CBS Reporter Laments ‘Protections of Free Speech’ Prevent Censorship, Elon Musk's Reforms At X

December 31st, 2023 6:12 PM

During a year-end wrapup segment on Face The Nation, CBS Senior Business and Technology Correspondent Jo-Ling Kent lamented that “the arguments and protections of free speech” prevent social media companies from engaging in further censorship and viewpoint suppression. Additionally, Kent took a shot at Elon Musk for his free speech reforms at X, formerly known as Twitter.

Watch as Kent also bemoans Musk’s gutting of the fed-embedded Twitter Trust and Safety Team, as aired on CBS Face The Nation on Sunday, December 31st, 2023:

MARGARET BRENNAN: Absolutely. And, we know in the immediate term, the Biden Administration has been concerned about what this will mean for our politics on the campaign trail. The use of deepfakes or misleading voters. What are the (social media) companies doing to prevent that? 

JO-LING KENT: You know, the social media companies are telling me that they're throwing every resource that they have to stop misinformation and disinformation. But the reality is, that this is a sprawling, endless game of whack-a-mole. That information spreads constantly online, and it is continuing to be very hard to stop especially with the arguments and protections of free speech. Now Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, says it removes manipulated media and voter interference misinformation, and the company does utilize fact-checking organizations and beyond. But the reality here is that taking down all of this bad information has always been an impossible task on platforms of that size. And of course, we cannot forget about X, formerly Twitter. Elon Musk and his team have basically allowed the return of conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones, and they’ve also dramatically reduced the size of their Trust and Safety team, Margret. 

The broader segment, intended to be a business and tech wrapup, opened with concerns about whether or not Congress will regulate AI ahead of the upcoming release of ChatGPT-5, and the broader effects on AI on the job market. Kent cited a Goldman Sachs study which predicts that 300 million jobs will “disappear or change significantly” due to AI and potential ensuing voter concerns.   

At this point, host Margaret Brennan takes the discussion into a more political direction, citing the Biden Administration’s concern over deepfake videos, and what the social media companies “might be doing to prevent that”.

It is then that Kent laments the deterrent effect that the “arguments and protections of free speech” have upon social media censorship. Hovering over that entire exchange: Missouri v. Biden, and the administration’s own efforts to suppress free speech on social media. Also hovering over that segment: the suppression of Hunter Biden’s laptop, and the effect that this suppression had on the 2020 presidential election. In effect, Kent laments that these tools are diminished ahead of the 2024 election. 

The giveaway here is the intentional singling out of Elon Musk’s reforms at X. Kent cites the recently reinstated Alex Jones as a “conspiracy theorist” platformed by Musk- but conveniently leaves out those who were suspended but proven right over time, such as vaccine skeptics Robert Malone and Alex Berenson, and the continued platforming of Libs of Tik Tok despite the left’s repeated cancellation efforts.

The segment closed with an apologia of the Biden economy, which Kent describes as a “vibe session” wherein the voters do not yet know how good they really have it.

In 2024, we can expect increased calls for social media censorship under the guise of combatting “mis- and disinformation”.