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A Have a look at All of the Adjustments Applied by Elon Musk at Twitter in his Time as Chief Twit

A Look at All the Changes Implemented by Elon Musk at Twitter in his Time as Chief Twit

It’s been simply over 50 days since Elon Musk lugged a sink into Twitter HQ for his first day in his new function as proprietor of the platform, and since then, we’ve seen varied coverage modifications, workers cuts, exposes of inner paperwork, and extra.

However now, we could also be on the finish of the Elon as ‘Chief Twit’ experiment, with Musk tweeting out this ballot on Sunday afternoon:

The outcomes haven’t gone in Musk’s favor, and he has, so far, caught to his phrase on abiding by ballot outcomes.

Which begs the query, ‘what has Elon truly performed, in a coverage sense, at Twitter?’

Elon’s been very eager to tout his view on ‘free speech’, and the way the platform, underneath his possession, will permit extra sorts of feedback and content material.

However will it? Has he truly modified something to make Twitter extra open?

Right here’s a glance again at all the main bulletins and coverage updates which were carried out so far by Elon and his Twitter 2.0 group.

1. Paid verification

Musk’s first large announcement, in fact, was his paid verification plan, by means of which individuals will be capable of pay $8 per 30 days to get a blue checkmark, to allow them to digitally cosplay as celebrities within the app.

Musk initially wanted to charge $20 per month, earlier than realizing that was too excessive for regular people who don’t have billions of {dollars} in discretionary spend. So he lowered it to $8, or $96 every year to maintain your blue tick – although iOS subscribers have to pay $11 per month as a result of Elon doesn’t need to pay Apple’s 30% in-app buy tax out of his personal pocket.

Look, it is a pretty flawed, self-serving scheme, which presents little of worth for customers, and quite a lot of worth for Twitter, when it comes to direct income, and as some technique of verifying human customers (as a result of, at the very least in idea, bots can’t pay). Musk has needed to revise this system to counter impersonation scams, which took off as soon as it was launched, however even now, there’s not quite a lot of cause for individuals to pay up – particularly when most users don’t ever tweet, so the advantages, for almost all, actually aren’t well worth the cash.

However some individuals pays, and Elon’s engaged on extra incentives, like precedence itemizing of replies and in search (once more, irrelevant in the event you don’t tweet), whereas he’s additionally flagged a new system by means of which paying subscribers will be capable of downvote different accounts, with a view to decrease their tweet publicity.

Once more, Elon’s greatest followers pays, as will those that’ve been determined for a blue checkmark since ceaselessly.

Will that be sufficient to generate important earnings or worth from this system?

Actually, I doubt it, and Twitter’s most up-to-date makes an attempt to limit customers from posting links to their Mastodon accounts seemingly counsel that Twitter Blue take-up hasn’t been what Elon anticipated or hoped. 

However we’ll quickly discover out, with Twitter Blue within the technique of being rolled out to extra areas.

2. Account reinstatements

A giant sign of his intentions to make Twitter extra free and open was Musk’s announcement that he would reinstate the profiles of users that had been previously banned from the app. Effectively, it was much less an announcement, and truly a ballot amongst customers, which has change into Musk’s go-to circuit-breaker for giant selections.

During the last month, Twitter has gone about re-instating some 60,000 accounts, belonging to those that had beforehand damaged the platform’s guidelines – as a result of Musk desires to begin off new, with a clear slate.

All of those profiles nonetheless need to play by the platform guidelines, however among the app’s greatest offenders of occasions previous are actually again and tweeting once more.

And about these guidelines…

3. Updating Twitter’s Guidelines and Rules

Right here’s the factor – for all of Musk’s discuss of updating Twitter’s method, and making the platform extra open to extra sorts of speech, Twitter itself has repeatedly advised advert companions that its insurance policies haven’t modified.

As Twitter shared in blog post on November 30th:

None of our insurance policies have modified. Our method to coverage enforcement will rely extra closely on de-amplification of violative content material: freedom of speech, however not freedom of attain.”

Once more, Twitter has not modified any of its insurance policies as but, and whereas Musk retains speaking about permitting extra speech, and pointing the finger at previous administration for his or her perceived bias, Twitter’s guidelines round content material, and what’s and isn’t allowed within the app, are precisely the identical.

Some have steered that Musk has taken stronger action against child sexual abuse material, although specialists say that those changed haven’t had much impact, whereas Twitter has additionally stopped enforcing its COVID misinformation policy, an space the place Musk has robust opinions.

However functionally, the Twitter you’re utilizing proper now’s no extra free or open than the one managed by Parag Agrawal on the identical time final yr.

Twitter is relying extra on automation, as a result of Musk cut a huge amount of its moderation staff, so there are seemingly extra errors in enforcement. However once more, as the principles are written, because the insurance policies are set, Elon Musk has performed nothing to replace Twitter’s method to what’s and isn’t allowed within the app.

Or he hadn’t, till final weekend.

4. No Doxxing

Elon Musk has, nevertheless, introduced one significant policy shift:

“When somebody shares a person’s stay location on Twitter, there may be an elevated danger of bodily hurt. Transferring ahead, we’ll take away Tweets that share this info, and accounts devoted to sharing another person’s stay location might be suspended.”

After an incident through which his younger son was confronted by a stalker, Elon determined to take decisive motion in opposition to any Twitter account that shares stay location data, with a view to keep away from potential hurt.

Twitter’s new rules state that customers can not share live location info of any type, ‘together with info shared on Twitter instantly or hyperlinks to Third-party URL(s) of journey routes’. Which, technically, guidelines out just about all live-streams, as you’d be sharing the stay location of anyone featured within the video.

Which may change into an issue within the case of civil unrest, and governments eager to eradicate detrimental protection attributable to such. Say, for instance, a consumer is sharing footage of protests in Hong Kong, and the Chinese language Authorities calls on Twitter to close the stream down attributable to this rule.

It’s not precisely what the replace is meant for, but it surely may very well be used on this means.

What’s most fascinating right here is the truth that Musk has drawn the road at private security. In Musk’s view, stay location info shouldn’t be shared, as a result of it may result in actual world hurt. Which most would agree with, and with that being the parameter, it’ll be fascinating to see if future coverage selections on the app are made with this in thoughts.

That, at core, is the important thing logic that Twitter’s moderation group has at all times labored from – ‘what are the possibilities of this tweet inflicting precise hurt in the actual world?’

Musk and Co. need to demonize Twitter’s past decisions, and body them as politically biased, but it surely’s fascinating to see that Musk is now coming round to seeing that base logic.

Perhaps that may shade his future modifications. In all probability not.

5. Banning Hyperlinks to Different Social Apps

Twitter additionally banned links to selected competing social platforms for a number of hours on Sunday, earlier than reversing course fairly rapidly attributable to large backlash.

This was dumb coverage, which Twitter seemingly acknowledged by eradicating all references to it fairly quick. Primarily, Twitter sought to ban all hyperlinks to Fb, Instagram, Mastodon, Fact Social, Tribel, Nostr and Submit.

Why these apps? Why not YouTube, or TikTok?

I am guessing its as a result of Elon noticed customers tweeting hyperlinks to those various platforms the place customers may comply with them, as they regarded to leap ship from Twitter. Mastodon is the obvious wrongdoer right here, however I am additionally guessing that Elon has been in touch with Meta, and that that assembly didn’t go effectively, therefore the inclusion of IG and Fb.

Nostr is a favorite of former Twitter chief Jack Dorsey, and Submit is just about a carbon copy of Twitter.

Why not YouTube? Effectively, YouTube’s father or mother firm, Google, may return hearth by refusing to index tweets in Google Search, which might be a giant drawback for Musk and Co.

Why not TikTok? Elon’s different firm, Tesla, is pretty reliant on the Chinese market.

Like Elon’s different modifications, this one appeared fairly shaded by private bias. And on condition that it was seemingly in violation of EU laws, and will have led to antitrust and different penalties, it is sensible for Twitter to maneuver on and faux that it by no means occurred.

And regardless of all of the noise, that’s truly it. Twitter hasn’t truly carried out many modifications in any respect – which is sensible whenever you additionally contemplate the workers cuts, and the influence these have had on the platform’s capability to function.

Twitter has hinted at ad-reduced and ad-free subscription tiers, it’s exploring longer tweets and longer video uploads. It’s accelerating the roll out Community Notes, as a way to offer extra, user-sourced perspective on divisive tweets, whereas it additionally works on new ad placement controls, whereas Musk has additionally hinted at bringing back Vine.  

However for all of the noise, for all of the media protection, for all of the dialogue that Musk has generated in his time as ‘Chief Twit’, he hasn’t truly modified something a lot. Like, in any respect.

Which as soon as once more underlines Elon’s true talent and energy – he’s very, excellent at producing media consideration, and basically proudly owning the media cycle, by means of simply his tweets.

Tesla has by no means had an promoting division because of this, as a result of they don’t want one, with Elon at all times in a position to exit, say one thing outlandish, and produce the media to him, like pigeons scrambling for scraps.

That could be Elon’s most beneficial trait, and for a social platform, which depends on getting individuals to return and listen to the most recent, that, at the very least in idea, may very well be very beneficial.

The problem for Elon then is that he must hold arising with controversial issues to say, with a view to hold triggering mass protection, bringing extra individuals to the app.

That could be working so far, however as Elon continues to stoke political division, and skirt the perimeters of social platform laws, it does look like, ultimately, it’ll come to a head.

Which can be why now is an efficient time for Elon to step away, if he does so, although regardless of him stepping again, that also does not imply he will not be accountable for the app. 

Elon taking a backseat is sensible, if he does it. And his previous historical past doesn’t counsel that he is overly nice at taking a extra passive function at his firms.

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