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Israel's Netanyahu Urges Musk to Find Balance Between Free Speech and Fighting Hate on X

Updated: Jan 9

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called on Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, to strike a balance between protecting free expression and combating hate speech on his social media platform, X.

Elon Musk
Credits: REUTERS

The meeting between the two took place after weeks of controversy surrounding antisemitic content on X. Netanyahu emphasised the importance of not only stopping antisemitism but also addressing any form of collective hatred. Musk, in response, reiterated his commitment to opposing hate speech and promoting diverse viewpoints on the platform.

Earlier this month, Musk criticised the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), accusing the nonprofit organization of causing a significant decrease in ad revenue at X without providing evidence. He also engaged with users who expressed white supremacist views and asked whether he should poll the platform about banning the ADL, using the hashtag #BantheADL.

These actions sparked further debate and raised concerns about the platform's approach to hate speech.

During the meeting, which was broadcast live from Tesla's factory in California, Netanyahu urged Musk to find a balance within the confines of the First Amendment. He acknowledged Musk's commitment to combating hate and conflict but encouraged him to consider the potential risks associated with hate speech. Musk assured Netanyahu that X would not promote hate speech and emphasised the company's policy of limiting the distribution of posts that violate its guidelines.

The meeting between Netanyahu and Musk also touched on the topic of artificial intelligence (AI). Both leaders discussed the need to harness the benefits of AI while mitigating potential risks to society. Netanyahu highlighted the importance of making responsible choices in the development and deployment of AI technologies, as they have the potential to disrupt democracy. Israel, known for its advancements in AI, aims to strike a balance between progress and ensuring democratic values are upheld.

The meeting faced some opposition, with Tesla employees expressing concerns about the meeting with Netanyahu. The Israeli Prime Minister's nationalist-religious coalition is currently seeking to limit the powers of the Israeli Supreme Court, a move that has divided the country and raised concerns about potential abuses of power.

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urges Elon Musk to find a balance between free speech and fighting hate on the X platform.

  • Musk previously criticised the Anti-Defamation League and engaged with users expressing white supremacist views.

  • Netanyahu emphasises the need to address collective hatred and encourages Musk to consider the risks associated with hate speech.

  • Musk reassures Netanyahu that X will not promote hate speech and will limit the distribution of posts that violate guidelines.


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