What to Expect in Elon Musk’s Twitter Ownership
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, is in line to become the next owner of Twitter, having offered $44 billion to purchase the social media network.
Musk, a self-described “free-speech absolutist,” has committed to build new capabilities such as “authenticating all humans,” as he put it in a remark published in a news release announcing the deal on Monday.
Although it’s unclear how Twitter will evolve, four things are predicted to happen after Musk takes control the microblogging platform.
Let’s look through the expected changes below:
Content moderation and free speech
Musk has regularly stated that Twitter’s content moderators interfere far too much with the platform’s content.
He wrote, “Free speech is the backbone of a functional democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where issues critical to humanity’s future are debated.”
The billionaire has asked for Twitter’s content limitations to be relaxed, and has described a site that is free of content control.
One of the key motivations for his decision to buy the company, according to critics, was to circumvent its content control procedures.
“Musk is not buying Twitter for financial reasons, but he thinks he can make some money on it,” Angelo Carusone, the leader of the non-governmental organization Media Matters for America, told sources. For ideological grounds, he’s buying it. “And that, in the end, is what scares me,” Carusone said.
“If he [Musk] undoes a lot of the work that has been done to combat hate speech and misinformation, that’s going to be a bad day for Twitter,” Zeve Sanderson of the NYU Center for Social Media and Politics opined.
The Edit button would be introduced.
Twitter previously stated that it is working on a feature that will allow users to edit tweets after they have been published.
It had been “the most requested Twitter feature for many years,” according to Jay Sullivan, the company’s vice president of consumer product.
Users would be able to correct typos or errors in a tweet using the edit tool without losing the replies, retweets, or likes it had previously received.
However, the question remains as to how to put it in place while avoiding abuse, such as modifying statements after they have been retweeted or endorsed by others.
An easy option would be to track modifications through a log of revisions, similar to Facebook and Slack, where people can check the history of changes on a post.
This function, on the other hand, has been routinely used by scammers, leading to years-long “edit wars.”
The algorithm used by Twitter should be open-source.
The algorithm, or piece of code that determines which tweets are served up to users in order of priority, will be made “open source,” or available for anybody to inspect and change.
Musk claims that this will help prevent “behind the scenes manipulation” such as the spread of enormous foreign propaganda, which Facebook has been accused of during the campaign of former US President Donald Trump.
However, several analysts have complained, claiming that Musk’s idea significantly oversimplifies the process of making data public and creates serious privacy concerns.
According to Ramesh Srinivasan, a media studies professor at the University of California, algorithms increase interaction by guiding emotional reactions, which is why vile content goes viral the most.
As a result, “[Musk] must deal with the underlying engine, which is the instrument of free speech, to ensure that free speech is balanced and does not lead to hate speech,” Srinivasan explained.
Scams involving cryptocurrency
Musk stated that eradicating “the spam and scam bots, as well as the bot armies that are on Twitter,” would be a primary goal.
The recommended remedy is to have accounts visibly linked to additional personal identifiers, such as a phone number, an email address, or a photo, or to authenticate “all real humans.”
Billy Markus, the co-founder of Dogecoin, has complained to Twitter’s support staff about the network being inundated with giveaway crypto scams, in which bogus Twitter handles impersonate well-known crypto personalities or significant celebrities.
Following news of Twitter’s acquisition arrangement with Musk, who has been a proponent of the cryptocurrency and has gone so far as to nickname himself the “Dogefather,” the price of Dogecoin shares soared.