Musk takes over Twitter and faces social media crash course

Elon Musk, the recently appointed owner of Twitter and self-described “free speech absolutist,” is going to receive a crash course in international content management.

Elon Musk, the recently appointed owner of Twitter and self-described “free speech absolutist,” is going to receive a crash course in international content management.

After completing his $44 billion takeover on Thursday, one of his first actions was to fire the social media platform’s senior executives, including Vijaya Gadde, who was in charge of trust and safety.

Additionally, he tweeted a reassuring message to hesitant advertisers, telling them that he wouldn’t permit Twitter to turn into a “free-for-all hellscape.”

The issue is that nobody can have it both ways, not even the richest man in the world.

Sites that allow “free expression” but are only lightly controlled, like Parler and Gab, serve as warning signs of what can happen when the guardrails are removed. Conservatives and libertarians who are dissatisfied with what they perceive as restriction of their beliefs on mainstream platforms like Facebook frequently visit these small, niche websites. They also contain many extremist content, such as demands for violence and Nazi imagery.

Following Musk’s takeover on Friday, some conservative figures leaped on Twitter to repost long-debunked conspiracies in an apparent attempt to determine if the site’s restrictions against spreading false information were still being followed.

GM announced on Friday that it would suspend its Twitter advertising while it considers Musk’s plans for the site. However, according to Lou Paskalis, a former head of media for Bank of America, many Fortune 100 corporations are among Twitter’s most devoted advertisers and are likely to stick around until “some very nasty things” occur.

But more than just commercials and humor are in jeopardy.

According to Eddie Perez, a former civic integrity team leader, musk appears to view Twitter as a digital public square where everyone has an equal say. Perez described it as a “cute concept of the contemporary town plaza.”

However, that’s not how the main social networking sites operate. Instead, they have evolved into potent instruments of asymmetric warfare. Many of their users are unaware that they are being duped by foreign states and nefarious domestic players, many of whom are well-resourced.

Paul Barrett, deputy director of the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights, stated: “The danger here is that in the name of ‘free speech,’ Musk will turn back the clock and make Twitter into a more potent engine of hatred, divisiveness, and false information about elections, public health policy, and international affairs.

Musk said on Friday that no decisions on content or reinstatements will be made until a “content moderation council” is established. This is despite the fact that it had been expected that he would restore banned accounts, including those of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. He stated that the council would include “various opinions,” but he did not provide any further information.

As a result, experts have expressed grave concerns about Musk’s efforts because the Tesla CEO has little experience navigating the temperamental and geopolitical world of social media, even though he is a consistent and enormously popular user of the site he just bought. Musk may be starting from scratch, but Twitter has spent years building up its content moderation system, which is still far from perfect.

Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s head of legal policy, trust, and safety, “was trying, however imperfectly, to keep the site from spreading even more damaging stuff than it is,” Barrett said. “I am most concerned about Musk’s decision to hastily fire Vijaya Gadde,” Barrett said.

The forthcoming elections in Brazil, the U.S., and other countries have increased interest in whether he will let some prominent conservative figures who were banned from Twitter return.

In response to a conservative political podcaster who claimed that the platform favors liberals and covertly downgrades conservative viewpoints, Musk tweeted early on Friday, “I will be digging in more today.”

Donald Trump, the former president, who was a frequent tweeter before being blocked, tweeted on Friday that he was “extremely delighted that Twitter is back in reasonable hands,” but he also touted his own social media website, Truth Social, which he started after being barred from the more popular platform.

Two days after the Jan. 6 attacks, Trump was banned for a pair of tweets that the business claimed raised concerns about the safety of the presidential inauguration that Trump claimed he would not be attending and continued to create questions about the validity of the election.

Another priority for Musk is to fulfill his commitment to remove the “spam bots”—fake profiles—that have bothered him and Twitter ever since he first indicated an interest in buying the company. The bot count is important because advertisers, Twitter’s main source of income, want to know roughly how many actual people their ads are reaching. In the fight against bad actors assembling an army of accounts to spread false information or harass political rivals, it’s crucial as well.

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