What will Elon Musk do with Twitter? Blue ticks for all, open source algorithms and purging of bots


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Twitter on Monday night confirmed that it is going to sell itself to Elon Musk in a deal worth $44 billion. While it will take some time for the deal to close, Elon Musk is already talking about his plans for the social media site. These plans are the reiteration of what we have heard from Musk, who also happens to be the world’s richest person, in the last 10-odd days since he made his offer to buy Twitter.

Once the deal competes, which is supposed to happen by the end of 2022, Twitter will cease to exist as a publicly listed company. Instead, it will become a private company fully owned by Elon Musk. Only time will tell which way Twitter will go, but as far as Musk’s plan is concerned, he wants to turn it into a true town square where everyone can debate and say things without risking censorship or blocking.

At least that is what Musk says in his statement. Here is what he says, “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,” said Mr. Musk. “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”

Let’s parse this and simplify.

Free speech on Twitter: This is the ultimate goal of Elon Musk. He believes that everyone should be able to say what they want to say on Twitter without running into censorship or block. Although, previously he did qualify that by free speech he meant everything that was legal. If Musk goes ahead with his plan to uphold a sort of absolute free speech on Twitter, the result may end up interesting. The world in the last 10 years has seen that already on social media there is way too much free speech, allowing people to spread misinformation, hate and abuse. So, it will be interesting to see how Musk will balance free speech with the concerns a lot of Twitter users or governments might have.

Defeat for bots: It is well known that Twitter has millions of bot accounts. Musk believes that he can get rid of these bots by using advanced AI techniques to identify them. The challenge, however, would be to differentiate between real bots and Twitter users who act like bots. For example, many Twitter users copy-paste tweets from other users, or simply behave like they are part of a herd. It may prove challenging for Musk to identify such users and not purge them along with bots.

Blue ticks for all: Apart from getting rid of bot, Musk also plans to authenticate ALL human users of Twitter. Effectively this means that everyone on Twitter will have the Blue Tick of authentication if Musk can carry out his plan.

Open-source algorithms: And finally, Musk is intending to focus on transparency. He believes that Twitter is an important part of life in our world and current times and it needs to be transparent in how it handles the content its users generate. In other words, Musk wants the world to see and know how Twitter ranks different tweets in a time, how it distributes the content to other users, how some tweets spread far and wide while some don’t go anywhere, and what are the factors that may increase or reduce the visibility of a tweet or a user. Musk says that the code which covers all of this should be out in the open. This is an audacious promise! Whether it comes true or not, only time will tell.

Read the full article at: indiatoday.in


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