Following weeks of drama, world’s richest person Elon Musk on Monday entered into an agreement to acquire social media giant Twitter for approximately $44 billion.
On March 28, Musk had written on Twitter that he was seriously considering building a new social media platform. The characteristics of such a new platform would be open source algorithm, free speech’s paramountcy, and minimal propaganda.
Less than a month later, Musk is set to become Twitter’s new boss. Here are five ways in which we expect Twitter to change based on Musk’s previous public comments.
1. No compromise with free speech
Elon Musk has repeatedly criticised censorship and has championed free speech.
In the press release announcing the agreement between Twitter and Musk, the tech-billionaire was quoted as saying, “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.”
Last month, Musk called Twitter “de facto town square”. He wrote, "Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy."
It is therefore expected that there will be less censorship on Musk’s Twitter. On Monday, Musk said in a tweet that he would want even his critics to stay on Twitter.
I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 25, 2022
2. Twitter’s algorithm will me made public
Elon Musk has earlier said he would prefer to have Twitter’s algorithm public which would make the platform much more transparent.
It would mean that people will be able to see how the website works and what’s the mechanism that promotes or demotes certain tweets.
“Opening the code to show how Twitter engineers run the site is something that few social media platforms have done (Pixelfed and Okuna are fully open source) because they want to keep their internal processes private,” noted American science and technology magazine Popular Mechanics.
3. Removal of bots from the platform
Elon Musk has earlier said he would work towards removing bots and scamsters from the platforms.
In January, Musk criticised Twitter and wrote that “crypto scammers are throwing a spambot block party in every thread” which referred to the prevalence of misleading crypto content on the platform intended to scam people.
However, it’s not yet known how Musk plans to do this.
🚀💫♥️ Yesss!!! ♥️💫🚀 pic.twitter.com/0T9HzUHuh6— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 25, 2022
4. Some form of user verification would be introduced
In the press release announcing the purchase agreement, Musk was quoted as saying that “authenticating all humans” would be one of his objectives on Twitter.
Presently, users can maintain anonymity on Twitter and while this has allowed some people to use social media bypassing workplace censorship or personal restrictions, these anonymous users have also engaged in trolling and hateful content. This has been flagged as a concern at times.
5. Finally, Twitter might get an edit button
Earlier this month, Elon Musk asked in a Twitter poll if users wanted an edit button. A whopping 73.6 per cent people answered with a yes.
Do you want an edit button?— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 5, 2022
It is expected that Musk would also introduce an edit button. However, he did not mention the edit button in the press release announcing the purchase.