Self-described ‘free speech absolutist’ Elon Musk has managed to go from being banned from tweeting about Tesla’s commercial affairs to buying the whole of Twitter – but what does this mean for the platform?
From a social media manager’s perspective, there seem to be a few pros to consider. Musk described his plans to make the platform’s algorithms open source – meaning that the public, and anyone in the social media industry, could have a better idea why certain posts are more successful than others. While the code involved might be too technical for most, the transparency will likely increase understanding of the almighty algorithm.
While private ownership might seem like a risky option, it could be an attempt to avoid the death of the platform. Musk has promised to reduce censorship on Twitter, which is a direct contrast to what similar sites have done in the past. Following Verizon’s acquisition of Yahoo, and subsequently Tumblr, many changes were made in an attempt to make the latter a more ‘welcoming platform’. This included banning anything considered ‘adult content’, leading many users to announce the death of Tumblr on other social media sites.
Critics, however, argue that this lack of censorship will cause more harm than good. Amnesty International Technology’s Director Rasha Abdul-Rahim expressed concern that Twitter may start taking steps to “erode enforcement of the policies and mechanisms designed to protect users”, leading to more abusive speech towards those that are already disproportionally impacted. Users of the platform, including British actress Jameela Jamil, have already expressed their wish to leave the platform, fearing an increase in hate speech.
So, should you make any changes to your social media strategies? Beyond the general public’s opinion of the platform, it’s unlikely that any legitimate changes will be made for a while. My advice would be to not panic, wait until any changes are clear, and then adapt accordingly.
If you need any help adapting your social media strategies, get in touch with us by calling 01522 528540 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org