Musk’s Twitter Plans Remain Vague After First Q and A with Company Staff

Okay, look, I’ve little doubt that Elon Musk is a genius on some degree, a visionary who has been in a position to faucet into key funding and improvement alternatives, and make issues occur the place others couldn’t.

I’m not debating this – however his views on social media, and how social platforms work, more and more appear outdated, misguided, and outright improper in lots of respects.

Immediately, Musk held his first meeting with Twitter staff since launching a hostile takeover provide for the platform back in April.

And as you possibly can think about, workers had many questions – and Musk’s solutions didn’t precisely present a lot assurance of future course for the corporate.

First off, on censorship, which has been a key element of Musk’s Twitter takeover push. Musk has lengthy criticized Twitter’s restrictions on sure speech, and has advocated for extra open communication, within the boundaries of local laws, versus taking over extra officiating on such at a platform degree.

In at this time’s assembly, Musk reiterated this stance, saying that people needs to be allowed to ‘say fairly outrageous issues’ – although Musk additionally says that such feedback ‘should not be amplified’ by Twitter itself.

What precisely meaning is unclear – although curiously, Musk has typically criticized Twitter’s alleged ‘shadow bans’ which prohibit the attain of some tweets. It looks like he’s sort of now advocating for this – however how precisely he would envision such course of, in a useful sense, is unclear.

Musk additionally mentioned his plan to fight bots, which has been one other key pillar of his Twitter takeover push.

Final month, Musk stated that his Twitter takeover had been successfully put ‘on hold’ resulting from him primarily not believing Twitter’s knowledge that solely 5% of its energetic customers had been pretend/bots. Twitter has since offered Musk with its ‘full firehose’ of tweets to make an impartial evaluation.

So how does Musk plan to deal with bots?

His resolution can be that customers must pay a certain quantity to get their account verified, which might make it too costly to run large bot networks.

«It must be rather more costly to have a troll military.»

That makes some sense, however it is also tougher in observe, whereas moreover limiting the app’s development prospects, if each person has to pay to sign-up. Musk has previously also noted that Twitter ‘will all the time be free for informal customers’, however how these two stances would align is one other hazy ingredient.

Which leads into Musk’s development plans for the app. As per Musk’s leaked strategy deck, which had been shared with potential buyers Musk plans to extend Twitter’s person base from the 229 million daily actives it has proper now, to 600 million by 2025, then to 931 million by 2028.

In actual fact, Musk has instructed Twitter workers that his plans are even larger than this, with a goal of a billion users in the app.

Although once more, the element is fairly gentle on right here, with Musk solely offering a imprecise reference to Chinese language messaging apps as a template of kinds for Twitter development.

Wow, what a stroke of genius that is. This strategy completely hasn’t been tried by virtually each different messaging app, in each different area.

Certainly, Meta has been working on this template for years, first making an attempt to get Western customers extra hooked on Messenger, by way of the addition of a range of expanded functions and tools, then pushing to do the identical with WhatsApp in India and other Asian markets.

It’s by no means labored. For no matter cause, Chinese language customers have adopted messaging apps in a a lot larger means than these in different markets, and whereas Meta continues to be hopeful that it could make WhatsApp the important thing connective device on India and Indonesia particularly, the probabilities of US customers growing their reliance on a messaging platform – and positively on Twitter – will not be very excessive.

However Elon appears to imagine that he’s the primary to note this, and that that is some hidden gem that nobody has stumbled upon as but, which once more underlines the priority that he’s just a little naïve in his strategy to managing, and maximizing, the platform.

That’s been the identical in his statements about fake accounts and free speech, Elon has a private stance on every of those parts, however it’s not just like the questions that he’s elevating haven’t been raised and assessed by each different social app at some stage.

For instance:

It nonetheless amazes me that an individual seeking to purchase a social media platform doesn’t perceive the affect that algorithmic sorting has on engagement, a key measure of success. Sure, some individuals get irritated by an algorithm displaying them what it thinks they like, however the truth is that each one platforms which have carried out algorithmic programs have seen engagement improve in consequence, together with Twitter itself.

Which leads into the following level raised by Musk:

Proper, so algorithms are unhealthy, however individuals can’t be proven ‘boring content material’ – and TikTok, which has seen large success on the again of its extremely attuned personalization algorithm, which fuels its ‘For You’ feed, is a good instance of what to purpose for.

I stay up for seeing how Musk and Co. remedy for this.  

Different workers questions associated to variety within the workforce, permitting individuals to proceed working from residence (one thing Musk is against) and, in fact, potential lay-offs.

Musk has beforehand said that he plans to cut Twitter’s staff base by around 1,000 roles – a seventh of Twitter’s total workforce – over the following two years.  

Musk didn’t provide any extra assurance on this entrance:

“Proper now prices exceed income. That’s not an excellent scenario.”

Musk additionally – most likely jokingly – advised that Twitter might add an ‘irony’ label so as to add context to tweets.

Which is fairly silly – however once more, it appeared like a joke. Most likely.

Once more, total, Musk’s responses present a lack of knowledge in lots of respects, and an absence of a transparent plan as to how Musk expects to make Twitter a hit, outdoors of simply getting individuals to tweet extra typically.

Functionally, that’s not one thing you possibly can simply do, and getting extra individuals to tweet has been the complete focus of the app’s workers for the whole 16 years of its existence.

Nonetheless, Musk appears assured that he has the solutions. Like $44 billion assured.

How that interprets into motion, we’ll have to attend and see.

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