Tesla CEO and tech wizard wants the world to know that Twitter is changing for good. Late last night, Twitter announced that its board of directors has decided to go through with Musk’s takeover offer and sell the micro-blogging site to Musk for a record $44 Billion.
Ever since Musk announced that he was interested in buying up Twitter, he has often been asked what he would do if he owned Twitter or was inducted as a board member. Elon has stated his intentions with the company in several tweets since then. Unfortunately, some of the most telling of his tweets were deleted, probably because the tech billionaire felt that he was giving away too much information then, which would have ultimately harmed his takeover bid.
Now that he is on the verge of buying up Twitter for good (remember, the Securities and Exchange Commission of the USA can still cause some issues), we take a look at what all Musk wants to do with Twitter once he takes the ownership and management into his own hands.
Tweak How Content Is Moderated
One of the most significant issues that Musk has had with Twitter is the opaqueness with which the social media platform moderated its content. Not just Musk, but many people have felt that over the years, some of the decisions that Twitter has taken regarding accounts and posts of Public Figures have been arbitrary at times and utterly undemocratic at others.
Musk once tweeted a poll asking whether users believed Twitter protected free speech. He also asked, “Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?” Of the 2 million respondents, an overwhelming 70 percent responded no.
Musk himself has been at odds with Twitter, especially regarding his Cryptocurrency and the Pandemic tweets. He once claimed that children were immune to the coronavirus, and for the longest time, he has been a COVID denier.
Eliminate Bots & Crypto Scams
Elon Musk has been one of the biggest proponents of cryptocurrencies and several alternate coins. Even though Bitcoin and Ethereum mining are highly damaging to the environment, he was instrumental in making Tesla one of the first mainstream car companies to accept payments in crypto. Even though most engineers at Tesla believe that crypto’s high energy requirements are antithetical to what Tesla stands for, this move was.
Twitter is the go-to platform for crypto enthusiasts. Unfortunately, it is also home to some of the most prolific crypto scams, something to which Musk has personally fallen victim.
Scammers have impersonated Musk using fake accounts on various social media sites to get people to give away cryptocurrency. In 2020, Musk’s statement was among a few high-profile Twitter accounts hacked to push a scam. Musk recently tweeted that if his bid to acquire succeeds, “we will defeat the spam bots or die trying!” and “authenticate all real humans.”
Release An Edit Button
There are many arguments about whether Twitter should have an edit feature or not. No matter what side of the argument you’re on, it is rather difficult to deny that there are ways that the micro-blogging site can implement an edit feature, just like several other platforms, when Musk had put out a tweet asking if users wanted an edit ‘button,’ over 4 million users responded, with almost three-quarters responding with a yes.
Twitter has rightly pointed out that such a feature can lead to abuse as Twitter is the social media platform where most people get their news from. In a 2020 interview, Jack Dorsey had said that if he had his way, Twitter would never have an edit feature. Parag Agrawal, too, responded to Musk’s tweet, asking users to vote carefully, given the consequences that it may lead to.
Open Up Twitter’s Algorithm
For a long time, Musk has stated that he believes all social media platforms should make their algorithms open source. He believes that that will allow users to check how algorithms affect the content they consume, but it will also allow them to choose the algorithm that affects the content they are served. Although he has been rather vague about what an open-source Twitter would entail, this will be one of his most significant projects at Twitter.
Get Rid Of Ads
On April 9th, Musk targeted Twitter’s business model and stated, “And no ads. The power of corporations to dictate policy is greatly enhanced if Twitter depends on advertising money to survive.” Musk has since deleted the tweet. There is also a perfect chance that he would continue with a service like Twitter Blue, wherein users pay $3/month. He is also likely to add a few value-added services to get more users to sign up for Twitter Blue.
Have His Own ‘Media’ Outlet
This is a more sinister and convoluted area that we are getting into. Most billionaires, especially in the US, own a media outlet. Suppose Jeff Bezos has The Washinton Post. Bill and Melinda Gates have given away up to 319 Million Dollars to various media outlets. Michael Bloomberg owns Bloomberg.
On the other hand, Musk has had a contentious relationship with traditional media. So much so that he shut down Tesla’s media outreach division.
Given that most people get their news from Twitter, it wouldn’t be farfetched to imagine that Musk, given the visionary and sagacious individual he is, Musk decided that he would control the medium through which people consume news. Medium, after all, is the message.
It would be wrong to assume that Musk is some benevolent savior of the masses and that of Freedom of Speech. Be it cryptocurrency, having his media outlet, or having his own social media platform, Musk sees some value in having Twitter as a part of his portfolio of companies. We can say for sure that for Twitter and users of the social media platform, some big things are around the corner.