Elon Musk reveals his plans for Twitter

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midian182

Posts: 7,786   +80
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TL;DR: With Elon Musk offering to buy Twitter, the world's richest person has revealed some of the changes he has planned for the platform, including open-sourcing its algorithm, addressing the spam problem, and being less restrictive when it comes to censoring users' tweets.

Musk made his offer to buy Twitter yesterday following a series of events, including turning down a seat on the board, that suggested he had been planning the move since becoming its largest shareholder.

Musk revealed some of his plans for Twitter at a TED event in Vancouver. "A top priority I would have is eliminating the spam and spambots and bot armies that are on Twitter," he said. "If I had a Dogecoin for every crypto scam I saw."

The Tesla boss also talked about his wish to open-source the Twitter algorithm. "One of the things I believe Twitter should do is open-source the algorithm and make any changes to people's tweets - if they are emphasized or de-emphasized, that action should be made apparent. So anyone can see that action has been taken. So there's no sort of behind-the-scenes manipulation, either algorithmically or manually."

Musk has long criticized Twitter over claims it does not adhere to the principles of free speech. In his letter to Twitter board chairman Bret Taylor yesterday, he said his initial investment in Twitter was spurred by 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."

Should Musk's takeover bid succeed, he wants Twitter to take a more relaxed approach to moderating tweets. "If in doubt, let it exist," he said. "In a case where there's perhaps a lot of controversy, you would perhaps not want to promote that tweet. I'm not saying I have all the answers here. I do think that we want to be very reluctant to delete things and be very cautious with permanent bans. Timeouts are better."

Musk has admitted that he faces obstacles in his bid to take over Twitter. The Wall Street Journal writes that Saudi royal Alwaleed bin Talal, one of Twitter's largest shareholders, wrote, "I don't believe that the proposed offer […] comes close to the intrinsic value of Twitter." Other shareholders aren't supporting Musk, either. It's speculated that they might be allowed to buy more shares at a discount, thereby making a hostile takeover more financially difficult, aka the 'poison pill' tactic.

It's been a hectic few weeks for Musk and Twitter. It was revealed on April 4 that he had acquired a 9.2% stake in the company on March 14; the delay in revealing his purchase has resulted in a class-action lawsuit. He then asked his followers if they wanted an edit button, which Twitter is now getting (though not because of Musk's poll). Company CEO Parag Agrawal last week announced that Musk would be taking a seat on the board, limiting his ownership to 14.9% and preventing any hostile takeover attempt, but he turned the position down at the last minute—and now we know why.

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waclark

Posts: 318   +210
This is one of the funniest stories in recent times: multi-billionaire has to take the public square private to save democracy. People screaming for less democracy "to save democracy." People upset that "muh private company" is now turned in favor of freedom.
Taking Twitter private has nothing to do with whether it will remain open and uncensored. There's no "less democracy" here. In fact this has nothing to do with democracy. In a democracy we would all have an equal say in how Twitter is run, we do not. That is controlled by the board and to some extent, stockholders.

Consider that 5%+ of the company is owned by a regime that doesn't support free speech and has actually tracked down and killed a journalist that was critical of the Saudi Prince. Is this a company you want to do business with? Do you support this kind of ownership in a company/app that is supposed to foster free speech? Taking it private will prevent that kind of ownership in the company.
 

waclark

Posts: 318   +210
Free speech was always a lie. Now it's just a lie less people believe.
Don't you love how Techspot turns off comments on a post about Musk and Twitter? Isn't this what people are complaining about? You let some people comment, but then when the discussion isn't quite going the way you want, you shut down the debate. Yes, I know, it's a private blog etc etc.

I support Techspot or even Twitter's right to decide what goes on their platform. But, don't act like you're standing on the moral high-ground because you're just another flavor of self-appointed arbiter of the truth.
 

Beerfloat

Posts: 497   +938
I don't use Twitter and I don't care what happens to it.

However, going by Musk's character as it has been revealed in his public comments, I reckon he is more likely to make Twitter even worse than it already is.
 

waclark

Posts: 318   +210
No, free speech was a misunderstanding. It means the government can not prosecute you for what you say (except for threats, of course). Nothing more.
Yes, in a way that's true. But, there is a difference between "Freedom of Speech" as defined by the 1st Amendment and the ability to speak freely. One is specifically about the government and the other is more about society in general.

When we offer up these social media sites and blogs and then censor speech we don't like, we are doing a disservice to society. It's the old, who will watch the watchmen, adage. Who will decide if Twitter or Techspot or MSNBC or Fox News is the sole decider of truth?
 

Beerfloat

Posts: 497   +938
Yes, in a way that's true. But, there is a difference between "Freedom of Speech" as defined by the 1st Amendment and the ability to speak freely. One is specifically about the government and the other is more about society in general.

When we offer up these social media sites and blogs and then censor speech we don't like, we are doing a disservice to society. It's the old, who will watch the watchmen, adage. Who will decide if Twitter or Techspot or MSNBC or Fox News is the sole decider of truth?

No no, free societies as they exist do offer that free speech.

I bet that where most Techspot visitors live, there is noone preventing them from saying the most outrageous things. Many places will allow you to lie freely all day long if that is what you what to do.

It is possible that you'll end up with only the walls of your own house to talk to, however. But freedom from consequences was never part of the deal.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,494   +6,300
Musky is going to eliminate spam and bots, and reduce tweet moderation?? :rolleyes: Good luck with that, Musky! I have a feeling reality is about to slap you really hard in the face. 🤣
 

Beerfloat

Posts: 497   +938
Hopefully this means Trump will be back on Twitter. I’m not his biggest fan but I find it absolutely detestable that a former president is blocked but Putin is able to post. And Putin is on there, I checked!

I think Trump being removed from Twitter was an improvement, though. I don't read tweets, but other media keep reporting what he says there, and it is wasting my time and everyone else's. He never says anything insightful, useful, and rarely anything even truthful. So really, that worked out well.
 

Kirby1

Posts: 156   +256
Yes, in a way that's true. But, there is a difference between "Freedom of Speech" as defined by the 1st Amendment and the ability to speak freely. One is specifically about the government and the other is more about society in general.

When we offer up these social media sites and blogs and then censor speech we don't like, we are doing a disservice to society. It's the old, who will watch the watchmen, adage. Who will decide if Twitter or Techspot or MSNBC or Fox News is the sole decider of truth?
This is such a stupid argument. Twitter has a right to free speech too and twitter can exercise that right by choosing what it wants and doesn't want on its platform. Typical right wing logic, as always, you think your rights should be able to infringe on everyone elses.
 

AlaskaGuy

Posts: 254   +180
I think Trump being removed from Twitter was an improvement, though. I don't read tweets, but other media keep reporting what he says there, and it is wasting my time and everyone else's. He never says anything insightful, useful, and rarely anything even truthful. So really, that worked out well.
Censorship is good because I'm tired of watching stories that I don't like on the news. 🤔
 

AlaskaGuy

Posts: 254   +180
This is such a stupid argument. Twitter has a right to free speech too and twitter can exercise that right by choosing what it wants and doesn't want on its platform. Typical right wing logic, as always, you think your rights should be able to infringe on everyone elses.
Remember that post when Musk takes over Twitter.
 

waclark

Posts: 318   +210
No no, free societies as they exist do offer that free speech.

I bet that where most Techspot visitors live, there is noone preventing them from saying the most outrageous things. Many places will allow you to lie freely all day long if that is what you what to do.

It is possible that you'll end up with only the walls of your own house to talk to, however. But freedom from consequences was never part of the deal.
I didn't mean to imply there wouldn't be consequences. But, being disallowed to speak isn't free speech. Yes, in some places you can lie all day, but in some of those places it depends on what you're lying about. Not giving people the chance to call out and disprove the lie is no better than lying in the first place.

Consider if Yelp only allowed the reviews they like and deleted or prohibited the ones they don't like, based on their opinions of the restaurant. Would anyone find that fair or reasonable? Turns out, they kind of do this. They will put reviews into the "currently not recommended" category and hide them off the main page. My restaurant currently has 22 reviews in this category. 3 of them are 1 stars and 17 5 stars and one 4 star. Why are they allowed to hide my good (and bad) reviews? And I have no way to get those reviews reinstated no way to hold Yelp accountable for reviews that are straight up lies, which we occasionally get. Whose free speech are they trampling on?
 
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waclark

Posts: 318   +210
This is such a stupid argument. Twitter has a right to free speech too and twitter can exercise that right by choosing what it wants and doesn't want on its platform. Typical right wing logic, as always, you think your rights should be able to infringe on everyone elses.
I never said Twitter had no right to free speech. You clearly misunderstood my definition of free speech. Free speech is allowing both sides to speak and be heard. What you're saying is Twitter's right to free speech comes at denying me my right to free speech. WOW.

When you position yourself as an open and free-thinking outlet for sharing thoughts and opinions and you only allow those opinions that you agree with, then you are not about being open or inclusive or anything but biased. That is not free speech.

And let me just add, if you edit, delete, censor and disallow content on your site, you are now the editor/publisher and should be liable for any misinformation that is published there. Every one of these sites is fighting that daily, because if they are held accountable some of them are going to get their pants sued off.
 

Beerfloat

Posts: 497   +938
Censorship is good because I'm tired of watching stories that I don't like on the news. 🤔
Twitter can't censor anyone. It's not like they can prevent Trump from speaking. Or say, posting his 'from the desk of' nonsense. Or hosting his demented rallies.

All they can do is curate their feed. And in this case, it has really improved the signal to noise ratio!
 

waclark

Posts: 318   +210
Twitter can't censor anyone. It's not like they can prevent Trump from speaking in any way. Or say, hosting his demented rallies.

All they can do is curate their feed. And in this case, it has really improved the signal to noise ratio!
That logic won't fly. It's like saying, I can't discriminate against someone of color eating at my lunch counter, they can go eat in a lot of other places.

Yes, a politician might hold a rally anywhere they want but if that's not in my local area I may not be able to hear what they are saying. Hence, why outlets like Twitter, Facebook, etc al are useful. But only in so much as they allow a free flow of discussion. If you didn't want to read Trump's tweets you didn't have to subscribe to his channel. It's not like they were forcing them on you.
 

Beerfloat

Posts: 497   +938
Whose free speech are they trampling on?
As much as I sympathize with your concern, tbh, not anybody's.

Yelp's platform, you don't have to use it, it may be popular (I dunno, I've honestly never used it) but it doesn't have any special responsibilities like the government does.
 

waclark

Posts: 318   +210
As much as I sympathize with your concern, tbh, not anybody's.

Yelp's platform, you don't have to use it, it may be popular (I dunno, I've honestly never used it) but it doesn't have any special responsibilities like the government does.
No, you're wrong about Yelp. If I wanted my restaurant info purged from Yelp, I cannot do that. Sure, make it opt in or opt out and I agree. But it's not that way, and frankly it's not right.

Yes, I agree that it's not the same as the government. I think I pointed that out in a prior post. But, when we are talking about Twitter/Yelp, we are not talking about the 1st Amendment. What we are talking about is an inalienable right to speak freely and yes, with whatever consequences come with that. Having your voice suppressed, by anyone, is wrong. It may be "legal" but it's still wrong.
 

Beerfloat

Posts: 497   +938
That logic won't fly. It's like saying, I can't discriminate against someone of color eating at my lunch counter, they can go eat in a lot of other places.

Yes, a politician might hold a rally anywhere they want but if that's not in my local area I may not be able to hear what they are saying. Hence, why outlets like Twitter, Facebook, etc al are useful. But only in so much as they allow a free flow of discussion. If you didn't want to read Trump's tweets you didn't have to subscribe to his channel. It's not like they were forcing them on you.
Ok well first of all none of this is comparable to an innate trait like race.

But really, at the end of the day the only one to blame here is Trump himself. Twitter's house rules are there for all to read, and he'd still be on there spouting nonsense if he'd only just managed to follow them. But he figured rules were beneath him, despite repeated warnings, so here we are.

And once Musk takes over, and he'll have actual responsibility instead of just shouting from the rafters, I think it is highly likely that some sort of three strikes system will remain after all is said and done. You practically have to have one to manage something like this.
 

AlaskaGuy

Posts: 254   +180
Twitter can't censor anyone. It's not like they can prevent Trump from speaking. Or say, posting his 'from the desk of' nonsense. Or hosting his demented rallies.

All they can do is curate their feed. And in this case, it has really improved the signal to noise ratio!
🤔
 

Kirby1

Posts: 156   +256
I never said Twitter had no right to free speech. You clearly misunderstood my definition of free speech. Free speech is allowing both sides to speak and be heard. What you're saying is Twitter's right to free speech comes at denying me my right to free speech. WOW.

When you position yourself as an open and free-thinking outlet for sharing thoughts and opinions and you only allow those opinions that you agree with, then you are not about being open or inclusive or anything but biased. That is not free speech.

And let me just add, if you edit, delete, censor and disallow content on your site, you are now the editor/publisher and should be liable for any misinformation that is published there. Every one of these sites is fighting that daily, because if they are held accountable some of them are going to get their pants sued off.
Twitters right to free speech absolutely means they have control over their own platform. The same way techspot can delete comments here when they violate tech spots rules. The fsct that you dont understand that is a clear sign that you're very ignorant.
 
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