Musk Blasts NewsGuard, A Pro-Censorship Organization
Elon Musk, the owner of X (formerly Twitter), recently criticized the European Union (EU) for its association with NewsGuard, an organization Musk described as a “scam” that should be disbanded. This condemnation came in response to a post by former Trump administration official Mike Benz, revealing the European Commission’s ties to NewsGuard. The organization had a role in revising the EU’s “code of practice on disinformation,” which urges technology and advertising companies to reduce the financial support for accused publishers of “disinformation.”
Musk’s comments were prompted by this revelation, and he directed his query at Thierry Breton, a prominent member of the EU’s ruling European Commission, asking if the information was true and insisting that the people of Europe deserved an explanation.
The European Union has been assertively leveraging its authority to promote the censorship of social media platforms. Recently, the EU initiated a “disinformation” case against Meta (formerly Facebook) and TikTok, taking advantage of new EU regulations that allow substantial fines to be imposed on social media companies that do not align their platforms with the bloc’s rules.
NewsGuard has a practice of blacklisting media outlets. Additionally, NewsGuard’s prominent figures and advisors have a tendency to spread misinformation. NewsGuard has been criticized for undermining the credibility of conservative media outlets, including Breitbart News and Fox News. At the same time, the organization has awarded high ratings to mainstream media outlets, even when they promoted significant falsehoods, such as the claim that the Hunter Biden laptop story was Russian disinformation.
NewsGuard has actively pursued partnerships with government bodies and professional associations, leading to its winning of a $750,000 contract from the Pentagon in 2022. This decision sparked outrage among Congressional Republicans.
Amusingly, Matt Skibinski, the general manager of NewsGuard, claims that the organization is an “alternative” to government censorship. Skibinski clearly misses the point that censorship is the problem, not whether it is being done by the government or by the private sector.
Musk’s rebuke of the EU’s involvement with NewsGuard reflects a growing concern over internet censorship and the involvement of external organizations in regulating the information shared online. Many conservatives have expressed unease about the power of organizations like NewsGuard in influencing what content is considered credible or trustworthy. The debate over how to combat disinformation and ensure a free flow of information while respecting freedom of speech and expression is an ongoing issue in the digital age.