Why is #FreeLiamNissan trending on Twitter and what does Elon Musk have to do with Liam Neeson?

By Charlie Sawyer

Published Feb 19, 2024 at 11:59 AM

Reading time: 2 minutes

It’s so ironic how Elon Musk’s crusade for universal free speech goes straight out the window whenever he comes across an account that’s making fun of him. The current victim? An iconic X, formerly Twitter, account called @TheLiamNissan is best known for its less-than-kind remarks about the Tesla CEO.

How did this all start? Well, on Sunday 18 February 2024, netizens saw that Liam Nissan’s account had been suspended from the platform. Immediately, users knew that Musk had clearly decided to squash the free speech of someone who was bothering him.

Almost straight after the account was suspended, the #FreeLiamNissan began trending on X—it’s currently sitting on around 160,000 associated posts.

The best part about this entire saga is the fact that netizens are bringing famous Taken actor Liam Neeson into the mix. Obviously, no one believes that the account is actually a mask for Neeson to make fun of Musk on social media. That being said, the memes that are coming out of this gag are really making me giggle:

Some users have even gone as far as to identify the very tweet that got @TheLiamNissan suspended:

Musk is, of course, the self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist,” and so naturally this move completely dismantles his so-called ethos. Moreover, it isn’t even close to being the first time the tech mogul has used his acquisition of Twitter to silence certain voices.

Anyone, whether that be individuals or organisations, that has publically criticised Musk for allowing hate speech to fester on the platform has faced both account suspension and, in certain cases, legal action. For example, as reported by The Guardian, in September 2023, Musk threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for defamation after blaming the organisation of driving billions of dollars in advertising from X. The ADL has criticised the platform for failing to take action against hate speech, charging that fewer than a third of posts flagged for antisemitic content were removed or sanctioned. While, in recent times, the ADL has become a highly controversial organisation, Musk’s insistence on blockading the group reinforces his problematic approach to free speech.

Plus, on 9 January 2024, it was reported by multiple news outlets including VICE that a number of prominent left-wing journalists and activists had been ousted from the platform without explanation. The landing pages for their accounts simply read “X suspends accounts which violate the X rules.”

While a few of these accounts were later reinstated, with Musk citing a “spam purge” as the reasoning behind it, there was a clear correlation between the individuals that had been silenced. For example, a number of the accounts that were suspended had been critical of Israel.

So, I guess all we can do is wait and hope that @TheLiamNissan will soon be restored and we can continue making fun of Musk and all will be right in the universe once more.

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