Elon Musk Bought Twitter – Now What?
After striking a deal to buy Twitter for approximately $44 billion, the South African-born tech billionaire, Elon Musk, purchased the social media platform for $54.20 per share making Musk the majority shareholder of Twitter.
Digital marketers, brand marketers and Twitter users alike are all cautiously optimistic about the future of the social media platform, what changes the new management will bring and how these changes will affect brand and user performance.
Part of this concern is due to Musk’s eccentricity and love-hate past with Twitter which includes tweets that have landed the Tesla CEO in hot water with authorities and sparked hot debates on the microblogging platform.
While the future of Twitter is currently uncertain, there are some speculated changes that have been brought to the public eyes.
1. Content Moderation
At the end of March this year, Musk tweeted asking users whether they believed Twitter was protecting free speech to which approximately 70% of two-million respondents responded ‘no’.
Private companies in America are able to establish their own rules for free speech and content moderation and Musk plans to review this on Twitter specifically to lift current restrictions that are restricting freedom of speech on the platform.
In a tweet Musk said: “Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy. What should be done?”
It seems that Twitter users may soon have more freedom with content on the platform.
2. Buckle Down on Cryptocurrency Scams
Cryptocurrency scams have been plaguing Twitter for some time now with scammers monitoring tweets that contain specific keywords that are linked to tweets containing ‘crypto’ keywords and responding to these tweets with malicious links.
In doing so, the bots are able to pose as fake support agents and are able to access users’ crypto wallets and transfer the currency once provided with the private key.
Crypto scammers have personally impacted Musk in 2020 when his account was hacked to push a bitcoin scam. It is understandable that Musk would want to address botting scams on the platform to ensure increased safety for all users and ensure that all profiles can be properly authenticated.
On April 21st, Musk tweeted: “We will defeat the spam bots or die trying!”
3. Introduce the Edit Button
The edit button is a function that Twitter users have been asking to be introduced to the platform for an extended period of time to enable users to edit basic spelling mistakes, incorrect photos or wrongly copied links.
On April 4, Musk tweeted once again asking users if an edit button is a feature that should be included on Twitter. With more than 4 million votes cast, approximately three-quarters of users were in support of the idea.
In the past Twitter has remarked that there are concerns associated with allowing users to edit tweets as the meaning or message in the tweet can be altered without users knowing.
However, since Musk’s tweet, it seems that the feature has been bumped up the development list with Twitter announcing that they are working on an edit feature and the company will start testing this feature soon.
4. An Open Algorithm
Many social media users and digital marketers have complaints about the algorithms used across platforms and how these algorithms influence the content that can be seen on the various news feeds.
For Twitter users specifically, many users have expressed that they would like to see tweets in chronological order resulting in Twitter rolling back changes made in March to return users to the original algorithm.
On March 24, Musk tweeted asking users how they would feel about the Twitter algorithm being open-source. This means that the algorithm would be freely available to alter. Approximately 1 million users responded with 83% of users saying ‘yes’.
The hypothesis behind this is to fight against manipulation and mass propaganda so that users will be able to tell if the content they are seeing has been downgraded or promoted on the platform.
Since Musk’s arrival, there have been many promises for change on Twitter. Whether these changes are for the better or worse is to be determined but for now, digital markets, brand marketers and users are holding their breath hoping for the best outcome.
With change knocking on Twitter’s front door, there is also concern among users that these changes will encourage other social media giants to follow suit. Only time will tell what change Musk decides to bring to the platform.
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