Elon Musk pledges to fund any Irish legal challenges to hate speech legislation

The businessman and investor warned of risks associated with laws that aim to curb free speech

Elon Musk has said his social media company X, previously known as Twitter, will fund Irish legal challenges to forthcoming hate speech legislation.

The businessman and investor warned of risks associated with laws that aim to curb free speech, and said there was a need to challenge them.

In an online interview with Gript, Mr Musk said X’s default position is that it will challenge any laws it believes would infringe upon someone’s ability to “say what they want to say”.

He was speaking in relation to Ireland’s pending Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences) Bill, which Minister for Justice Helen McEntee had said would be progressed early this year.


“And we will also fund the legal fees of Irish citizens that want to challenge the Bill as well,” said Mr Musk whose X platform has its European headquarters in Dublin. “So we’ll make sure that if there is an attempt to suppress the voice of the Irish people that we do our absolute best to defend the people of Ireland and their ability to speak their mind.”

He said there should be concern if the Irish parliament defined hate speech in its own terms.

“People should be extremely concerned about that. You’re just at the mercy of the ruling party and whatever bureaucrats they put in place. And they can just define something that really is not hate speech as hate speech just because they don’t like it.”

In relation to misinformation and disinformation, he said unlike in newspapers, X had a “community notes” function which allowed its users to add responses and comments on people’s tweets.

“The biggest lie in the media is the choice of narrative. Because they can simply ignore anything they don’t like and they can overly focus on things that they do want to talk about,” he said.

Briefly addressing environmental policy, Mr Musk said changes to farming practices were entirely unnecessary.

“There is absolutely no need to do anything to farming. Changing farming will have no effect on the environment,” he said.

“It’s totally fine, stop attacking the farmers they can just keep doing what they’re doing. There is only one thing that really matters with respect to the environment and that is how many billions of tonnes of CO2 do we take out of the ground and put into the atmosphere.”

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times