Elon Musk bought Twitter. Here’s what he says he’ll do next : NPR


Twitter on Monday introduced it has accepted billionaire Elon Musk’s bid to takeover the social media firm for $44 billion.

John Raoux/AP

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John Raoux/AP

Twitter on Monday introduced it has accepted billionaire Elon Musk’s bid to takeover the social media firm for $44 billion.

John Raoux/AP

Elon Musk will quickly maintain the keys to Twitter.

The corporate introduced on Monday that it has accepted the Tesla CEO’s $44 billion provide to take the corporate non-public. Meaning the world’s richest one who has a penchant for theatrics and erratic conduct is about to have the ability to reshape discourse on a social community utilized by greater than 200 million folks on daily basis.

How may Musk wield that energy?

Listed below are some proposals for Twitter that he is floated.

Loosen up content material guidelines within the title of free speech

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO describes himself as a “free speech absolutist” and has criticized what he sees as extreme moderation on on-line platforms.

He nodded to those beliefs in his assertion asserting the acquisition by saying that “free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital city sq. the place issues very important to the way forward for humanity are debated.”

Musk has argued that social networks shouldn’t take away feedback that, whereas offensive, are nonetheless authorized. Throughout a current interview at a TED convention he stated, “If it is a grey space, let the tweet exist.”

Twitter at the moment bans harassment, abuse and posts that want bodily hurt to somebody. The platform has different guardrails too, like a prohibition on misinformation associated to COVID-19.

Specialists who examine social networks fret about Musk’s push to loosen the principles of engagement on Twitter. They are saying that would give license to harassers, trolls and others who abuse the platform to focus on folks.

Additionally they fear stress-free the principles on Twitter will empower these trying to exploit the platform by spreading misinformation, or flat-out lies, about political occasions, authorities officers and issues associated to public well being and security.

Create an edit button so customers can change their tweets

One of the requested product adjustments amongst Twitter customers is an edit button.

In contrast to Fb, Instagram and different social media apps, it isn’t attainable to vary content material on Twitter as soon as it is printed.

Musk has stated he helps letting folks change what their tweets say, a proposal that has stirred a heated debate amongst teachers, journalists and different heavy customers of the platform.

The worry among experts is that including an edit button function could be weaponized by dangerous actors, who may use it to cowl up abuse or harassment as if it by no means occurred, or to dupe or manipulate folks.

However others say safeguards may very well be put in place in order that tweets may very well be edited to scrub up typos, whereas additionally displaying a historical past of how the tweet was edited to protect the unique content material.

Open up Twitter’s algorithm to the general public

Musk has stated that the software program that determines what folks see and the way extensively content material spreads on Twitter needs to be cracked open. He helps inserting Twitter’s algorithm on GitHub, a website widespread with programmers for sharing pc code.

Whereas some advocates of extra transparency at social media firms say the that may very well be a step in the direction of higher openness, others say revealing Twitter’s dense and sophisticated algorithm to the general public would accomplish little or no.

A social community the scale of Twitter processes billions of items of content material on daily basis. How and why tweets go viral, and the way Twitter’s advice system works, is so dense and complex that the corporate’s personal software program engineers may be perplexed making an attempt to know its logic.

Launch a struggle on ‘bots armies’

Combating the proliferation of bots on Twitter — pretend accounts which can be programmed to answer tweets on sure subjects — is one other change Musk favors.

Musk’s enterprise empire has been recognized to draw is fair proportion of bots, together with bots supportive of his electrical automobile firm Tesla that attack Musk critics.

He has not stated he wish to mood these sort of bots, however he has steered that there needs to be a crackdown on scammy bots selling cryptocurrency hustles.

“If our twitter bid succeeds, we are going to defeat the spam bots or die making an attempt!” Musk tweeted final week, including that he’d wish to “authenticate all actual people.”

Scrap commercials

Proper now, nearly 90 % of Twitter’s income comes from promoting, however the firm has struggled to draw advertisers to the platform, which regularly devolves into political firestorms and ugly on-line brawls.

With the corporate going non-public, it is not going to be underneath the identical stress from shareholders to repeatedly develop promoting income. Musk has stated it ought to transfer to a subscription mannequin.

Twitter has already taken some steps in that route with the introduction final yr of Twitter Blue, a premium service that value $2.99 a month for addition options, like an undo button that enables for tweets to be recalled earlier than they’re despatched.

Musk has stated Twitter Blue needs to be cheaper, that if persons are paying, they should not should see commercials and that the cryptocurrency that began as a joke, Dogecoin, needs to be a suitable type of cost for a Twitter subscription.

And an enormous unknown: Reinstate Donald Trump?

Musk has not publicly stated whether or not he would enable former President Donald Trump again on the platform after the corporate permanently suspended him for rhetoric that broke its guidelines and stoked the siege on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

In an interview with Fox Information on Monday, Trump known as Musk “a great man,” saying he was happy with the billionaire’s acquisition, however Trump stated he has no plans to attempt to return to the Twitter. As a substitute, Trump stated he will probably be specializing in his different social community referred to as Reality Social.


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