Takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk: what will change, is freedom of expression threatened and should the application be removed? | Twitter

Elon Musk’s $44 billion takeover of Twitter and his promises to revamp the social media platform have reignited debate over whether it’s time to exit the website for good. But is it too hasty? How do you leave? And where would you go?

Why do people consider leaving?

It seems like every few months there’s a wave of people announcing they’re quitting Twitter. Some do it permanently, while others make the big announcement only to return weeks or months later.

The latest push came in response to Musk’s purchase of the platform, with some fearing it would allow misinformation, misinformation, abuse and hate speech to thrive on the website more than it doesn’t already. Musk suggested he was a “free speech absolutist”.

There has been speculation about who and what will be allowed back on Twitter, including whether former US President Donald Trump will return to the platform, although he has watered that conversation before.

Australian lobby group Digital Rights Watch has expressed concern that while Musk says the takeover is about free speech, it is actually about power.

“While freedom of speech is important, you need to consider power asymmetries and other barriers that prevent people from speaking freely,” said President Lizzie O’Shea.

“Musk’s style of free-speech absolutism will tip the scales in favor of the rich and powerful who can silence or intimidate critics. What Musk seems to really want is accountability.

“Musk’s proposed approach to content moderation will likely make Twitter a less safe place for many people to speak freely while allowing powerful disinformation and propaganda campaigns to spread unchecked.”

The Electronic Frontiers Foundation said any decision not to allow anonymous accounts on the platform would have the effect of curtailing free speech.

“Pseudonymity and anonymity are essential to protect users who may have views, identities or interests that do not align with those in power,” the EFF said.

“Political dissidents can be in serious danger if those in power are able to discover their true identity.”

Who is in charge now?

Twitter is currently listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Apart from Musk, who held a stake of just under 10% before this deal, the major shareholders were largely investment companies.

Twitter’s board includes current chief executive Parag Agrawal, former CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey, and Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor as chairman.

Is it too early for people to leave?

It’s a dramatic response when so much is unknown about what Musk intends to do with the service. If you’ve been stuck with what many people call “the site of hell” for so long, it’s debatable whether Musk taking it back will be some sort of final straw.

What did Musk say he would do?

Aside from some general tweets about fighting spambots, human authentication, an edit button, open source algorithms and what he says will be free speech, we don’t yet know what Musk plans to do with Twitter.

How do I deactivate my account if I wish?

If you are determined to leave Twitter, you can deactivate your account first for 30 days before it is permanently deleted.

The easiest way to do this is through the “Settings & Privacy” tab in the Twitter app menu. Go to “Your account” then “Deactivate your account”.

If you go through the Twitter website, you follow the same prompts from the “More” tab.

If you do not log back into your account within 30 days, your account is permanently deleted and users can create an account with your username from then on.

What data does Twitter still hold about me?

The Guardian asked Twitter what data is retained once a user permanently deletes their account. A spokesperson pointed to the company’s privacy page, which details what data is retained on active users, but does not describe what is retained once an account is deleted.

If you want to keep track of your tweets and other activities on Twitter, you can download your archive from Twitter before deactivating your account.

Where can I go?

It really comes down to why you used Twitter in the first place. If it’s just for breaking news, you might want to sign up to send alerts to media companies or through the various news apps on your phone.

There’s always Reddit, where you can find subreddits dedicated to topics and communities that interest you.

An open-source version of Twitter, called Mastodon, is often touted as an alternative, but it’s much more fragmented, with people signing up for specific topics or communities.

The main problem with Twitter replicas is reaching the scale of Twitter – over 200 million users – so it’s hard to say if anyone who leaves will find something that’s the ideal replacement. That’s part of why Musk might have been motivated to buy Twitter rather than start his own social media site, as others, including Trump, have attempted.

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