The UK’s influential Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has called Elon Musk to a hearing to discuss how he “will balance his clear commitment to free speech with new obligations to protect Twitter’s users from online harms.”
Musk has no obligation to attend, but a letter sent out today to Tesla’s Northern California headquarters asked that he “discuss proposals in more depth” in front of the committee, which is made up of cross-party representatives and regularly grills bosses from the major broadcasters and production houses.
The letter from DCMSC chair Julian Knight said the committee is particularly interested in Musk’s proposal to roll out verification for all users, which Knight said echoes calls to the UK government “that we hope will restore the UK public’s trust in digital platforms.”
The world’s richest man is pushing on with a proposed $44B acquisition of Twitter, and question marks around free speech have been raised, with Musk having been a vocal critic of Twitter’s censorship guidelines in the past. Former POTUS Donald Trump has been touted to return to the platform.
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“I know you have expressed your wish that critics remain on Twitter and this may present an opportunity to address any critiques in public,” wrote Knight. “I look forward to hearing your response and discussing your plans for the future of Twitter in Committee in the near future.”
The committee has interrogated big names in the past including Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen late last year.
In 2018, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was called in front of the DCMSC for a joint hearing with Canada’s Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics to discuss fake news, but he declined.