Elon Musk is a fierce advocate of free speech and the First Amendment and has applied that to Twitter since purchasing the social media platform. There is one notable exception that he is holding out on, however, and that is allowing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones back on Twitter.

Jones has long been banned from Twitter and is in a significant financial crisis (if not collapse) due to a recent judgment in which he owes hundreds of millions of dollars in punitive damages to parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook massacre. Jones insisted that the tragedy was something of a false flag, complete with crisis actors, and no children were killed. He was wrong and profited handsomely from that ugly conspiracy.

Musk recently replied to Sam Harris, who asked, “is it not time to let Alex Jones back on Twitter,” and “if not, why not?” Musk replied by quoting the book of Matthew from the Bible, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

German-Finnish Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom followed up in reply to Musk, writing, “Alex fucked up with Sandy Hook. He admitted that and apologized. He also got a lot of “conspiracy theories” right. If serial liars like Biden and Trump are allowed on Twitter, then Alex Jones should be allowed to. Please reconsider in the interest of real free speech.”

Musk answered by revealing that his firstborn child died in his arms and that he felt his last heartbeat. “I have no mercy for anyone who would use the deaths of children for gain, politics, or fame,” he added.

While some may laud Musk for having some standards about free speech, others may note that his standards, in this instance, are entirely subjective and situational. This is completely understandable but puts the challenge of being an absolutist on free speech — or anything else — in stark relief.

Freedom of expression is complicated to manage for any institution, but especially for a social media platform designed for communication and reward for provocative and informative messaging.

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