What will Twitter Look Like Under Elon Musk?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that Elon Musk is buying Twitter. While he’s still months away from completing his purchase, having someone like Musk at the helm could mean possible changes for the platform.
So what does that mean for the future of Twitter?
What Happens in Twitter HQ, Stays in Twitter HQ
While Twitter isn’t the juggernaut that Facebook is, it IS considered one of the world’s most powerful social media platforms. Not only will you find companies and celebrities there, but politicians, government agencies, and journalists. It’s considered the world’s largest forum for the sharing of ideas and information.
However, critics of the purchase fear that the spread of disinformation could get worse under Musk with his absolutist view of the First Amendment. Musk has openly talked about letting people who’ve previously been banned from the platform for spreading disinformation back on once he takes over.
Despite his wish to let certain people back on the platform due to his interpretation of the First Amendment, people have pointed out that the billionaire is very mercurial and could ban users from the platform for personal reasons. After all, Musk once canceled a man’s order for a Tesla after he wrote a blog about a badly run launch event.
But the change most critics are worried about is the one that results from the purchase itself. Twitter would go from a publicly held company, which means that there are guardrails on what the company can and can’t do, to a privately held one. A company that is privately held has no real system of checks and balances on it, meaning Musk can do whatever he wants, including banning users who disagree with him. This could mean that what happens in Twitter headquarters, stays in Twitter headquarters, unless an employee decides to leak something to the public…
It would be hard to see Musk outright banning a celebrity, politician, or a big company without it being known, but for small businesses, journalists at smaller outlets, and everyday people, being banned without much notice could happen.
Others have pointed out that verbal abuse could run rampant once Musk takes over. Minorities and women don’t see Musk as someone who goes to bat for them and are worried about how they will be treated on the platform by other users if there are no consequences.
The million dollar question is, will all this happen?
The Edit Button Debate
Besides the political implications of Musk purchasing Twitter, there are reports that suggest Twitter has been actively working on an edit button. As of current reporting, Twitter would most likely roll out access to the feature to users of Twitter Blue, its premium service.
The edit button is something that Musk has hinted he’d welcome as a feature. While many view the edit button as something that can allow users to correct typos or other grammatical errors, many have wondered if the edit button could allow a user to change the fundamental content after it has already gone viral. It could make it look like someone liked or retweeted something they actually didn’t agree with.
Some have suggested guardrails for this particular feature, such as only allowing edits to happen within a limited time frame after the Tweet is posted. Others have said they would like to see and track the edit history of a tweet, much like you can do on Facebook, helping prevent misuse of the feature.
The fact of the matter is that Musk is an innovator. He has made major disruptions to a pretty traditional industry of American cars, and has literally paved the way for electric vehicles in the world. Not only that, but he’s making other audacious endeavors with SpaceX and Starlink. As a social media marketing team, we’re excited to see the possibilities that come with Musk at the helm of Twitter. This platform has continued to be a force in the social media and digital marketing space, and now, many users are diving deeper into the platform simply because they know exciting innovation is bound to come. What that will be is probably still known only to Musk, but it will be fun to watch this opportunity on Twitter develop.
A Few Hurdles
There are still some legal hurdles for Musk before the billionaire himself takes over control of Twitter. There’s still time for someone to offer a higher bid for the company, however, if Twitter accepted that higher offer, they would have to pay a $1 billion breakup fee to Musk, who would also be on the hook for that fee if he changes his mind.
But what about hurdles from the U.S. government? According to some in the legal profession, it doesn’t look like the government would have any cause to stop the purchase through an anti-competition standpoint, given that Musk does not own any other media platforms and it doesn’t represent consolidation within Twitter’s existing industry niche. While European regulators could force Musk and Twitter to add data-sharing protections, they wouldn’t be able to sink the deal itself.
Unfortunately, we don’t have a crystal ball to peer into the future and see what exactly will happen with Twitter under Musk’s leadership. Will critics’ worst fears come to be or will Twitter remain largely unchanged in the way it operates? It’s hard to know. What we do know is that Twitter will continue to play an important role in the sharing of ideas and information; time will tell if it is in a positive way or a negative way. So keep sharing your ideas, your products, and services on the platform. Twitter is still a great place to reach people with your ideas!