Social networking site Twitter will be taken over by Elon Musk this year. The world’s richest man has been outspoken about Twitter before, and here are some tweaks that could be coming
Image: AFP via Getty Images)
Elon Musk has struck a deal to buy Twitter for £34billion – and change is coming for the social media platform.
Musk, the world’s richest man and chief executive of Tesla, is a keen Twitter user and yesterday announced he will buy the microblogging platform outright.
The transaction is expected to close this year, with Musk agreeing to pay £42.57 for every Twitter share.
It means the social media platform will become a private company, owned by Musk.
The entrepreneur has laid out some of his plans for Twitter, though these are very broad at present.
Here are some of the changes Musk has hinted could be in store for Twitter – though time will tell what really comes to pass.
1) More ‘free speech’
One of the changes Musk has been clearest about is that he wants more free speech on Twitter.
Yesterday Musk said: “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.”
He added: “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means.”
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk)
However, human rights groups are worried that moves towards more free speech could mean more hate speech as well.
Amnesty International said: “We are concerned with any steps that Twitter might take to erode enforcement of the policies and mechanisms designed to protect users.
“The last thing we need is a Twitter that wilfully turns a blind eye to violent and abusive speech against users, particularly those most disproportionately impacted, including women, non-binary persons, and others.”
2) An edit button
Musk has previously shown interest in allowing an edit function for Twitter.
In April, Musk tweeted a poll asking Twitter users if they wanted an edit button.
More than four million people voted, and more than 70% said yes.
This would allow users to change their tweets after they have been sent.
This has previously been rejected by Twitter, but the company is now trialling an editing feature for some users.
3) More transparency
Another change Musk wants to make is making Twitter more transparent.
He has announced ambitions to cut down on spam on the platform and make the Twitter algorithm open source.
That means the public will be able to see how Twitter prioritises tweets, how it penalises others and which factors make a tweet go viral.
4) Everyone might get a ‘blue tick’
Currently Twitter hands out ‘blue tick’ authentication to users it thinks are notable in some way.
These include politicians, journalists and celebrities, who could lose out if someone sets up a fake account pretending to be them.
But the process is difficult and getting a blue tick is hard, which has been a source of frustration for many.
Twitter has been handing out blue ticks since 2009, but it has tightened up its rules over time and most people now have to apply.
Musk has announced plans to “authenticate all humans” – which could mean everyone gets a blue tick.
5) Some celebrities will leave
Some well-known personalities have announced they will leave Twitter due to the Musk takeover.
One is British actor Jameela Jamil, who starred in TV series The Good Place.
She said she expects the platform to “become an even more lawless, hateful, xenophobic, bigoted, misogynistic space”.