What will Elon Musk change by buying Twitter?
Twitter announced this Monday, April 25, that it has accepted the takeover offer from Elon Musk, the boss of Tesla and SpaceX. Thus, the businessman gets his hands on Twitter for about 44 billion dollars (54.20 dollars per share).
However, Elon Musk intends to move the lines on the platform. In the press release, Elon Musk reveals his ambitions: “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by improving the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating spammy bots and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the user community to unlock it.”
More flexible moderation features
Elon Musk is known for his very special beliefs. In the press release dedicated to the Twitter buyout, he states, “Free speech is the foundation of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital public square where issues vital to the future of humanity are debated.”
Elon Musk finds Twitter’s moderation rules too strict. At the TED2022 conference in April, he said that Twitter should not regulate content beyond what is required by the laws of the countries in which it operates. He also considers that permanently banning certain users is not a solution (a reference to Donald Trump?). Thus, if we follow the history of Elon Musk’s statements, new and more flexible rules could be born in terms of moderation.
New possibilities like an edit button for tweets
The businessman also wants to bring new features to the platform, including the long-awaited edit button that would allow to correct his tweets after publication. In April 2022, via a tweet, Elon Musk had notably questioned his community to know if they wanted to get this edit button: almost 74% had answered “yes”. Following this survey, Twitter announced that it was starting to work on an option to edit its tweets.
Moreover, it could also allow longer tweets in the future if we believe his comment of April 15 published on a long thread on Twitter. As a reminder, the current limit for a tweet is 280 characters.
An “open source” function for more transparency
What would be the impact of an open-source algorithm on the platform? It would make the calculation that determines what appears on a user’s Twitter feed publicly available. Elon Musk’s goal is to “increase the trust” of users, allowing them to better understand the content suggestions they are presented with. Jack Dorsey, former CEO of Twitter, said in a tweet that he supports Elon Musk’s position on this issue.
Reduce spam bots
The billionaire also reiterates his desire to fight against “spambots”, referring to automated accounts that are designed for malicious purposes. A few days ago, the Tesla boss published the following tweet: “If our Twitter auction succeeds, we will defeat the spambots or die trying!”, he also added: “And authenticate all real humans”.
Taking Twitter’s stock price off the market
The SpaceX founder may well take Twitter off the stock market soon, turning it into a “private company”. In a letter to the social network’s board of directors dated April 14, he explains that Twitter “will not thrive or fulfill its societal mission (of free speech) in its current form.” In particular, Twitter’s exit from the stock market could make it easier for him to make changes to the platform’s operations.
A new management
Who will lead Twitter from now on? The current CEO is called Parag Agrawal, he succeeded Jack Dorsey, following his resignation in November 2021. But nothing ensures that he will remain at the head of the platform. Parag Agrawal is mentioned in the press release of the takeover but without any mention of his future. With this turning point, there could well be changes in the Twitter teams. To be continued!