state of California over a law requiring social media companies to publicize their content moderation policies, or remaining silent after a man was sentenced to death for tweets critical of his government, add up to a winning strategy remains dubious at best.
In fact, Musk himself has admitted that X may be failing under his leadership — and he seemingly has only himself to blame.
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