Twitter’s shareholders and the financial institutions backing Elon Musk’s bid to take over the company must use their power to center and uphold the human rights of hundreds of millions of people who use the platform across the globe. With no adequate risk mitigation measures in place, Elon Musk’s takeover of the tech giant is jeopardizing the company’s long history of steadily improving protections for human rights, in collaboration with civil society around the world. Through open letters to shareholders and financial institutions, Access Now, and civil society organizations, investors, and investor advocates are calling on these stakeholders to act now and withhold their support and approval for the sale unless the necessary human rights safeguards are put in place.
“Most of these giant asset management companies and financial institutions have advocated for sustainable and responsible business practices, and made public statements about benefiting society and the public good,” said Laura Okkonen, Investor Advocate at Access Now. “This is the time for them to demonstrate they will actually walk the talk, and apply those ambitious principles to a deal that would profoundly impact people around the world.”
After considerable effort to move away from “Toxic Twitter,” the company has emerged as an important leader in responsible and innovative content moderation, along with other vital protections for human rights, trust, journalism, and overall user safety on the platform.
“The tide is turning on Big Tech, and what is bad for human rights is now bad for business. Advertisers are wavering in their commitment to the company to reduce brand damage,” said Isedua Oribhabor, Business & Human Rights Lead at Access Now. “Twitter is arguably the most significant online space for communication, information sharing, activism, and community organizing. Shareholders and financial institutions backing the company’s sale are not only risking their own reputations, but our global town square.”
Access Now, along with a broad coalition of investors and civil society groups from around the globe, are calling on shareholders and financial institutions to withhold approval and funding, respectively, for the proposed sale of Twitter until adequate risk mitigation measures have been confirmed for the future operation of the company, and to:
- Ensure Twitter will continue to uphold and strengthen its strong focus on battling hate speech, disinformation, and incitement to violence to protect those most at risk across the globe;
- Ensure that formal, adequate, and transparent corporate-level processes and policies on the corporate governance and content moderation will continue to remain in place;
- Ensure Twitter will prioritize complying with international human rights standards and norms;
- Insist that Twitter, and themselves, complete formal human rights impact assessment on the planned acquisition and the potential privatization of the company; and
- Withhold approval for the sale unless the company is able to publicly disclose and demonstrate that the necessary mitigation measures are in place.