The blue tick and the tweet edit .. Elon Musk’s plans for Twitter

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has outlined some bold, if vague, plans to turn Twitter into a place of “maximum fun” once he buys the $ 44 billion social media platform, going private, according to an Associated Press report.

Square “Freedom of expression”

Musk’s most exciting priority, he says, is to make Twitter a “politically neutral” digital arena for global discourse that allows freedom of expression as much as each country’s laws allow.

He acknowledged that his plans to reform Twitter could anger the political left and often satisfy the right.

He did not specify exactly what he would do about the permanently banned account of former President Donald Trump or other right-wing leaders whose tweets violate the company’s restrictions on hate speech, violent threats or harmful misinformation.

If Musk goes in that direction, it could mean not only Trump’s account is being restored, but “many other accounts that have been removed as a result of their promotion of QAnon conspiracies, harassment of journalists and activists, and of course all accounts after January 6 was removed., “Joan said. Donovan, who is studying disinformation at Harvard University. “It could be hundreds of thousands of people.”

Musk did not rule out some accounts being suspended, but said such a ban should be temporary.

His recent criticism centered around what he called the “incredibly inappropriate” 2020 Twitter blockade of a New York Post article about Hunter Biden, which the company said was a bug and corrected within 24 hours.

Musk’s long-standing interest in artificial intelligence is reflected in one of the most visible proposals he put forward in the merger announcement to “open up algorithms to increase trust.”

Musk is talking about systems that categorize content to determine what appears in users’ feeds.

Musk requested that the underlying computer code that runs the Twitter news page be published for public viewing on the programmer’s GitHub. But such code-level transparency gives users little insight into how Twitter works for them without the data being processed by algorithms, Diakopoulos, a computer scientist at Northwestern University, told the agency.

Diakopoulos said there are good intentions in Musk’s broader goal of helping people understand why their tweets are promoted or downgraded and whether human moderators or automated systems make those choices. But it is not an easy task.

Too much transparency about how individual tweets are classified, for example, Diakopoulos said, could make it easier for “scammers” to manipulate the system and tamper with the algorithm.

Elon Musk and Donald Trump

Defeat spam bots

“Spam bots” that mimic real people were a personal annoyance to Musk, whose Twitter popularity inspired countless mimicry accounts that use his photo and name – often to promote crypto-currency scams that look like those of the CEO comes from Tesla.

Sure, Twitter users, including Musk, “do not want spam,” says David Green, director of civil liberties at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

But who defines what counts as a robot?

There are also many spam-ridden Twitter accounts run at least in part by real people who run chains from those who sell products to those who promote political content to interfere with other countries’ politics.

“Friends with all people”

Musk has repeatedly said he wants Twitter to “make friends with all people,” a vague suggestion that may be related to his desire to get rid of the spam accounts website.

The agency says tightening personal identity checks – such as two-factor verification – could discourage anyone from trying to assemble an army of fake accounts.

Musk could also consider introducing a “blue check” to more people to show they are genuine, and Musk suggested that users buy ticks as part of a premium service.

But some digital rights activists are concerned that these measures could lead to a “real name” policy similar to Facebook’s approach to forcing people to validate their full names and use them in their profiles.

This seems to contradict Musk’s focus on free speech by silencing anonymous whistleblowers or people living under authoritarian regimes where it can be dangerous if the message is returned to the sender.

Twitter free of ads?

Musk pushed the idea of ​​ad-free Twitter, though it was not one of the priorities identified in the official merger announcement.

This may be because being the company’s main way of making money would be daunting, even for the richest person in the world.

Advertising accounted for more than 92 percent of Twitter’s revenue in the January-March financial quarter.

The company launched a premium subscription service last year – known as Twitter Blue – but it does not appear to have made much progress in getting people to pay for it.

Musk has made it clear that he prefers a more robust Twitter opt-in model that gives more people an ad-free option.

It will also fit in with its efforts to loosen content restrictions on Twitter – which brands prefer largely because they do not want their ads to be surrounded by hateful and offensive tweets.

What else?

Musk has already tweeted and voiced so many suggestions on Twitter that it can be hard to know which one he takes seriously.

He joined the popular call for an “edit tweet button” – which Twitter says is already working – that will allow people to edit a tweet shortly after it is posted.

He also made a less serious suggestion that Twitter’s downtown San Francisco headquarters be turned into a homeless shelter because “no one comes in anyway” and Musk did not respond to an agency request from the agency to to explain his plans.

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