June 4, 2023

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Elon Musk’s big plans for Twitter: What we know so far

FILE - Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduces the Cybertruck at Tesla's design studio Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, in Hawthorne, Calif. Musk has laid out some bold, if still vague, plans for transforming Twitter into a place of “maximum fun!” once he buys the social media platform for $44 billion and takes it private. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, File)

FILE – Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduces the Cybertruck at Tesla’s design studio Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, in Hawthorne, Calif. Musk has laid out some bold, if continue to imprecise, options for reworking Twitter into a location of “maximum enjoyment!” when he buys the social media system for $44 billion and requires it personal. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, File)


Tesla CEO Elon Musk has laid out some daring, if nonetheless vague, plans for reworking Twitter into a put of “maximum fun” after he buys the social media platform for $44 billion and can take it non-public.

But enacting what at the instant are little more than a combine of imprecise concepts and specialized specifics could be noticeably extra complex than he indicates.

This is what may materialize if Musk follows via on his concepts about free speech, battling spam and opening up the “black box” of artificial intelligence resources that amplify social media tendencies.

Totally free SPEECH Town Sq.

Musk’s feistiest precedence — but also the one with the vaguest roadmap — is to make Twitter a “politically neutral” digital town sq. for the world’s discourse that permits as a great deal free of charge speech as each and every country’s laws permit.

He’s acknowledged that his plans to reshape Twitter could anger the political remaining and mostly you should the correct. He has not specified specifically what he’ll do about previous President Donald Trump’s completely banned account or other right-wing leaders whose tweets have run afoul of the company’s restrictions against loathe speech, violent threats or damaging misinformation.

Need to Musk go this way, it could indicate bringing back not only Trump, but “many, a lot of many others that had been eliminated as a end result of QAnon conspiracies, focused harassment of journalists and activists, and of course all of the accounts that ended up taken off just after Jan. 6,” reported Joan Donovan, who scientific tests misinformation at Harvard College. “That could possibly be hundreds of thousands of people.”

Musk hasn’t ruled out suspending some accounts, but claims this sort of bans must be temporary. His most current criticism has centered all-around what he described as Twitter’s “incredibly inappropriate” 2020 blocking of a New York Write-up posting on Hunter Biden, which the business has mentioned was a slip-up and corrected in just 24 hrs.


Musk’s longstanding curiosity in AI is reflected in 1 of the most specific proposals he outlined in his merger announcement — the assure of “making the algorithms open source to boost rely on.” He is chatting about the devices that rank content material to determine what demonstrates up on users’ feeds.

Partly driving the distrust, at minimum for Musk supporters, is lore among the U.S. political conservatives about “shadow banning” on social media. This is a intended invisible aspect for minimizing the attain of poorly behaving customers without the need of disabling their accounts. There has been no evidence that Twitter’s platform is biased against conservatives scientific studies have discovered the reverse when it comes to conservative media in distinct.

Musk has termed for putting up the underlying personal computer code powering Twitter’s information feed for general public inspection on the coder hangout GitHub. But this sort of “code-level transparency” gives people minimal perception into how Twitter is working for them devoid of the information the algorithms are processing, explained Nick Diakopoulos, a Northwestern College laptop or computer scientist.

Diakopoulos mentioned there are excellent intentions in Musk’s broader intention to support individuals obtain out why their tweets get promoted or demoted and no matter whether human moderators or automatic techniques are earning those people alternatives. But that’s no easy activity. Way too considerably transparency about how unique tweets are ranked, for occasion, can make it a lot easier for “disingenuous people” to video game the method and manipulate an algorithm to get most exposure for their bring about, Diakopoulos stated.


“Spam bots” that mimic actual persons have been a personal nuisance to Musk, whose reputation on Twitter has impressed a great number of impersonator accounts that use his impression and identify — normally to promote cryptocurrency ripoffs that glance as if they’re coming from the Tesla CEO.

Sure, Twitter people, amongst them Musk, “don’t want spam,” claimed David Greene, civil liberties director at the Digital Frontier Basis. But who defines what counts as a spam bot?

“Do you suggest all bots like, you know, if I follow a Twitter bot that just pulls up historic pictures of fruits? I pick to abide by that. Is that not permitted to exist?” he mentioned.

There are also a lot of spam-filled Twitter accounts at least partly run by genuine people today that run the gamut from ones that hawk items to these marketing polarizing political information to meddle in other countries’ elections.


Musk has repeatedly said he wants Twitter to “authenticate all individuals,” an ambiguous proposal that could be associated to his drive to rid the website of spam accounts.

Ramping up mundane identity checks — this sort of as two-variable authentication or popups that inquire which of 6 pics demonstrates a faculty bus — could discourage anybody from seeking to amass an army of bogus accounts.

Musk could possibly also be thinking of giving more persons a “blue check” — the verification checkmark sported on notable Twitter accounts — like Musk’s — to present they’re who they say they are. Musk has recommended customers could obtain the checkmarks as aspect of a quality provider.

But some digital legal rights activists are concerned these measures could lead to a “real-name” coverage resembling Facebook’s method of forcing men and women to validate their complete names and use them in their profiles. That would look to contradict Musk’s absolutely free speech concentrate by muzzling anonymous whistleblowers or folks residing underneath authoritarian regimes in which it can be hazardous if a dissident concept is attributable to a specific individual.

Advert-Absolutely free TWITTER?

Musk has floated the strategy of an ad-totally free Twitter, although it wasn’t just one of the priorities outlined in the official merger announcement. That may perhaps be because chopping off the company’s main way of producing dollars would be a tall purchase, even for the world’s richest man or woman.

Advertisements accounted for additional than 92% of Twitter’s income in the January-March fiscal quarter. The enterprise did final calendar year launch a high quality membership provider — regarded as Twitter Blue — but won’t show up to have manufactured substantially headway in receiving folks to pay back for it.

Musk has built distinct he favors a stronger subscription-based mostly product for Twitter that provides a lot more men and women an advertisement-absolutely free alternative. That would also healthy into his push to rest Twitter’s information limitations — which manufacturers largely favor due to the fact they never want their adverts surrounded by offensive and hate-crammed tweets.


Musk has tweeted and voiced so numerous proposals for Twitter that it can be difficult to know which kinds he will take critically. He’s joined the well-known get in touch with for an “edit button” — which Twitter claims it is currently doing work on — that would allow people to resolve a tweet soon right after publishing it. A a lot less serious proposal from Musk suggested changing Twitter’s downtown San Francisco headquarters to a homeless shelter “since no just one shows up anyway” — a remark taken more as a dig on Twitter’s pandemic-period workforce than an altruistic vision for the setting up.

Musk did not return an emailed ask for to clarify his plans.


AP Technologies Author Barbara Ortutay contributed to this report.