Twitter, the most popular microblogging site, has agreed to be sold for $44 billion to Elon Musk, the world’s richest man. After a few weeks of public and private discussion, the decision was made.
We all knew Elon Musk was planning to buy Twitter or create an alternative platform after hosting multiple polls on Twitter. Elon Musk had raised several issues in public through his Twitter polls prior to deciding to buy out Twitter entirely.
On March 25, Elon Musk tweeted a poll to his followers, asking them to vote on Twitter’s “Free speech” policy. Twitter has a history of suspending accounts that spread hate on the platform. Musk poll received 2,035,924 votes, with 70.4 percent voting No.
Elon Musk asked his followers about an edit button in another poll. One of the most talked-about features of Twitter is the edit button. Many users have requested an edit button, but Twitter does not appear to have any plans to implement this feature.
Elon Musk’s discussion of the Twitter algorithm is one of my personal favourites. Musk believes that Twitter’s algorithm should be made public. He also conducted a poll among his followers, to which 82.7 percent responded in the affirmative.
Mr. Musk’s first two polls, in my opinion, require far more serious consideration. What Mr. Musk refers to as free speech is actually hate speech, and Twitter has mostly responded by suspending accounts that spread hate speech or disinformation. Free speech should be allowed on all platforms, but hate speech and disinformation must be filtered out.
The ability to edit tweets appears to be a useful feature, but it is not as simple as it appears. Twitter’s API is used to share data with third-party applications like TweetDeck, Twitteriffic, TweetBot, and Echofon. These platforms have a combined user base of approximately 6 million people. Once these platforms retrieve tweets from the Twitter API, they are saved in the databases of third-party applications, making it difficult to update their data once the original tweet has been edited.
Having an edit feature raises a technical question, among many others, that Mr. Musk will need to resolve internally once the company goes private.
The third poll is especially interesting. Elon Musk’s idea to open-source Twitter’s algorithm may be one of the most significant steps to take to improve the service.
I think it is a great approach for such a large corporation to take. Making the Twitter algorithm open-source will prevent the company from manipulating its algorithm to promote specific tweets or Twitter accounts. If Twitter’s algorithm becomes open-source, programmers from all over the world will be able to contribute to its source code.
We’ve all seen how businesses and political parties can trick Twitter’s algorithm into trending a specific topic. If Twitter’s entire algorithm becomes open source, we can expect it to block bots even more strongly than it already does (which is extremely bad).