Elon Musk’s Twitter Ideas Cause Concern

Explore the Universe, transform the auto industry and create brain implants. These were the latest achievements of the richest man in the world, Elon Musk, owner of Tesla, SpaceX and Neuralink. And just when we thought that there would be no more room for his entrepreneurial verve, we are proved just the opposite: in mid-April, the billionaire announced his latest adventure, the purchase of Twitter.

As one of the main social networks on the planet, in 2021 Twitter gathered more than 320 million users who, daily, share hundreds of millions of posts on the most different topics, creating trending topics — “trend” topics, and influencing strategic debates on politics, economy and society with only 280 characters at a time.

There is no longer any doubt: Twitter is an important thermometer of the social moods of the entire planet.

And Elon Musk knows it well. Owner of one of the most popular accounts on the platform, with more than 90 million followers, the mega-entrepreneur recognizes and strategically uses this important communication tool.

It is true that the operation, valued at more than US$ 40 billion, although it has already been made official, has not yet materialized and, by all indications, it should take some time to become a reality.

Still, Elon Musk took advantage of all the exposure of the last few days to share his future plans for Twitter, his newest venture.

How could it be otherwise, they put experts, investors and, of course, users on alert. That’s because Elon Musk promises to implement profound changes to the platform.

Among them is:

  • The total openness of Twitter’s codes, so that users can have access to the entire rationale of the algorithm;
  • The authentication of accounts and, consequently, the total banishment of the millions of bots -or robots– that populate the network;
  • As well as the redefinition of the company’s business strategy, which would become privately held and, therefore, no longer susceptible to the demands and control of shareholders.

If implemented, the plan could transform the future of Twitter, especially with the realization of what is perhaps the main measure announced.

Elon Musk wants to enforce something he announced long ago, that “Twitter is the digital square, where vital issues for the future of humanity can be debated”.

For this, the entrepreneur promises to enforce a broad and amplified view of what he understands as freedom of expression, reducing content moderation strategies and abolishing practices seen by him as restricting public debate, such as banning accounts.

Time will tell if Elon Musk’s plans for Twitter will, in fact, become a reality.

But the forecasts are still worrying and seem to go in the opposite direction of what several nations —such as the recently approved Digital Services Act, by the European Parliament—have sought to implement, with actions to combat illegal content, hold platforms accountable and ensure that there is moderation of posts in extreme cases.

The measures follow an ethical imperative and consensus around the view that the internet and social networks cannot be a “no man’s land”, condescending to all sorts of violations covered by the mantle of freedom of expression.

Be that as it may, the purchase of Twitter, if completed, invites us to follow the next steps with caution and attention, especially considering the impacts that any measure may have on the Brazilian context, this year marked by fundamental legislative debates, such as the PL 2630/20, known as the “Fake News PL” and, more importantly, for elections in October 2022. Let’s stay tuned.

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