Elon Musk, the owner of social media platform X (formerly Twitter), is considering a poll on banning the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) from the platform, as the hashtag #BanTheADL trends on X. Musk tweeted on Saturday that perhaps a poll should be conducted on this issue in response to a post suggesting that the trend demonstrates people’s opposition to labeling everything they don’t like as hateful, racist, dangerous, or far-right. The trend also reflects criticism of the ADL’s alleged intimidation tactics.
The campaign to ban the ADL started after a meeting between Jonathan Greenblatt, the national director of the ADL, and X CEO Linda Yaccarino, in which they discussed addressing the issue of rampant hate speech on the site. Greenblatt’s tweet about the “very frank and productive conversation” sparked conservative accounts to push the hashtag #BanTheADL, accusing the group of stifling free speech.
One user referred to the ADL and similar groups as “radical left-wing hate groups,” to which Musk responded that it would be difficult to describe them as centrist. He further stated in another tweet that the ADL has made significant efforts to strangle the social media platform X/Twitter.
The feud between Musk and the ADL began shortly after Musk acquired Twitter in April 2022, following his cancellation of proposed plans for a moderation council. The ADL, along with other civil rights groups, called for a complete ban on advertising on the platform until Twitter adequately addresses hate speech and other content moderation concerns.
Musk argued at the time that a vast coalition of political and social activists is to blame for Twitter not having a moderating committee. He claimed that despite the promise not to try to kill Twitter by starving it of advertising revenues, provided the agreed-upon conditions, the activists broke the deal by failing to fulfill their end of the agreement.
The conversation about banning the ADL from X (formerly Twitter) reflects the ongoing tension between free speech advocates and those who believe in combating hate speech and extremism online. While some argue that the ADL’s efforts are stifling free speech, others believe that addressing hate speech and promoting responsible content moderation is essential for creating a safe and inclusive online environment.
As the #BanTheADL hashtag continues to trend on X, the debate around free speech and the role of organizations like the ADL in content moderation will likely intensify. It remains to be seen how Elon Musk and X will address the concerns raised by the campaign and whether a poll on banning the ADL will actually take place.