Elon Musk's Twitter Bid: Musk declared in an SEC filing, "I invested in Twitter because I believe in its potential to be the venue for free expression throughout the world, and I believe free speech is a societal requirement for a functioning democracy."
East Lansing, Michigan, USA: Twitter has received a lot of attention recently, although for the wrong reasons. Its stock has slowed, and the platform has basically stayed unchanged since its inception in 2006. Elon Musk, the world's richest person, made a bid to purchase Twitter and take the public corporation private on April 14, 2022.
Musk claimed in an SEC filing, "I invested in Twitter because I believe in its potential to be the venue for free expression throughout the world, and I believe free speech is a societal requirement for a functioning democracy."
What distinguishes Twitter
Twitter fills a distinct market niche. Because of its tiny text chunks and threading, it fosters real-time interactions among thousands of individuals, making it popular with celebrities, media figures, and politicians alike.
The half-life of content on a platform is discussed by social media experts as the time it takes for a piece of content to reach 50% of its entire lifetime interaction, which is often quantified in a number of views or popularity-based basedbased metrics.
A tweet has a half-life of around 20 minutes, compared to five hours for Facebook posts, twenty hours for Instagram posts, 24 hours for LinkedIn postings, and 20 days for YouTube films. The substantially shorter half-life demonstrates Twitter's important role in fostering real-time conversations as events develop.
Twitter's potential to affect the real-time debate, as well as the simplicity with which data, particularly geo-tagged data, can be acquired from Twitter, has made it a gold mine for academics analyzing a wide range of social issues, from the public health to politics. Twitter data has been used to forecast asthma-related emergency room visits, assess public awareness of epidemics, and estimate wildfire smoke distribution.
Tweets in a discussion are shown in chronological order, and while most of a tweet's participation is frontloaded, the Twitter archive enables quick and complete access to every public Tweet. This establishes Twitter as a historical record keeper and a de facto fact checker.
Musk's thoughts have shifted
The impact of Musk's ownership of Twitter, and private control of social media platforms in general, on public well-being is a critical topic. Musk suggested many changes to Twitter in a series of deleted tweets, including introducing an edit button for tweets and awarding automatic verification marks to premium users.
There is no experimental evidence that an edit button will impact the way information is sent on Twitter. However, past study that looked at deleted tweets can be used to extrapolate.
There are several methods for retrieving deleted tweets, allowing academics to analyse them. While some studies demonstrate substantial personality differences between users who delete their tweets and those who do not, these findings imply that deleting tweets is a strategy for people to control their online identities.
Analyzing deleting activity can also provide useful information regarding online credibility and deception. Similarly, if Twitter introduces an edit button, examining editing activity patterns might reveal information about Twitter users' goals and how they portray themselves.
According to studies of bot-generated activity on Twitter, approximately half of the accounts posting about COVID-19 are most certainly bots. Given the partisanship and political division in online spaces, enabling users – whether automated bots or genuine people – to alter their tweets might become another weapon in the bots' and propagandists' misinformation armory. Editing tweets may allow people to intentionally falsify what they said or deny making harsh statements, complicating efforts to track down disinformation.
To understand Musk's intentions and what lies ahead for social media platforms like Twitter, examine the massive – and opaque – online advertising ecosystem including many technologies used by ad networks, social media businesses, and publishers. Twitter's principal source of revenue is advertising.
Musk's ambition is for Twitter to earn cash through subscriptions rather than advertising. Twitter would be under less pressure to focus on content moderation if it didn't have to worry about recruiting and maintaining advertisers. Twitter would become a type of unconstrained opinion site for paying customers as a result of this. In its efforts to combat disinformation, Twitter has been active in its use of content control.
In view of the algorithmic damages produced by social media platforms, Musk's notion of a network free of content control difficulties is disturbing. A variety of these disadvantages have been demonstrated by research, including algorithms that assign gender to users, possible mistakes and biases in algorithms used to harvest information from these platforms, and the impact on consumers seeking health information online.
The testimony of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, as well as recent regulatory efforts such as the online safety bill unveiled in the United Kingdom, demonstrate that there is widespread public concern about the role that technology platforms play in shaping popular discourse and public opinion. Musk's possible takeover of Twitter raises a slew of regulatory worries.
Because of Musk's other enterprises, Twitter's potential to influence public opinion in the delicate industries of aviation and automobiles would inevitably constitute a conflict of interest, not to mention jeopardizing the disclosure of critical information required for shareholders. Musk has already been criticized for delaying the disclosure of his Twitter ownership position.
Twitter's own algorithmic bias bounty challenge determined that improved algorithms require a community-led approach. Middle schoolers are asked to reimagine the YouTube platform with ethics in mind in a highly imaginative exercise devised by the MIT Media Lab. Perhaps it's time to ask Twitter, whoever owns and operates the firm, to do the same.
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