Elon Musk sits on Twitter’s board, having just emerged as the social media company’s biggest shareholder.
The announcement immediately sparked rumors of a change, as Twitter users speculated on how the world’s richest man might influence the platform.
Musk has been questioning Twitter’s moderation policies for weeks, and at one point even claimed to be considering launching his own social media platform to rival Twitter (that strategy didn’t work for Donald Trump, who doesn’t even use its own platform, Social Truth).
Musk seems openly determined to bring about change, under the guise of democracy. On March 25, 11 days after becoming Twitter’s largest shareholder, Musk tweeted out a poll asking his followers, “Freedom of speech is essential to the functioning of a democracy. Do you believe that Twitter strictly adheres to this principle? Musk added in a follow-up tweet: “The consequences of this poll will be significant. Please vote carefully.”
After revealing his new position on the board, Musk surveyed his followers again asking if Twitter should add an edit button, intentionally including misspellings to emphasize his point – this time Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal Noted that the vote would have important consequences. With the majority of Musk’s Twitter followers being comprised of undermining Tesla fans, the results of these polls could be more than a little biased.
A Twitter edit button has long been a subject of debate for Twitter users, as the potential for bad faith trolling that an edit button would invite might be too much for the chaotic platform, as users would likely be able to alter the meaning. of tweets after they went viral.
An edit button, however, might just be the start, as Musk’s rise to the board has many Twitter users worried that the billionaire’s planned changes could hurt the quality of conversation on the board. site (which, frankly, has never been excellent).
While Musk identifies as a ‘free speech absolutist’ the billionaire is notoriously slim, slandering a cave explorer as a ‘pedo’ on Twitter, threatening legal action against critics and reportedly firing employees who disagree with him. On Twitter, Musk has replied angrily to The Onion, after the satirical news site poked fun at him (funnyly, The Onion has since doubled down).
For Musk’s still impressed fanbase, however, the news was seen as uplifting; Musk’s new stance even inspired fans of former President Donald Trump, who immediately began campaigning for Trump to return to the platform, from which he was banned after tweeting about the riot. January 6.
Other users have called for the return of The Babylon Bee, the satirical news site that was suspended from Twitter in March after it misinterpreted Deputy Health Secretary Dr Rachel Levine, who went offline after refusing to delete the offending tweet.
The Babylon Bee jokes about gender and diversity from a socially conservative perspective and often portrays Musk in an overwhelmingly positive light. Consequently, Musk has expressed his enthusiastic endorsement of the site and seems to be missing its presence on Twitter.
Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon claims Musk contacted him before his big purchase, wanting to know if the satirical site had really been banned. On Twitterdillon wrote:
“Musk reached out to us before surveying his followers about Twitter’s commitment to free speech. He wanted to confirm that we had indeed been suspended. He even thought about this call that he might need to buy Twitter. He is now the largest shareholder and sits on the board of directors.
It remains to be seen if Musk will prove to be as important as Twitter users believe, or if his new role will be just another publicity stunt for the notorious internet troll.