Will Elon Musk improve Twitter?
- As of April 12, 2022, Twitter ranked as one of the leading figures in social media worldwide with 192 million monetizable users and 5.07 billion in global revenue.
- Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, SpaceX, and The Boring Company, bought Twitter at $44 billion on April 25, 2022 to make the company private. He announced, “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” and that Twitter had “tremendous potential” to be “unlocked.” In this announcement, he expressed wanting to make the algorithms open source “to increase trust,” removing “spam bots,” and increasing human authentication.
- In a letter sent to Twitter Chairman Bret Taylor on April 14, 2022, Musk offered to buy Twitter at $54 billion noting, “I invested in Twitter as I believe in its potential to be the platform for free speech around the globe, and I believe free speech is a societal imperative for a functioning democracy.”
- Musk is the richest man in the world with a total net worth of $252 billion as of April 26, 2022. Jeff Bezos runs in second place at $164 billion, and Bernard Arnault at $134 billion.
While billionaire Elon Musk presented his acquisition of Twitter to be a noble, promising one, it reeks of danger. Musk's true motive for purchasing Twitter is questionable, as are his capabilities of running the world's largest social media platform. Elon Musk's open-access plan leaves Twitter susceptible to hackers. If Twitter eventually became an open-source platform, the algorithm would appear promising to cybercriminals who would attempt to compromise and replicate the algorithm. By revealing the platform, Twitter would essentially unveil its 'recipe' for all of its competitors to follow.
'Free speech absolutism' has no concrete definition and would introduce users into an unknown realm that presumably excludes libel and slander, among other things. Musk has already established his stances on various political and economic issues, which may lead to him unfairly promoting views that align with his throughout the platform.
A simple algorithm will not solve deep-rooted fundamental societal issues that permeate throughout the world. Injustices won't be solved by finding the right way to promote or censor information. There will always be a way to get around these restrictions, and the application will need to be constantly updated to meet these requirements.
Nothing is concrete; a new algorithm of guidelines does not guarantee a better experience on Twitter because technology and its users are constantly adapting. While Elon Musk may simply be aiming for Twitter to be a place where people freely express their opinions without repercussion, his decision has the potential to lead to much worse consequences for everyone involved in Twitter around the world.
Elon Musk has a history of owning and operating successful companies. It is very likely Twitter's success under Musk will exceed what could have happened under its previous and current leadership. For far too long, censorious leftists in the media have continuously shut down views they don't want to hear, often calling them 'hateful,' like the post that got Musk's favorite account banned.
Musk describes himself as a free speech absolutist, stating correctly, 'Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy.' Yet, free speech is exactly what concerns outraged leftists, who have had control of social media until now. To improve Twitter, Musk must refrain from believing anything that upsets the mainstream liberal narrative is 'hate.' He seems immune already to his 'worst critics,' spewing disapproval over his acquisition. It is not the Left or Musk's job to redefine hate as 'opinions I don't like,' or to police platforms to make sure no one feels 'unsafe' (barring real threats, restrictable under free speech laws).
Twitter has so clearly had its thumb on the scale for the Left, being openly anti-conservative, banning or suspending accounts of prominent conservatives such as Donald Trump and the New York Post for violating Twitter's vague rules at the time, and even the satire site The Babylon Bee. Yet, the accounts for many liberals or news sites had free reign to promote the false narratives of Trump-Russia collusion or Hunter Biden's laptop as Russian disinformation. Both were false and were proven to be misinformation propagated by the Left and regurgitated by the media. If Musk's Twitter will even the scales and make it a place of free and open exchange for all, he will, despite hand-wringing by the media, have succeeded.