What Could Elon Musk Change Now He's Bought Twitter?
If you’ve been keeping an eye on the news recently, you’ll no doubt have spotted that Elon Musk just decided to drop nearly $44 billion to buy Twitter, and has already announced that things are going to change. But what, exactly?
Musk claims that he wants to make Twitter a better place for free speech - although some experts have doubts about that - as well as tackling bots and making all human accounts authenticate themselves.
However, there’s a number of other things that he could decide to do if he wants to mould Twitter in his own image, and we’re here to take a look at just a few of those potential changes.
Some of the potential changes might already be taking place, and they might just be rolled out more widely than they are at present.
For example, if you live in Canada or Australia, you might already have heard of Twitter Blue. But for those who live elsewhere, it’s a subscription service for people who use Twitter all the time and want to see it improved to meet what they’re after, whilst also picking up some ‘exclusive features and perks’.
It started in June 2021 and allows subscribers to bookmark folders in order to save stuff they want to keep more easily.
Twitter Blue users can utilise a reader mode for threads, custom icons and colour themes, and dedicated customer support for subscribers only.
If Elon wants to try to make a bit of cash out of his investment – which you’d have to imagine would be what he’s after – we could see this go worldwide quickly.
Furthermore, Twitter Blue offers an undo feature that allows the select tweeters to preview their posted thoughts for a customisable amount of time before it goes live, meaning that they can rectify any mistakes before they hit the timeline.
Whilst that’s not quite an edit button – probably the most demanded thing on Twitter – users could reasonably expect that to be one of the things that Musk could bring to the table now.
In fact, the world’s richest man has argued for this before on his own prolific account.
Back in 2019, Musk tweeted: "Where’s the edit function when you really need it!?" and just last month, he was at it again during the TED2022 conference.
This time, he clarified his thoughts a bit, explaining: “I think you only have the edit capability for a short period of time, and zero out all retweets and favourites”.
Twitter has already admitted that this is something they’re working on, adding: "No, we didn't get the idea from a poll."
Well, development on that could get a rocket – pun completely intended – now Musk is at the helm.
Longer-form tweets could also be in the works, as Musk has railed against the 280 character limit – remember when it was 140 characters? – before now.
Commenting on a thread, he said: "My most immediate takeaway from this novella of a thread is that Twitter is *way* overdue for long form tweets!"
One thing that is for certain is that the SpaceX and Tesla owner wants to change some things from a technical standpoint.
Earlier this year he tweeted about how ‘worried’ he was about perceived ‘bias’ in the Twitter algorithm, claiming that it’s ‘having a major effect on public discourse’. “How do we know what’s really happening?” he asked.
Well, we’ll find out soon enough what he means by that.
Having an open-source algorithm would mean that the details of how a person’s curated feed is determined is publicly available.
Most of all, Musk seems to have positioned himself as a defender of ‘free speech’.
Exactly what he means by that isn’t clear, but it could mean that the days of people being removed or ‘cancelled’ by Twitter are over, hopefully within reason.
In a statement announcing his purchase of Twitter, Musk said: "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,
"I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans,
"Twitter has tremendous potential - I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it."
We’ll just have to see how he chooses to do that.
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