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 facility to reshape discourse on a social community utilized by greater than 200 million folks day by day.

How would possibly Musk wield that energy?

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

Loosen up content material guidelines within the identify 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 saying the acquisition by saying that “free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital city sq. the place issues important to the way forward for humanity are debated.”

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

Twitter at present 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 research 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 enjoyable the principles on Twitter will empower these seeking 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

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

Not like Fb, Instagram and different social media apps, it isn’t potential to alter content material on Twitter as soon as it is revealed.

Musk has mentioned 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 amongst specialists is that including an edit button characteristic could be weaponized by unhealthy 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 wash up typos, whereas additionally exhibiting 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 mentioned that the software program that determines what folks see and the way broadly content material spreads on Twitter must be cracked open. He helps putting Twitter’s algorithm on GitHub, a web site common 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 better 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 day by day. How and why tweets go viral, and the way Twitter’s advice system works, is so dense and sophisticated that the corporate’s personal software program engineers might be perplexed attempting to know its logic.

Launch a struggle on ‘bot armies’

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

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

He has not mentioned he want to mood these form of bots, however he has recommended that there must be a crackdown on scammy bots selling cryptocurrency hustles.

“If our twitter bid succeeds, we’ll defeat the spam bots or die attempting!” Musk tweeted final week, including that he’d prefer to “authenticate all actual people.”

Scrap ads

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

With the corporate going non-public, it is not going to be below the identical strain from shareholders to repeatedly develop promoting income. Musk has mentioned 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 price $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 mentioned Twitter Blue must be cheaper, that if persons are paying, they should not must see ads and that the cryptocurrency that began as a joke, Dogecoin, must be an appropriate type of fee for a Twitter subscription.

And a giant unknown: Reinstate Donald Trump?

Musk has not publicly mentioned whether or not he would permit former President Donald Trump again on the platform after the corporate completely 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 “an excellent man,” saying he was happy with the billionaire’s acquisition, however Trump mentioned he has no plans to attempt to return to the Twitter. As an alternative, Trump mentioned he can be specializing in his different social community referred to as Fact Social.

At an all-hands assembly on Monday afternoon, a Twitter worker requested CEO Parag Agrawal whether or not Trump could be reinstated. Agrawal mentioned that was a query for Musk.

“As soon as the deal closes, we do not know which route the platform will go,” he mentioned.

NPR’s Shannon Bond contributed to this report.

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