The Twitter Scramble of Musk: Does He Really Want to Learn How to Learn Free Speech? Investigating the Case against Musk in a U-turn
That’s all been publicly known and widely reported on over the past two years. The material shared by Musk paints a more vivid picture of the scramble inside Twitter to figure out what to do – but does not fundamentally alter that picture.
It shows Musk failed to live up to his promise of free speech. Musk has touted that he is a free speech maximalist and repeatedly said he would like to permit all legal speech. Free speech means that even my worst critics should stay on social networks, Musk once said.
But he also likes to taunt, occasionally with disastrous consequences. He’s being sued on claims that he touted the all-but-worthless dogecoin as part of a pyramid scheme. (Musk says he still supports it.) The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating him over Twitter, and previously sanctioned him over other market-manipulating tweets. The SEC and Musk reached an agreement on penalties.
Legal experts believed that the deal would be enforced in court. The legal battle would go to trial two weeks from now, but Musk kept his word and agreed to follow through with the deal. Musk’s attorneys tried to get a judge to stay the legal proceedings as the parties negotiated because they were worried that he could change his mind and close the deal.
Although Musk has suggested in public statements since he first questioned the deal in May that he could easily walk away from his $44 billion commitment, legal experts were not surprised by the U-turn.
The lack of new information coupled with the fact that Musk isn’t interested in telling the truth to the press, makes this a difficult situation to navigate. Instead of providing multiple news outlets with access to the documents and Twitter personnel, he has instead opted to exclusively share them with writers of his own choice. In this case, Musk has relied on a group of writers to cover the story, while keeping the raw materials locked away from the rest of the public. That has without question increased skepticism.
The material that came to light before the trial in Delaware’s Chancery Court didn’t lend much support to the argument. Miller says there’s no evidence that the claims are fraud, but that he knows his best claim is fraud. They need more cards to play.
Musk’s decision to fold may have been influenced by the trial that would damage him personally. The entrepreneur watched the internet chew over a tranche of his personal text messages with major figures in Silicon Valley last week. He faced a deposition this week that Miller believes would have been very embarrassing.
Twitter: What is Happening on the Site? How to Survive Misinformation, Abuse, and Disturb Social Media Under Musk
But more than professional utility ties me to the site. Twitter hooks people in much the same way slot machines do, with what experts call an “intermittent reinforcement schedule.” Most of the time, it’s repetitive and uninteresting, but occasionally, at random intervals, some compelling nugget will appear. Unpredictable rewards, as the behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner found with his research on rats and pigeons, are particularly good at generating compulsive behavior.
An anthropologist who writes about gambling machine designs said she hasn’t heard of engineers sitting around and creating a Skinner box. But that, she said, is essentially what they’ve built. It’s one reason people who should know better regularly self-destruct on the site — they can’t stay away.
“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,” he said in the official deal announcement.
Piazza believes that a rise in misinformation could be bad for a platform with mainstream appeal. The communities are flooded with pornography and are not really usable, says Piazza. “People will gravitate to other platforms.”
For a “keyhole view of what Twitter under Musk will look like,” just look at alternative platforms such as Parler, Gab and Truth Social that promise fewer restrictions on speech, said Angelo Carusone, president of the liberal nonprofit watchdog group Media Matters for America.
On those sites, he said, “the feature is the bug — where being able to say and do the kinds of things that are prohibited from more mainstream social media platforms is actually why everyone gravitates to them. And what we see there is that they are cauldrons of misinformation and abuse.”
The suspension of some accounts will be lifted next week as a gesture by Musk to welcome back some of the most abusive people on the site. The first moderation decision he made was after Musk ran an informal poll on his personal account and decided to unban Trump; the second is the reason he took over.
The accounts of several journalists who have covered Musk aggressively recently were permanently suspended, as well as those of CNN’s Donie O’ Sullivan. The account of progressive independent journalist was also banned.
The person urged Musk to hire “someone who has a savvy cultural/political view” to lead enforcement, suggesting “a Blake Masters type.” Masters is a Republican candidate for Senate in Arizona who has echoed false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him, because he has been endorsed by Trump.
Twitter Disbands: When Donald Trump Becomes Remorse on Twitter and How He Might Lose His Trust and Safety Funds
Allowing Trump and others to return could set a precedent for other social networks, including Meta-owned Facebook, which is considering whether to reinstate the former president when its own ban on him expires in January 2023.
The relationship between Musk and the man that Musk first invested in soured quickly after he was told that his criticisms of the platform were not helpful to him.
He made a deep cut to the company’s trust and safety workforce, which was focused on non-English languages. This week, Twitter disbanded its external Trust and Safety Council, some of whose members had come under online attack after Musk criticized them.
The billionaire has complained that the company is overstaffed for its size and has said that its costs outstrip revenues.
Advertisers are also monitoring the potential loss of Twitter users. Twitter is projected to lose 32 million users over the next two years, according to a forecast by Insider Intelligence, which cited technical issues and the return of accounts banned for offensive posts.
He may have little choice other than to look for other sources of revenue because of the weak state of the digital ad market and the changes he wants to make to content moderation.
Advertisers want to know that their ads aren’t going to be associated with extremists or other things that are not good for customers, according to Carusone.
Why Social Media Is Toxic for Women and Girls: Why We Can Reclaim It, and Why We Shouldn’t Let It Happen
As always, anyone’s guess what he meant. Musk told staff that the company should use the Chinese “super-app” of WeChat, basically anything you will use your phone to do.
Chinese-style super-apps haven’t caught on in the U.S., despite the fact that other American tech companies have tried this strategy.
An associate professor at the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at Hofstra University writes about issues affecting women and social media. Her book “This Feed Is on Fire: Why Social Media Is Toxic for Women and Girls — The book, and How we Can Reclaim It, will be published in the year 2041. The opinions expressed in this commentary are her own. Read more opinion on CNN.
The conservative social media company Parler announced on Monday that it is being purchased by Kanye West, who was temporarily suspended from Twitter this month for an antisemitic tweet. The parent company of Parler has described West as having taken a novel approach to free speech media where he will never have to worry about being removed from social media again, after legally changing his name to Ye.
In a release by Parler, West said that “in a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves.”
If West and Musk go through with their deals, the social media platforms are likely to be used for conservative thought. It is expected that this will increase the views of the people who are still on them, which could have a major impact on our politics. That’s because when people who think similarly come together, they reaffirm and heighten one another’s initial beliefs.
While men such as West, Musk and Trump claim to promote free speech by not favoring the moderation of problematic content, here’s what lack of moderation really does: It drives away the people victimized by abusive content such as West’s tweet.
When women become victims of online hate, they often refrain from engaging in online political commentary, take down websites they previously frequented and shut down their blogosphere.
In practice, what these so-called free speech policies really boil down to is an ugly form of censorship that scares away the voices of people who are attacked by users of these platforms.
West has already described Parler as a place where conservative views can flourish, and nonconservatives are unlikely to flock to Truth Social, given its association with Trump. If women, people of color and others start fleeing Twitter, that could leave it as a platform for conservatives as well. It would likely make their views even more ardent.
How do “Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, and What Can Be Done”? CNN Editor’s Note: In support of Ukraine, Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany questioned by Musk on Twitter
“When like-minded people get together, they often end up thinking a more extreme version of what they thought before they started to talk to one another,” Harvard University law professor Cass Sunstein writes in “On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, and What Can Be Done.” Sunstein says this happens because their exchanges heighten their preexisting beliefs and make them more confident.
He continued: “There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far right wing and far left wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society.”
We can also expect these male owners to use their platforms to amplify their own views — even when they’re sexist, misogynistic, racist or otherwise hateful.
Editor’s Note: Frida Ghitis, (@fridaghitis) a former CNN producer and correspondent, is a world affairs columnist. She is a weekly contributor to CNN, a columnist for The Washington Post, and a columnist for World Politics Review. The views that were expressed in this commentary are her own. View more opinion on CNN.
Musk needs a moment to think about what he believes. He seems to want to be a good man, but he doesn’t seem to know. Maybe that is what happens when you think you are the best at your job and assume that you are one of the best.
Nothing in Musk’s monumental series of business accomplishments suggest that he has any expertise to delve into the world’s most dangerous conflicts. But that doesn’t stop him. Musk has talked about the Russia-Ukraine war, Taiwan’s tensions with Beijing and other issues with self confidence, because he knows what he’s talking about.
But people who need a lot of attention make themselves vulnerable. Musk, not content to have the largest fortune, is being played by a master manipulator.
Reaction was swift. Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky shot back with his own Twitter poll, asking followers if they prefer the Musk who supports Ukraine or the one who supports Russia. More to the point, Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany responded, “F**k off…@elonmusk”
It suggested that Ukraine (and one assumes the world) accept Russian sovereignty over Crimea, that another referendum be held in Russia-annexed Ukrainian lands, this time under UN supervision (and despite Russian military occupation!), among other ideas.
There was a different twist to the much-scrutinized account. Ian Bremmer of the Eurasia Group said that Musk talked to Putin before he posted the message, but Musk denied it.
But the most telling analysis of the relationship between Musk and Putin – those two paragons of excessive self-confidence – came from Fiona Hill, once the top Russia hand in the US National Security Council.
She says that Putin plays egos of big men and gives them a sense they can play a role. They are only direct transmitters of messages from Vladimir Putin.
Putin was a former agent with the KGB and knows how to read people. Some images of Putin taking his black labrador to a meeting with a German Chancellor who was reportedly scared of dogs are unforgettable.
What Does SpaceX Have to Do With Musk? An Ego Trip to Beijing and Taiwan: Why Does Musk Make SpaceX so Profitable? A Brief Analysis of a Chinese-American Proposal
What does it have to do with Musk? A man who built thousands of electric cars and turned space flight into a profitable business is testing a different vehicle. This is an ego trip.
He made a proposal for resolving hostilities between Beijing and Taiwan in a Financial Times interview. Musk contemplated creating a special administrative zone for Taiwan that would be better than the one in Hong Kong. You remember, China promised “one country, two systems” for Hong Kong, but it broke its word and ruined Hong Kong’s freedom.
China was quick to give thanks and praise for the billionaire. Taiwan sells many products, but its freedom and democracy are not for sale, as stated by the envoy of Taiwan in Washington.
Perhaps it would not be right to say that the billionaire is a friend of dictators. Life is not Twitter, and in the real world the Starlink internet service made by Musk’s SpaceX has been an invaluable tool for Ukrainians fighting Putin’s invasion.
The presence of Starlink in that area has not been a charitable enterprise. Documents reviewed by the New York Times showed that much of the cost has been borne – paid to Starlink – by the US, the UK and Poland, who paid for 17,000 of the 20,000 terminals sent to Ukraine. Starlink donated 3,000 and Musk says SpaceX is covering the considerable monthly fees for service.
What Does Musk Want to Say About His Platform and How To Stop Putting Donald Trump On It? (Interview with Sarah Personette on Twitter)
Musk said to movely, “even so, we should still do good deeds.”
Despite his shenanigans, and even though he sometimes seems to act as a mischievous teenager, he likes to take himself seriously, thinking big thoughts about important topics. Some of his business ideas and their execution deserve the highest praise.
He said that he wanted to put Donald Trump back on the platform, because he was a free speech fundamentalist. Free speech in the complicating, fast-changing age of social media is one of the topics where experts say he lacks a serious understanding of the extraordinarily complex issues a major platform has to grapple with.
“In addition to adhering to the laws of the land, our platform must be warm and welcoming to all, where you can choose your desired experience according to your preferences,” he said in the Thursday post. “We aspire to be the most respected advertising platform in the world, that strengthens your brand and grows your enterprise, and let’s build something extraordinary together.”
Sarah Personette responded to Musk saying that she had a great conversation with him on Wednesday. Personette said that the commitment to brand safety for advertisers remained unchanged. Looking forward to the future!
The Wall Street Journal on Thursday reported that one ad buying agency had already received requests from about a dozen clients to pause their advertisements on Twitter if Musk restores Trump’s account, and other were considering doing the same.
After his first big move, Musk attempted to convince marketers that he was buying the platform to help humanity, not to become a free-for-all hellscape.
The world’s richest man, who just finished buying a company, led to massive layoffs and raised questions about if he would restore banned accounts.
Musk also pledged to “defeat the spam bots or die trying,” referring to the fake and scam accounts that are often especially active in the replies to his tweets and those of others with large followings on the platform.
Tesla CEO Musk’s Twitter Deal: “What’s gonna happen?'” Timing, the Times, and the Prospects for Ad Revenue
Delaware Chancery Court chancellor Kathaleen St. Judge McCormick gave the parties until 5 p.m. on Oct. 28 to close the deal or face a rescheduled trial.
Although they came quickly, the major personnel moves had been widely expected and almost certainly are the first of many major changes the mercurial Tesla CEO will make.
Over the weekend, Musk smeared Twitter’s former head of safety, Yoel Roth, who features prominently in the documents, with homophobic tropes common in anti-LGBTQ conspiracy theories. Musk attacked Dr. Anthony Fauci, who he claims will feature in future installments of theTwitter files, and also promoted a conspiracy theory about the COVID-19 Pandemic.
A professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School said that the note is a change in Musk’s position on free speech rights and how retweeting misinformation can be blocked.
But it’s also a realization that having no content moderation is bad for business, putting Twitter at risk of losing advertisers and subscribers, she said.
“You don’t want a place where consumer are bombarded with things that they don’t want to hear about and the platform takes no responsibility,” Yildirim said.
But Musk has been signaling that the deal is going through. He went into the company’s headquarters in San Francisco on Wednesday carrying a porcelain sink, and then changed his profile to say that he was chief twit.
And overnight the New York Stock Exchange notified investors that it will suspend trading in shares of Twitter before the opening bell Friday in anticipation of the company going private under Musk.
One of Musk’s earlier ideas was that the building should be used as a homeless shelter because most of the employees didn’t work there.
Thursday’s note to advertisers shows a new emphasis on ad revenue, especially a need for targeted ads that are related to the user and their personal information.
Amennessing Musk with Blue Checks Does Not Imply Real Reasons, but It Does Prevent Misleading Social Media Scenarios
Friedersdorf goes on to argue that Musk’s journalistic critics should give him more benefit of the doubt; after all, he did ban Kanye West, he refused to reinstate Alex Jones, he’s right that Twitter helped suppress the story about Hunter Biden’s laptop that later turned out to be at least partly true, and maybe his idea of amnesty for suspended accounts is not such a bad way to reset the clock and rebuild overall trust in the platform. I don’t think that strays from both-sides-ism and misses the point.
A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. Sign up here for the daily digest chronicling the evolving media landscape.
It has been proven that Musk has made the information environment he now reigns over contaminated, as well as the fact that he is trying to dismantle the little infrastructure set up to help users sift through the chaos. Recent reports indicate that he plans to take away the blue verified badges of public figures and institutions if they do not pay.
Charging for verified badges might appear at first glance as a business story. The move will have a significant effect on the information landscape. Most notably, it will make it much more difficult for users to distinguish from authentic and inauthentic accounts.
Even though many conservatives have blue badges, the right still views blue checks as being out of touch with reality, and they have been lashing them out for years. Taking away the free blue checks will be a delight for some conservatives.
Twitter, the digital town square, and Elon Musk’s commitment to freedom: a critical appraisal of the democratization of the Democratic Republic of Congo
The best thing one can do to save social networks, the internet, civil discourse, democracy, email, and reduce hacking would be to authenticating users, said Walter Isaacson, Musk’s authorized biographer.
It’s unclear whether VP of Operations Lindsey Iannucci, the other two members of Twitter’s top leadership team, will remain with the company. Twitter did not respond to a request for comment about the current employment status of Caldwell, Sullivan, Berland and Iannucci.
Two investors, including a general partner of an internet investment firm, have confirmed on the social networking website that they are working with Musk to manage the business and come up with new products.
Calacanis earlier this week tweeted that he was in New York on behalf of Twitter meeting with “the marketing and advertising community.” He has also tweeted questions to Twitter users about the platform’s subscription and bookmark features.
The new Twitter owner has said he plans to establish a new content moderation council, comprised of “representatives with widely divergent views” to help determine Twitter’s policies. For now, he has stressed that the platform’s policies have not yet changed.
When billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk completed his purchase of Twitter and pledged that “the bird is freed” last week, Felix Ndahinda saw a threat rising on the horizon.
To Ndahinda, however, it is clear that the normalization of hate speech and conspiracy theories on social media could have contributed to violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, even if academics have not yet been able to delineate its contribution clearly. “It is very difficult to work out the link between violence and a message on the phone,” says Ndahinda. We have people making public statements to commit crimes, and then later they commit crimes.
The future of the platform, which was referred to as a digital town square, raised a number of questions with the bannings. It also called into question Musk’s commitment to free speech.
It would be difficult to enforce the restrictions on Twitter’s millions of users around the world if accounts were temporarily suspended for including banned websites in their profile. Not only links but attempts to bypass the ban by spelling out “instagram dot com” could have led to a suspension, the company said.
Normally, these platforms are where false narratives start, says Stringhini. When those narratives creep onto mainstream platforms such as Twitter or Facebook, they explode. “They get pushed on Twitter and go out of control because everybody sees them and journalists cover them,” he says.
James Piazza, who is studying terrorism at Pennsylvania State University, says that he is scared when he sees the people on social media use inflammatory speech that dehumanizes people. There is a situation where you can have more violence.
Before and after Musk became the owner of the company, the Digital Planet group tracked hate speech on the micro-messaging platform. The firehose is a data stream that the platform provides that is a feed of every public retweet, and reply shared across the platform. The group has used the same approach in previous studies, including one looking at toxicity on Twitter around the US midterm elections.
Telling the Truth: Donald Trump, Covid PLANdemic and the other big pharma’s friends and sisters are out to make a difference
Big pharma created a plan to silence me, called Covid PLANdemic. She said that everybody tries to silence her. “Ma’am, please speak at a lower volume. I’m sorry, am I too loud for your precious intensive care unit? You are not sick!
“Hi. Oh my god, your profile is so funny. I love funny guys,” Schumer, dressed in a red dress, said as the bot. I was told I was a bot, which is crazy. I am a woman and I love funny guys like you. In fact, you should check out this website where me and some other girls hang out.”
But the most notable person to speak in front of the council: former president Donald Trump, played by James Austin Johnson. Trump had his account banned in 2021.
“Yes, we’ve all moved to Truth Social, and we love Truth Social. It’s very great,” Johnson’s Trump said. It’s also terrible. It’s very bad. Very, very bad. The phone screen crack and the Automatically draining of the Venmo is a little buggy.
The Private Jet of Musk, Kathy Griffin and Valerie Bertinelli: “Okey-dokey,” she tweeted on a social media platform
The account that tracked the location of the private jet of Musk was permanently suspended on Wednesday despite a promise from the social media company owner that he would not ban the account.
Comedian Kathy Griffin had her account suspended Sunday after she switched her screen name to Musk. She told a Bloomberg reporter that she had also used his profile photo.
It is unclear if all of the content moderators were let go. Lol,” Griffin joked afterward on Mastodon, an alternative social media platform where she set up an account last week.
Actor Valerie Bertinelli had similarly appropriated Musk’s screen name — posting a series of tweets in support of Democratic candidates on Saturday before switching back to her true name. “Okey-dokey. She said she had fun and that she made her point.
Blue Verification – A Proposal in the U.S. and Canada before the Staggering Spikes and the Higgs Boson
Before the stunt, Bertinelli noted the original purpose of the blue verification checkmark. The people whose identity was confirmed by the employees of the company were given free of charge. “It simply meant your identity was verified. The con artists would have a hard time pretending to be you.
It said the service would first be available in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. However, it was not available Sunday and there was no indication when it would go live. A Twitter employ, Esther Crawford, told The Associated Press it is coming “soon but it hasn’t launched yet.”
Tiny Talk Town: A Conversation with Musk about Twitter and the Politics of Upholding Democracy and Integrity in the Age of Co-opportunity
In Tiny Talk Town we don’t have to be here. We all know it. There are places on the internet that are worth a visit. But Twitter is unique, and its most fervent users are unlikely to leave en masse. Most of the reaction to Musk’s takeover aren’t that compelling,unless you’re a writer assigned to collate celebrityTweets. The smarter move might be a slow burn instead of a pyrotechnic exit—a thoughtful, considered approach to quitting Twitter without quitting Twitter. It’s not as if it’s quiet quitting for social media.
Yoel Roth, who resigned from the social media company in November, has in recent weeks faced a storm of attacks and threats of violence following the release of the so-called “Twitter Files” — internal Twitter communications that new owner Musk has released through journalists including Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss.
For Perez the matter at hand is more than the job losses that have decimated his former coworkers, and the ability for people to say what they want on social media. It’s about upholding and protecting democracy. “It’s not entirely clear to me—particularly in the political context—that Elon Musk fully understands the degree of social responsibility that rests on his shoulders, and the very real harm, political harm, political violence, and division that can come from social media platforms.”
“I really am concerned that it feels like the drama around corporate takeover is sucking up all the oxygen in the room,” says Perez, who is now a board member at the OSET Institute, a nonpartisan group devoted to election security and integrity. That focus on the Musk psychodrama “is resulting in potentially inadequate attention on these election-related issues,” he adds.
“How he treats pressure from countries like Saudi Arabia and India—I think those are key indicators of where he’s going with the platform,” says David Kaye, former UN special rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression and clinical professor of law at the University of California, Irvine.
Twitter has long been banned in China. But it has been a gathering place in recent years for Chinese dissidents, human rights activists and overseas Chinese communities seeking to debate topics censored on the mainland.
In India, the third largest market, the company filed a case to contest the government order to remove individual pieces of content as well as whole accounts that the government considers a risk to India’s security or sovereignty.
Quitting isn’t doomscrolling: A simple and effective coping tactic to deal with the complexity and chaos of Twitter
A thought so deep it could have been from a fish-bowled dorm room, was the one Musk had in mind when he spoke last Thursday. In Tiny Talk Town, all the conversation is about Elon Musk.
In the workplace, quiet quitting is rejecting the burden of going above and beyond, no longer working overtime in a way that enriches your employer but depletes your own metaphorical coffers. On Twitter, it’s about not giving more to a platform than most people can expect to get back. If you don’t want to use it on yourself, you need to find a way to use something else.
It would be easy for an electric car magnate who follows many people who are very active on social networking sites to confuse his own experience with that of everyone else. It goes for journalists as well. Half of the users on the social network send less than five times a month, and most of their posts are replies. They check in on current events or live sports or celebrity news, and then they go about their lives. They are known as lurkers.
Lurking isn’t doomscrolling, a practice (and phrase) that took hold during the early days of the Covid pandemic, when many people found themselves stuck at home and grasping at info on social media. Choosing to lurk, to sit back and observe for a while, is basically a heuristic and simplistic approach to dealing with the complexity and chaos that is New Twitter. Close your app or browser tab if you check in on Musk’s new toy. Don’t bother with a post, then disengage. One must keep an eye on it during basketball games. Use DMs if you have to, then direct those message threads elsewhere. Save your most original thoughts for another time, another place.
In the past week alone, an influential social network laid off half its workforce, had major changes to its product and experience, and saw an exodus of senior executives.
Musk’s Twitter Files: Muzzled Conservatives vs. Censorship in the Presence of Impersonation
The menu option to sign up for the paid subscription service, which was only offered in a few places on the website, suddenly vanished from the app two days after its official launch. It was not immediately clear when the offering would be restored.
Hours after the gray badges launched on Wednesday as a way to help users differentiate legitimate celebrity and branded accounts from accounts that had merely paid for a blue check mark, Musk abruptly tweeted that he had “killed” the feature, forcing subordinates to explain the reversal.
The account’s very next tweet, a day and nine hours later, said exactly the opposite: “To combat impersonation, we’ve added an ‘Official’ label to some accounts.”
The paid verification feature’s rocky rollout attracted widespread criticism from misinformation experts who had warned it would make identifying trustworthy information much more difficult, particularly in the critical period following the US midterm elections. Even some of Musk’s fellow high-powered users of the platform had tough feedback.
elonmusk from oneentrepreneur to another, for when you have customer service hat on. Mark Cuban said that he spent enough time muting all the checkmarks in an attempt to make them useful again.
In a Twitter Spaces event held for advertisers this week, Musk pleaded with brands to keep using the platform, after a growing number of companies paused ads, causing what Musk previously described as a “massive drop in revenue.” Musk appeared to accept responsibility for the company’s performance.
Requests for comment were not responded to by the two companies. In December, Mr. Musk acknowledged the visibility restrictions on some users and announced plans to improve Twitter’s transparency on the issue.
Musk and his allies promote these tweet threads – dubbed the “Twitter Files” – as bombshell revelations proving that Twitter intentionally muzzled conservatives because of their political views. That’s a long-running claim by Republicans who are convinced social media companies censor them, despite ample evidence to the contrary. Twitter’s internal researchers, for example, have found its algorithms favor right-leaning political content.
He went ahead and did it even after his followers voted to give general amnesty to suspended accounts. The accounts of the tech journalists that he had suspended on Friday were restored after user votes.
The poll, which closed around 12:45 pm ET on Thursday, finished with 72.4% voting in favor of the proposition and 27.6% voting against. The poll garnered more than 3 million votes on Twitter.
Anatomy of the Twitter Files: The Case of the Musk-Mumford Decay and the Trump-President Debate
After the majority of users on the platform voiced their opinions about whether or not to let Donald Trump use his account, Musk went ahead and did so. The Latin word for ‘the voice of the people is the voice of God’ is .
The poll had a lot of people voting for unbanning accounts from a pool of 3 million votes. It is difficult to tell who voted, but it is worth noting that Musk spent a lot of time trying to get out of buying the service in the first place, and that he tried to get out of it more than once.
It will be possible for users to determine whether or not there is a limit to how many other users can see their posts if the new option is introduced. In doing so, Musk is effectively seizing on an issue that has been a rallying cry among some conservatives who claim the social network has suppressed or “shadowbanned” their content.
“Twitter is working on a software update that will show your true account status, so you know clearly if you’ve been shadowbanned, the reason why and how to appeal,” Musk tweeted on Thursday. He did not provide additional details or a timetable.
Over the past two weeks, Musk has been releasing internal documents to a handpicked group of journalists who are digging through them and posting excerpts on Twitter.
Most news organizations are not up in arms about the story because the releases have largely not contained any information that could make a difference. So far, the files have failed to do much outside highlight exactly how messy content moderation can be — especially when under immense pressure and dealing with the former President of the United States. That was the case on Monday when the fifth installment of the Twitter Files were released revealing some of the behind-the-scenes debate that preceded Donald Trump’s ban.
In both cases, the internal documents appear to have been provided directly to the journalists by Musk’s team. Musk responded to Weiss’ thread on Friday with a message that said, “TheTwitter Files, Part Duex!!” along with two popcorn emojis.
Trump is a hackmaster: Why we shouldn’t cover everything Trump says or tweet about the right-leaning figure in the newsroom, but how much do we know?
There are several examples of moderation actions taken against right-leaning figures, but it is not clear if moderation actions were equally taken against left-leaning or other accounts.
Twitter’s former head of trust and safety has fled his home due to an escalation in threats resulting from Elon Musk’s campaign of criticism against him, a person familiar with the matter told CNN on Monday.
Donald Trump was suspended from his account in 2021, as well as other sensitive issues, thanks to the position thatRoth held. Weiss posted a series of swastikas in which he claimed to show internal documents showingRoth and others discussing whether or not they should ban Trump from the platform.
He wrote on an Election Day in 2016 that they were going to fly over the states that voted for a racist.
I want to be clear about how I feel about Yoel, I have made some questionable postings and I want to be clear that I support him. My sense is that he has high integrity, and we are all entitled to our political beliefs,” Musk tweeted.
The documents themselves have shown less interest in the press than most organizations would have you believe. The right-wing media apparatus pushing the story has, naturally, asserted that the mum reaction is effectively because the mainstream press is made up of left-wing hacks who want to hide the truth from the public.
Gerard Baker, the conservative former top editor of The Wall Street Journal, wrote Monday: “The Twitter Files tell us nothing new. There isn’t any shocking revelations about government censorship or political manipulation. They bring to the surface the internal deliberations of a company dealing with complex issues in ways consistent with its values.
If you are just a regular person trying to make sense of things, it can be hard. The solution is not clear. On one hand, if newsrooms covered each installment, they risk giving air to and further amplifying a storyline that has been selectively framed by Musk as he wages an information war. On the other hand, not dissecting each drop allows him and others to define it in the public square.
Around the time Trump was inaugurated in 2017, I said to colleagues in the newsroom where I worked at the time that we shouldn’t cover everything he said or tweeted. The president’s every word was assumed to be a signal of future policy, and was reported as such before. Many things were said by Trump to get a rise out of people. Reporting on them, I argued, just fed the flames. Another editor pushed back. He said he was the president. He says what he wants to say.
Here, for instance, we saw a slew of rapid-response news stories about Musk’s tweet on December 11 that “My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci,” a dig at the government’s former chief infectious disease expert, as well as at gender diversity. There are more details about his photo with replica weapons on his bedside table, as well as a picture of him posting a meme of a frog.
This is how coverage of Trump was done. The liberal-leaning media were often drawn to stories confirming the belief that a person so clearly unfit to be president would only succeed in bringing himself (or the country) down in flames, while the right-wing media treated his evident egomania, corruption, and lack of interest in grasping basic policy issues or actually doing the job as at best irrelevant and at worst essential qualities for reforming Washington. There was plenty of good reporting going on at the same time, but these polarizing accounts tended to dominate the conversation. The public understanding of what was actually happening in the country was forced through incompatible narratives about the behavior of a man in the White House.
Twitter Files: How Tech Companies Learned to Embrace High-Stakes Politics with the Musk-Leagued New York Post
But many tech journalists, social media experts and former Twitter employees say Musk’s claims are over-hyped, given that the documents shared so far largely corroborate what is already known about the messy business of policing a large social network.
Renée DiResta, who studies how narratives spread on social networks, said that some people are confronted by high-stakes, unexpected events and trying to figure out what policies apply.
They’re a collection of internal emails and chats that shows employees talking about company policies. So far they’ve covered the decision to ban Trump, Twitter’s short-lived decision to block a news story in October 2020 drawn from material on Hunter Biden’s laptop, and how the company limits the reach of accounts that break its rules, including some well-known right-wing users.
Musk has given exclusive access to a small group of independent journalists including Matt Taibbi, formerly of Rolling Stone, and Bari Weiss, a former New York Times opinion columnist, under the condition they first post about the documents on Twitter.
The Twitter Files offer an interesting glimpse into the sausage-making of content moderation, but are not the bombshell Musk teased.
Take Twitter’s decision right before the 2020 presidential election to briefly block users from sharing a New York Post story alleging shady business dealings by then-candidate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, in Ukraine.
The article was based on files from Hunter Biden’s laptop, which the Post said it got from Trump’s private attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon. It was not certain if the material was authentic at the time. After the Russian hack and leak of Democratic National Committee emails, tech companies became jittery over the possibility of a repeat, which is why they decided to restrict the Post story.
The company warned anyone posting a link to the article that it was potentially harmful because of it’s rules against sharing hacked material. It also suspended the New York Post’s own Twitter account until it deleted its tweets about the story. The article alarmed Facebook, but it doesn’t go as far as the micro-blogging site. It allowed the link to be posted, but limited distribution of the post while the fact-checkers looked into the claims.
Twitter’s aggressive stance immediately created a huge backlash across the political spectrum. The company was slammed for taking a heavy-handed approach to a story that, while controversial, was being reported by a major news outlet, and for offering little justification for its decision. Within a couple of days the block was reversed and the policy on hacking changed. The company had made a mistake, said Jack Dorsey soon after.
There was no evidence that the government was involved in the blocking of the New York Post story.
“I continue to believe there was no intent to harm anyone, and everyone acted according to the best information available at the time,” he wrote. “Of course mistakes were made.”
He said he wished the internal files had been “released Wikileaks-style, with many more eyes and interpretations to consider.” He added: “There’s nothing to hide…only a lot to learn from.”
Elon Musk is Using the Twitter Files to Does and Push Conspiracy Theorem: a critical look at the attacks against Roth and his family
DiResta said there’s good reason to demand more insight into how social media companies operate. “Often these decisions are quite inscrutable,” she said. “These are platforms that shape public opinion, and so the question of how they’re moderated and how they’re designed is impactful.”
She said that to get the full picture, outsiders need more than just the “anecdotes” Musk’s selected journalists are sharing.
It would be helpful to see the discussions around other world leaders who have not been kicked off the platform, as this would better understand how the decision to ban Trump was made.
It’s worth noting that what you’ve revealed to the public isn’t value in itself, but rather it’s reinforcement of a perception based on your pre-existing opinions.
Framing the disclosures as secret knowledge plays particularly well on Twitter, said Mike Caulfield, a research scientist at the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public.
The threats against the men were violent. Roth and his family have been forced to flee their home, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The current attacks on my former colleagues could be dangerous and don’t solve anything. “If you want to blame me or my actions, direct it at me.”
One Trust and Safety Council member, who requested anonymity due to concerns of retaliation, said the CEO’s willingness to target people who work for the platform to keep users safe is creating a chilling effect.
With his recent flurry of releases on the Twitter Files, Musk has successfully hijacked the conversation.
The Whereabouts of Musk’s Private Jet, as Tweeted by Sweeney, in the Light of Twitter’s New Privacy and Safety Policy
“It is being processed as punitive and sort of owning the last regime, as opposed to saying, ‘Here are things that we can see in these files and here is how it’s going to be done differently under our watch,'” DiResta said.
Before he was suspended, O’Sullivan posted that the account of Mastodon, an emerging competitive social media service, had been temporarily suspended by Twitter, which allowed the posting of the location of Musk’s private jet.
The billionaire then offered Sweeney $5,000 to shut down the account. Sweeney wrote, “it would be great support in college and would possibly allow me to get a car, maybe even aTesla Model 3.” Musk said that it doesn’t feel right to shut this down.
Sweeney said he setup @ElonJet initially because he was a Musk fan. He said that it gives him another view of where Musk is going and could give him clues about what new business is going on.
Sweeney said he received an email from an anonymous person purporting to be a Twitter employee that included a screenshot showing an internal company message from Ella Irwin, Twitter’s new head of trust and safety, asking staff to “apple heavy VF to @elonjet immediately.”
According to the Internet Archive, the company added a clause to its private information and media policy that barred the sharing of live location data.
He changed his mind this week, after he said a car in which one of his sons was traveling wasaccosted by a crazy stalker. On Wednesday, Mr. Musk tweeted that any account that posted “real-time location info of anyone will be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation. This includes posting links to sites with real-time location info.”
Asked if he planned to comply with the new policy, Sweeney told CNN he would begin delaying posting the whereabouts of Musk’s jet for 24 hours, “but just on Twitter.”
Neither Musk nor Twitter responded to a request for comment Thursday evening, and the platform did not explain precisely why the journalists were exiled from the platform.
The practice of sharing someone’s home address or other personal information online is called doxxing. The banned account had instead used publicly available flight data, which remain online and accessible, to track Musk’s jet.
Then, over the weekend, The Washington Post’s Taylor Lorenz became the latest journalist to be temporarily banned. She said she was suspended after posting a message on Twitter tagging Musk and requesting an interview.
According to Harwell, Elon has banned journalists for exercising their free speech. I don’t think that warrants a question of his commitment.
The president of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) said in a statement it was “concerned” about the suspensions, and that the move “affects all journalists.”
But I’m not here to speculate on the true motives behind Sunday’s whiplash; I don’t think that’s helpful. After all, intention and impact are separate things. Regardless of someone’s intention when they hit you in the face, they’ve still hit you in the face. The situation they’ve created is something you have to deal with. My thoughts turn to the people who were impacted by the policy change. It was a Sunday when some people on the platform wondered if it would allow them to continue or if they would be forced to stop because they relied on it for income.
In addition to affecting Mastodon, the new policy had also covered links to Facebook, Instagram and Truth Social, and said users may be suspended for displaying their handles for any of those platforms in their Twitter profiles.
In a post on Substack, Rupar wrote that he is unsure why he was suspended. He said he did tweet on Wednesday a link to a Facebook page for the jet-tracking account.
The Free Press is a Digital Town Square: After Trump Has Come to Power, Twitter Has a Problem with the Free Press as a Social Media Platform,” said Sally Buzbee
A senior counsel at the advocacy group Free Press said that suspending journalists based on personal animus was a bad precedent.
“We will suspend any accounts that violate our privacy policies and puts other users at risk, but I won’t comment on specific user accounts,” he said. “We don’t make exceptions to this policy for journalists or any other accounts.”
“Freedom of the press cannot be switched on and off as you please,” Germany’s foreign ministry tweeted on Friday. “As of today these journalists are no longer able to follow us, to comment or criticize. We have a problem with that @Twitter.”
“The EU’s Digital Services Act requires respect of media freedom and fundamental rights. This is reinforced under our #MediaFreedomAct,” Jourová said in a post on Twitter, adding that Musk “should be aware of that.”
In late November, a European Union official warned Musk that he must take steps to comply with the bloc’s content moderation laws.
The bans also raise a number of serious questions about the future of the free press on Twitter, a platform that has been referred to as a digital town square. Will news and media organizations stay on the platform, despite Musk banning their reporters? Will they stop reporting on them? What is their content? How will major advertisers such as Apple and Amazon conduct themselves?
Sally Buzbee, Executive Editor of The Post, said that the suspension of Drew Harwell’s account undermines Musk’s claim that he intends to runTwitter as a platform dedicated to free speech. Harwell was removed from the social networking site without warning or explanation after he reported accurate information about Musk. We should immediately have our journalist back.
Weiss thought the company would not use the measures against other world leaders because it would show that Trump was treated unfairly. If Twitter had implemented its rules uniformly across the world, Trump’s ban would have extended to other leaders, too.
The employee with the organization that was a part of the trust council said that the relationship with India’s Narendra Modi was more important than the vulnerable communities in far away countries. The employee asked for anonymity because they are concerned their organization may be targeted by harassment and threats like those faced by former Twitter staffers.
There is a possibility that the discrepancy could be due to how different governments react to social platforms. After Twitter removed Buhari’s threatening tweet against Biafran separatists, the company was slapped with a ban. The company agreed to open a local office, pay local taxes, and register as a broadcaster in exchange for being allowed to impose a ban on Buhari. Legislation to regulate platforms is being considered by Nigeria.
The Mass Exodus from Twitter since Musk Takes Over: The Case of Linette Lopez, KVK, The Washington Post, and Freedom House
Kian Vesteinsson is a senior research analyst for tech and democracy at Freedom House and she says that access to markets is one of the calculation that goes into the trade-off against taking enforcement actions.
A healthy town square should also be a place where people can find reliable information. Before Musk took over, researchers at the university said that the refuting of hate and misinformation on social media was bigger than before.
It’s clear that we can’t rely on Musk’s Twitter to provide a safe, open forum. We need new, non-profit social networks run by boards responsible for considering the public’s interest when making critical decisions about things like content moderation and community standards. Many of the people who have these skills have just lost their jobs. In addition to the mass exodus from Twitter since Musk’s takeover, there have been layoffs at a number of tech and journalism companies lately, including Facebook and CNN, with more coming at The Washington Post. Some of these professionals should work together to create new social platforms designed to provide the truly open town hall we so desperately need.
Most of the accounts were back by early Saturday. One exception was Business Insider’s Linette Lopez, who was suspended after the other journalists, also with no explanation, she told The Associated Press.
Shortly before being suspended, she said she had posted court-related documents to Twitter that included a 2018 Musk email address. Lopez claimed that the address was not current because he changed his email frequently.
The Twitter-Spaces Paradox: A Red Flag in the Era of Journalism, Murder and Black Hate: A Reporter’s Call for Action
The move sets “a dangerous precedent at a time when journalists all over the world are facing censorship, physical threats and even worse,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
Another suspended journalist, Matt Binder of the technology news outlet Mashable, said he was banned Thursday night immediately after sharing a screenshot that O’Sullivan had posted before his own suspension.
The statement from the Los Angeles Police Department that was sent to several media outlets was about communication they had with Musk’s representatives.
He has promised to let free speech reign and has reinstated high-profile accounts that previously broke Twitter’s rules against hateful conduct or harmful misinformation. He has also said he would suppress negativity and hate by depriving some accounts of “freedom of reach.”
The old regime at Twitter was governed by its own biases and it appears that the new regime has the same problem, she said.
The platform’s structure would befundamentally changed if the suspensions lead to the exodus of media organizations that are active on it.
CBS briefly shut down its activity on Twitter in November due to “uncertainty” about new management, but media organizations have largely remained on the platform.
Journalists can now see what the main tent pole ofTwitter looks like, and they need to go after it. Driving journalists off of the social network is the biggest self-destructive wound I can think of.
Thesuspension may be the biggest red flag yet for advertisers, as some of them have already cut their spend on the platform due to uncertainty about Musk’s direction.
On Thursday night, Twitter’s Spaces conference chat went down shortly after Musk abruptly signed out of a session hosted by a journalist during which he had been questioned about the reporters’ ousting. Musk subsequently said that Spaces had been offline to deal with a bug. Late Friday, Spaces returned.
According to CNN, Rochko told them that a platform cannot continue to go viral forever. “The cycle of media news and attention on social media just simply goes away after awhile, but behind it leaves organic growth which is what we had before November and which we still have now.”
Elon Musk hasn’t been satisfied with the platform he chose to leave after his tweet suspended for three days on Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon and The Washington Post
Musk had on Thursday banned CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, The New York Times’ Ryan Mac, and The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell. Independent progressive journalist Aaron Rupar, former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, and Insider columnist Linette Lopez were also banned.
“The people have spoken,” Musk wrote Friday night after his poll, pledging to restore the accounts he had falsely accused of sharing his “exact real-time” location.
“It’s journalism,” Harwell wrote in his appeal, a copy of which was provided to CNN. He stated that his reply did not include a link to anyone’s private information.
Rupar told CNN that he had ultimately decided to simply remove the tweet and move on from the episode, though he described the whole affair as “kinda [sic] absurd obviously.”
News organizations, the American Civil Liberties Union, the United Nations, Democratic members of Congress, and others denounced the suspension of the journalists.
Elon Musk tweeted a poll Sunday evening asking people to vote on whether he should step down as Twitter’s CEO. Musk would abide by the results of the poll.
Replying to a tweet Sunday, in which MIT artificial intelligence researcher Lex Fridman said he would take the CEO job, Musk hinted he hasn’t been completely happy with his new gig.
The analyst said that an “inconsistent standards application” on social media helped create a “public backlash” against Musk that could hurt Musk’s company.
Muñoz says there’s an inherent conflict between Musk’s interest as a content creator on the platform and his ownership of the company that runs it and a similar conflict between his commercial pressures and his ownership of a “global public square.”
The banned platforms included mainstream websites such as Facebook and Instagram, and upstart rivals Mastodon, Tribel, Nostr, Post and former President Donald Trump’s Truth Social. The blacklist included some websites but not others, such as Parler, TikTok orLinkedin.
On Sunday, Paul Graham, a prominent venture capitalist who has praised Musk before, told his 1.5 million followers that it was the last straw and that he had to find him on Mastodon. Immediately after he was suspended from his account, Musk promised to reverse the policy he had just implemented.
Musk was questioned in court on Nov. 16 about how he splits his time among Tesla and his other companies, including SpaceX and Twitter. Musk had to testify in Delaware’s Court of Chancery over a shareholder’s challenge to Musk’s potentially $55 billion compensation plan as CEO of the electric car company.
In public banter with Twitter followers Sunday, Musk expressed pessimism about the prospects for a new CEO, saying that person “must like pain a lot” to run a company that “has been in the fast lane to bankruptcy.”
In a letter to Tesla
(TSLA) Chair Robyn Denholm, the Massachusetts Democrat argued Tesla (TSLA) shareholders may be hurt by its CEO’s ownership of Tesla (TSLA) and questioned whether the electric car maker’s board is doing enough to address the issues it poses.
Musk is the CEO ofTesla and so his ownership and management of a social network pose an increased risk to the company.
Warren stated that the board has legal obligations and asked for a response from the board by January 3.
A Wall Street analyst warned on Monday that the management of Musk’s social network, including the ban of multiple journalists, risks sparking a backlash from advertisers and consumers.
The most obvious candidates for a new leader at the company are the people who have helped run the organization since Musk’s takeover. The short list of people likely include the investor and Craftventure partner David Sacks.
Given Musk’s propensity for tweeting, and his rapid decisions after previous polls, many expected he would have addressed the elephant in the room by now. But he has not. Musk refrained from posting for 18 hours on Monday, after he spent most of the day conspicuously quiet.
The Evil Billionaire Attack Isn’t the Evil Maid Attack: How to Make a Platform Work for the Internet and Why Not the Blockchain
The evil maid attack is a type of information security vulnerability where an untrusted party can gain physical access to important hardware in your hotel room if you leave your laptop unattended. There is a new analog that is capable of damaging systems and leaking data. If you want, you can call it the evil billionaire attack. Money is the weapon that it is likely that when the moment arrives you wont have enough of it to make a difference. There is a call coming from the house.
The strategy works because most of the ideas are owned by people who have more money than you and so they use them to build up a network that makes the gravity inescapable. Founders and investors and excitable technology writers like myself frequently use the term “platform” to describe technical systems with granular components that can be used to compose new functionality, and the power sources propelling the technology industry find platforms particularly appealing when the bits can be monetized each time they are used.
It is worth noting that the early blogging engine that has grown into more elaborate general-purpose content management software is named “WPS”. It now powers about 40 percent of the open web, with which it is loosely synonymous. It has a huge economy with companies that develop websites, developers who work for those companies, and independent developers who work for themselves, many of them writing plugins which have licensing fees. This can be accomplished because the core is open source. There is a reasonable argument that it is long in the tooth because of the fact that it lost out to the social features of Twitter. Because it is not at risk, it is considered to be a bigger technical success.
This problem is fought on the deepest level possible by the dairies. It would be vastly more difficult, or perhaps impossible, for Musk to kill off a blockchain so long as a handful of users objected enough to continue operating independent nodes. Duplicating across many computers means the risk of losing access is infinitesimal; the blockchain is its own API. This comes with different complications, of course, but losing information outright due to a hostile party is not one of them. For example, when the Hic et Nunc marketplace for NFTs went under in late 2021, another version relaunched, putting a new wrapper around the same content. Interoperability is pushed almost like organic self- defense by the shared resource of the ledger.
Mastodon, Twitter Blue, and Musk’s Failure to Launch a Paid Verification Feature That Impersonated Athletic Accounts
We are excited to see Mastodon grow and become a household name in newsrooms, and we are committed to continuing to improve our software to face up to new challenges that come with rapid growth and increasing demand.
Mastodon was ranked 11 in the social networking category on Apple’s app store, and 8 in the free social networking category on the Play Store. Many third-party apps can be found on the platform beyond its own, because Mastoon is a undeficiency social network.
The Mastodon founder gave his first remarks since the link ban, and he highlighted the power of Musk as the owner and CEO of TWITTER.
It is a reminder that centralized platforms can put arbitrary limits on what you can and can’t say while holding your social graph hostage.
We at Free Press agree that Musk must step aside. Someone who understands that this social media platform will be successful only if it puts health and safety before the needs of a single rich person is hired is his replacement as CEO.
His amnesty to previously suspended accounts has given us the return of neo-Nazis like Andrew Anglin, right-wing activists like Laura Loomer and other figures who have spread hate to millions of followers.
With regard to reversals, Twitter’s potential new leadership needs to undo its decision to allow Covid-19 misinformation and disinformation to spread unchecked across the social network. The blue checkmark feature which allows verified users to post longer videos and have their content prioritized at the top of replies, mentions and searches needs to be retired. And they must cease Musk’s “general amnesty” plan on accounts that were suspended before he took over.
While it’s unclear how he would restrict voting to only those who pay for the company’s subscription service, such a change could dramatically reduce the number of Twitter users who could vote in polls. It would also skew those who can vote to the users who are willing to pay up for Twitter Blue, which includes the controversial paid verification feature Musk pushed to introduce. Musk’s Monday tweet immediately prompted comparisons to poll taxes.
Over a matter of days, Twitter launched, and then was forced to un-launch, a paid verification feature that was instantly manipulated by satirical accounts impersonating verified major brands, athletes and other public figures on the platform.
Many users were taken aback by the new policy, which said “free promotion” would no longer be allowed.
WIRED has written frequently of late about Elon Musk’s Twitter, so forgive me for coming back to it—but for those of us as terminally online as I am, let me just ask: What the hell happened last weekend?
I have a lot of friends who are creatives and journalists, as well as a lot of tech workers. When I got home on Sunday, I received a message from an artist who had been banned from the social networking site for linking their portfolios to platforms where they accept commission for their artwork. I read horror stories from authors who were terrified that the Linktrees their publishers asked them to create to promote their books, reviews, and Goodreads profiles were suddenly bannable offenses on Twitter.
When we at WIRED talk about “platforms and power,” this is what we’re talking about. Of course, any steward of any platform, whether it’s a CEO, founder, or middle manager, has the unenviable job of setting and enforcing the policies and guidelines for that platform’s safe and legal use. That is not up for debate. Online spaces can go bad fast if there are no rules. There is an issue if platforms choose to harm their users through policy decisions, and if the changes are large enough to force users to either adapt or abandon ship.
My friends on twitch stopped their streams to talk about the news, worried that they wouldn’t be able to announce that they were starting a new stream, or give viewers a link to their bio, if they weren’t able to do that on twitch. I think the potential for lost income was created by all of these things and people who need it more than the people who made the decisions. Everyone in Silicon Valley believes that these same creators have a spirit of entrepreneurialism that will benefit them.
Sarah Oh decided to join her friend in building a rival service after she lost her job as a human rights advisor at the micro-messaging company.
With Gabor Cselle, who previously worked at Twitter and Google, she launched T2, currently available in beta. Like Twitter, it offers a social feed of posts with 280-character limits. The main selling point is focused on safety, according to Oh.
“We really do want to create an experience that allows people to share what they want to share without fearing risk of things like abuse and harassment, and we feel like we’re really well positioned to deliver on that,” Oh told CNN.
The Case of Artifact, a Text-Based Twitter-Based Social Media Feed that Isn’t a Twitter Candidate
The list of newer entrants in the markets includes apps created by former Twitter employees, a startup backed by one of Musk’s Twitter investors, and a service from former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. While some apps like T2 strongly resemble Twitter, others take a different approach.
Artifact, which is a personalized news feed powered by artificial intelligence, was announced last month by the co-founding team of the photo sharing service, that quickly earned it comparisons to the micro-blogging service. It looked a lot like news reader applications, like Apple News or the now-goneGoogle Reader, when CNN tested it. Artifact displayed popular articles from large media organizations and smaller bloggers in a main feed, tailored to users based on their activity and selected interests.
But all of these apps appear to be vying for the opportunity to scratch the itch users may feel for a news feed that isn’t Twitter — at least for as long as that itch lasts.
“Something that we’ve heard a lot from people who are moving over from Twitter, either partially or fully, is that it is just for them a nicer experience overall,” said Jae Kaplan, co-founder of Anti Software Software club, the group that develops Cohost, a text-based social media feed similar to Twitter. The service launched publicly in June of last year, after Musk offered to buy Twitter. In November, after Musk completed the takeover, the platform saw a surge in activity, adding 80,000 users within 48 hours.
“People have been referring to us when they do as a Twitter alternative, which I think is an important distinction from a Twitter replacement,” Kaplan said.
These systems were once routinely monitored, with mistakes regularly addressed by staff. A team that fought influence operations, had 50 people at its peak and had three thirds in Asia, was cut to single digits in recent layoffs and departures. The division head for the Asia-Pacific region, whose responsibilities include the Chinese activist accounts, was laid off in January. Twitter’s resources dedicated to supervising content moderation for Chinese-language posts have been drastically reduced, the people said.
So when some Twitter systems recently failed to differentiate between a Chinese disinformation campaign and genuine accounts, that led to some accounts of Chinese activists and dissidents being difficult to find, the people said.
“It’s tough being a Twitter user nowadays,” said Jenn Takahashi, who runs the Twitter account @bestofdyingtwit, which has logged the platform’s shortcomings since Mr. Musk took the helm. She said she also has had difficulty seeing tweets from people she follows, with notifications “either delayed or sent twice,” and direct messages becoming cluttered with “so much spam.”
Gabriel Nicholas, a research fellow at the Center for Democracy & Technology, said non- English language moderation was a challenge for American social media companies because they lacked enough staff and relied on imperfect machine translations.
The Musk-Feedback: Why Should We Embrace a Technicolor? Explaining Musk’s Twitter Outburst
Musk tagged “@ here” in a chat to make sure that anyone online would see the issue. Please help solve the problem if anyone can make dashboards and write software. This is high urgency. If you’re willing to assist, please thumbs up this post.
The nature of the emergency became evident when engineers started to log on to their laptops. President Joe Biden had less engagement than Musk, who was the subject of the Super Bowl.
But Musk’s view counts still fluctuate widely. The bottle-feeding tweet got a reported 118.4 million impressions; his next one, a joke observation previously posted to Reddit and satirically attributed to Abraham Lincoln, got 49.9 million. Some of his social media postings had fewer than 8 million followers.
In the wake of those losses, the CEO of the company flew back to the Bay Area on Sunday night to demand answers from his team.
This is a power user multiplier that only applies to the man, we are told. The code allows a Musk account to flood the feed which is known as “For You” instead of using a system that would prevent it.
The people who opened the app Monday found that Musk dominated the feed with a dozen or more Musk replies, visible to everyone who followed him and millions who did not. According to one estimate, Musk has over 90 percent of his followers see histweets.
Some of his tweets Monday were sent while he was on calls with Twitter engineers, to test out whether the solutions they’d designed were working as well as he thought they should.
Musk suggested during the uproar that the changes would be walked back, at least in part. Stay updated while we make adjustments. He referred to it as analgorithm.
The artificial boosts applied to his account remain in place, although the factor is now lower than 1,000, we’re told. Musk’s handful of tweets Tuesday reported around 43 million impressions, which are on the high end of his recent average.
Absurd as Musk’s antics are, they also show a tension that almost anyone has used a social network for: why are some posts more popular than others. Why am I watching something that is not the same thing?
Engineers for services like TikTok and Instagram can offer partial, high-level answers to these questions. But ranking algorithms make predictions based on hundreds or thousands of signals, and deliver posts to millions of users, making it almost impossible for anyone to say with any degree of accuracy who sees what.
The main reason for this discrepancy is that people think sometweets are better than others. It doesn’t have to be like that: you can change the ranking Algorithms so that they show your posts, no matter what.
What the Modi Documentation Says about Musk and the Misuse of Twitter to Change Public Opinions in the United States and the UK
“He bought the company, made a point of showcasing what he believed was broken and manipulated under previous management, then turns around and manipulates the platform to force engagement on all users to hear only his voice,” said a current employee. “I think we’re past the point of believing that he actually wants what’s best for everyone here.”
For years, politicians and researchers working on the integrity of civic spaces have warned about the risks of social media platforms being used by their owners to change public opinion. The reported existence of a secret heating button on TikTok was greeted with breathless reporting that it could be used to promote Chinese interests in the West. Fears that the Chinese government might use the app to spy on or collect data from users have led to calls to ban TikTok in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Content on the Modi documentary speaks for my assumptions that he is dependent on foreign investment and raw materials, says Muoz. It’s unlikely that we’ll get hard evidence on who Musk talks to or what he’s asked to do, but we can look at the engagement on things that aren’t being talked about.