As Musk purchase looms, Twitter searches for its soul - Business News

As Musk purchase looms, Twitter searches for its soul – Business News

Toxic sink. Lifeline. Finger on the pulse of the world. Twitter is all of these things and more to its 217 million users worldwide – politicians, journalists, activists, celebrities, strangers, mores, cat and dog lovers, and anyone else with an internet connection.

For Elon Musk, the ultimate troll and perhaps the most prolific user whose purchase of the company is on increasingly precarious ground, Twitter is a “de facto city square” in dire need of a liberal makeover.

Whether and how the takeover will happen is anyone’s guess. On Friday, Musk declared the deal “on hold,” while tweeting that he remains “committed” to it. Earlier in the week, the billionaire CEO of Tesla said he would rescind a ban on the platform for President Donald Trump if the purchase goes through. On the same day, he also said he supported a new EU law aimed at protecting social media users from harmful content. Meanwhile, Twitter’s current CEO fired two senior managers on Thursday.

All told, it’s been a few weeks on Twitter. One thing is for sure: turmoil will continue inside and outside the company.

“Twitter at its highest has always been a mess. This, he says, is in the DNA of Twitter,” says Leslie Miley, former director of Twitter engineering.

“what people think”

Since its debut in 2007 as an unranked “microblogging service” at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, Twitter has long gone beyond its weight.

While its competitors count their users in the billions, it has remained small, frustrating Wall Street and making it easy for Musk to pounce on an offer its board of directors couldn’t refuse.

But Twitter also has an unrivaled influence on news, politics, and society thanks to its public nature, simple, largely text-based interface and sense of temporality.

“It’s a whole lot of eloquent self-expression simmering with whimsy, narcissism, voyeurism, voyeurism, boredom, and sometimes useful information,” AP technology writer Michael Lidtke wrote in a 2009 story about the company. Twitter had 27 employees at the time, and its most famous user was Barack Obama.

Today, the San Francisco icon employs 7,500 people. Obama remains the most famous account holder, followed by pop stars Justin Bieber and Katy Perry (Musk is #6). Twitter’s rise to the mainstream can be chronicled through global events, such as wars, terrorist attacks, the Arab Spring, the #MeToo movement, and other pivotal moments in our collective history played out in real time on the platform.

Twitter often attracts thinkers. People who think about things tend to be drawn to the text-based platform. It is full of journalists. So Twitter is both a reflection and a driver of what people think,” says OnlyFans writer, editor and creator Kathy Resnowitz, who has been on Twitter since 2010 and has over 18,000 followers.

She finds her great at discovering people and ideas and getting others to discover her writing and ideas. That is why she remained all these years, despite the harassment and death threats she received on the platform.

Twitter users in academia, in niche fields, those with peculiar interests, small and large subcultures, grassroots activists, researchers and a host of others flock to the platform. why? Because at its best, it promises an open and free exchange of facts and ideas, where knowledge is shared, discussed, and questioned.

And those subcultures – it’s massive. There is Black Twitter, feminist Twitter, baseball Twitter, Japanese cat Twitter, ER nurse Twitter, etc.

says Brooke Erin Duffy, a professor at Cornell University who studies social media.

The dark side

On the other side of Twitter’s velocity, the public, open, and 280-character (once 140-character) nature is the perfect recipe for heightened emotion — especially anger.

Says Steve Phillips, a former New York Mets general manager who is now hosting a show on MLB Network Radio.

But there’s also the massive, dark part of Twitter. This is the Twitter of Nazis, crazed trolls, conspiracy theorists and nation states that fund massive networks to influence elections.

Jaime Longoria, director of research and training for the nonprofit Disinfo Defense League, says Musk’s purchase of Twitter jeopardizes a platform that many experts believe has done a better job of curbing harmful content than its competitors.

“We’re watching and waiting,” Longoria says. “The Twitter we know is probably gone.”

In a series of tweets in 2018, then-CEO Jack Dorsey said the company was committed to “collective health, openness, civility in public conversation, and holding ourselves publicly accountable for progress.”

Twitter, led by the Trust and Security team, has worked to make things better. It has enacted new policies, labeled false information, and fired repeat violators of its rules against hate, incitement to violence and other harmful activities. By surprise, things are starting to improve, at least in the United States and Western Europe.

But outside Western democracies, not much has changed when it comes to cracking down on hate and disinformation.

There is a lot of hate on Twitter, especially directed against minorities. So there is always an ongoing battle to get Twitter to crack down on hate speech, often violent hate speech and fake news,” says Shoaib Daniel, Associate Editor of Indian news website Scroll.

Daniel says Musk’s tyranny of free speech makes no sense in India because there weren’t many restrictions on speech on the platform to begin with.

“It’s full of hate anyway,” he says. And Twitter hasn’t done much about it. So let’s see where it goes.” Which, given the mercurial nature of musk, could be almost any direction at all.

2022-05-14 15:46:00

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