Three predictions for Twitter under Elon Musk

Three predictions for Twitter under Elon Musk. By David Swan.

Donald Trump returns:

Twitter was a core plank of Trump’s successful election strategy in 2016, in which he bypassed the mainstream media and still dominated daily headlines, before he was eventually kicked off last year following the January 6 Capitol riots for breaching the company’s ‘glorification of violence’ policies.

Trump has told Fox News on Tuesday he will be sticking with Truth Social, but the truth is that his reach on that platform is minimal compared to the 89 million Twitter followers his @realdonaldtrump account had when it was permanently suspended.

A return to Twitter will be crucial to Trump’s 2024 election strategy, and will prove a real initial test of Musk’s commitment to free speech and open debate.

And let’s face it, the platform has been far less interesting without ‘covfefe’ and daily screeds about losers and haters. …

Free speech flourishes:

Elon Musk has made free speech the big selling point of his shock bid for Twitter, and has complained for years about perceived censorship on the platform.

The executive, who infamously called one of the Thai rescue divers a ‘pedo’ on Twitter and has consistently won both praise and heavy criticism for his own use of the platform, says he hopes his “worst critics” continue to use the platform.

“That is what free speech means,” he wrote. “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.”

Expect user numbers to grow as a result. Twitter for years has been remained a relatively niche platform globally — a place used heavily by journalists and insiders but by no means a vital place for the majority of the population to spend their time — but under Musk Twitter should become the relevant ‘digital town square’ it always should have been. …

Twitter’s thousands-strong army of content moderators will also be given a mandate to loosen up, while expect many of the company’s most progressive employees to depart entirely.

Any shift towards more free speech will still require a heavy amount of technological work to make sure spammers and scammers are unable to thrive, given no one wants their feeds to be populated by ads for Viagra or Russian spambots. Musk himself has promised he will “defeat the spam bots or die trying” and “authenticate all real humans”. …

And yes, Twitter will also finally deploy an ‘edit’ button.

Twitter instantly becomes more relevant and more valuable under Musk, and that will have a ripple effect on its biggest competitors, chiefly Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook backs down from the metaverse:

Twitter instantly becomes more relevant and more valuable under Musk, and that will have a ripple effect on its biggest competitors, chiefly Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram.

Finally, Musk is promising to make the algorithm code open to the public: