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Elon Musk’s Twitter plans are a huge can of worms

Twitter has accepted a bid from Tesla and SpaceX billionaire Elon Musk, leading to a day of debate over one question: how will Musk change Twitter? Musk’s plans are said to be a series of symbols and principles that may or may not be true to the pursuit, but they show possible goals and possible changes in their techniques – if at all.

Musk named it his priority in a press release, repeating it previous statements he made about potential changes. “Free speech is the foundation of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the platform for the digital city where important issues for the future of humanity are discussed,” he said. “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by promoting products with new features, developing open-source algorithms to increase trust, crack spam bots, and verify all human beings.”

In other words, it has four key ideas for unlocking Twitter capabilities, and each one is a huge worm. Let’s break it down one by one.

Free speech

Online speech is a minefield, and if Musk really aims for moderate Twitter around the world, he can expect major wars in countries that limit things like hate speech and false information. But Musk’s view of free speech does not seem to be very worrying about that. In an interview with TED, he indicated that Twitter should “comply with the laws of the land,” suggesting that it could continue to practice practices such as state locking certain things and following laws such as social media rules in India.

Musk has ample opportunity to change his Twitter policies on the types of things that are banned, of course, and when users are discontinued. He indicated that he would prefer to err on the side of “short-term” and leave out the frontiers of the internet. Many speculated that this would bring back former President Donald Trump, which is not an impossible prediction, but Musk said nothing. (Trump also said he would not return.)

There are some very positive theories about how Musk might decide to change his Twitter policies and the risks he will face, including a Atlantic ee Charlie Warzel and TechDirt Mike Masnick. But, this time around, we do not know much about how Musk would actually change his speech policies on Twitter. He is likely to urge mediators to impose a small ban and make a mistake on the sidelines. But almost every site that claims banner “free speech” ends up banning something deeply offended by users, advertisers, or site owners themselves – so it’s too early to say how long it will take.

“Open source” algorithms.

One of the areas Musk is concerned with is the advice algorithms that increase or decrease tweets and accounts in an impartial way. He suggested publishing Github’s Twitter filtering algorithm for people to review and comment on, making something similar to the “Tweet” ranking system theoretically acceptable.

Musk says described as developing an algorithm “Open source,” but he did not specify specific plans to comply with the terms of the open source license, in an unofficial sense. It also explains something that works in the middle of Twitter production or through open source funding funded by Twitter for the Bluesky project – which will have a different impact on the core Twitter platform.

Transparency is generally welcomed, and former Twitter manager Jack Dorsey also suggested that users be allowed to choose between different advice methods. That said, many social networking sites (including Google and Reddit) do not report exactly how their system works because this gives spamers and other bad actors a system game guide. Twitter’s algorithm will also not explain how it is given Tweet is a priority until Twitter releases more and more information, and it will not shed light on the reason behind any human mediation between them. And it is incredibly vulnerable to people who want to make unscrupulous claims by extracting context, deliberately interpreting, or cultivating conspiracy theories about them.

In addition, Musk did not specify how he would incorporate the suggestions made by other developers or readers – which, again, might involve bad Spammers – entered the Twitter algorithm. Could he follow Dorsey’s suggested approach and allow people to fork their own types of Twitter advice, and turn it into a real open source system? Could it create a Facebook Monitoring Committee that will approve the proposed changes? We have not known for a while.

Spam and bots scams

Musk pointed out that “spam and scam bots” and “bot forces” are Twitter’s new enemies in No. 1. That makes sense, as Musk is a long-standing topic of crypto counterfeiters. However, how he police this is an open question. Unlike maximalism talk, there is no big philosophical difference here – no one likes spambots! Twitter has already cleared fake accounts and banned certain features, such as simultaneously tweeting multiple accounts, facilitating bot spam. So how good would Musk be?

Well, Musk may have some sort of yet undisclosed anti-spam tool in the works, though there is no sign that he has spent more time thinking about this than Twitter engineers. (Again: Twitter has a lot of motivation for police spam already!) Or Musk could easily decide to make a serious mistake by blocking non-malicious account activity, blocking access to the Twitter API, or lowering things from human beings has acted too much. bots

Unfortunately, that goal is likely to run counter to his push for free speech and transparency. As mentioned above, the internal work publication of the Twitter booster system will also give spammers more tools to work with. And strict automatic controls can block bots that generate interesting and valuable services on Twitter Great Technical Warningwhich includes who Silicon Valley senior players (including Musk) are following and not following, or Editing TheGrayLadywhich illuminates how New York Times changes its title and duplicates it over time. Bots are a popular and popular part of Twitter, and distinguishing between good bot and bad bot can be more difficult than Musk thinks.

Confirm all human beings?

The most controversial and most disturbing part of Musk’s Twitter feed is in his last three words: “Confirmation of all human beings.” Musk made similar comment on Twitter before the purchase, saying things like “verify all real humans,” after being determined to defeat bots. He did not specify the purpose of this confirmation, though, or how it would be implemented.

“Identity” may mean several things here. It can refer to people crossing a kind of captcha-style “I am human” to post – though, like spambot ban, if there is an easy way to do this without affecting users of good faith, Twitter may be. already done. It could also mean that people will be asked to provide proof of identity special humans, or to get a sure sign (something Musk has previously proposed) or to operate the service entirely.

Twitter has a long-standing promise of allowing anonymous or confidential talk, too submitting legal reports arguing for its benefits. Asking users to disguise themselves significantly reduces that commitment. Even if anonymous users are not identified, the collection of factual identification information provides much of the information requested by governments, and is vulnerable to hacking or security breaches. “There are no easy ways to verify it without harming some users, and free speech,” he said. The Frontier Electronic Foundation celebrated yesterday.

Musk likes to throw out harsh and provocative ideas, so his remarks yesterday may not end up reflecting where the platform is. If the previous mediation challenges on Twitter are anything to go by, though, each change opens up a whole new set of questions to answer. The open question is how much Musk has an interest in fall management.