What does Elon Musk’s Twitter access mean for social networks in crisis | technology

The phone displays Elon Musk's Twitter account, over a photo of him in the background.
The phone displays Elon Musk’s Twitter account, over a photo of him in the background.Oliver Doolery (AFP)

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Elon Musk carried a sink to announce his arrival this Wednesday to Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters: “Let him drown in” (or “Let it sink inIn English), it was Text accompanying the video. Director Office It’s a toilet, hence the pun in the video, an expression with a certain category of meme. Musk’s toilet reveals his intentions: Who spends $44,000 million on something and explains a silly meme to confirm it? Maybe just musk.

His Twitter bio is now “delete chief”, which combines the word “chief” with another that can mean “idiot” apart from referring to “twitter” in English; The word for tweet istweet”.

His gestures contain at least three readings: his thoughts and actions are not typical of a millionaire, his understanding of the language of netizens is refined and he does not care about the opinion of others. Musk decided to buy Twitter in April, backed out in May, and now before he can stand trial, he’s back to his final decision.

These are some of the implications of its disruption to the networking industry, which has been riddled with doubts about its future for a few weeks. Meta, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram, has again suffered losses in its long way into the metaverse and its battle with TikTok. YouTube earned less than expected, possibly due to the announcement of adding Netflix ads. Snapchat delivered its slowest growth this week due to the ad outage. TikTok is the theoretical hero of this fight, but it’s two security scandals that are far from being limited or banned by the US government for being a massive spy weapon for the Chinese government, as the social network owns its parent company, ByteDance.

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This decadent landscape is where Musk, full of clear ideas and energy, arrives. What would you try to change?

1. Twitter suffers like everyone else

When the Twitter purchase materializes, the social network will become public and will save quarterly public announcements. So far his income is meager. This week, Reuters published an internal investigation lamenting the fatigue of its most active users and the downfall of the best stories.

90% of the content is generated by 10% of the users. This is common in all networks. According to the internal report, most mobile users log into Twitter almost every day and tweet three or four times a week. This group is “in absolute decline”. The main topics are cryptocurrency and pornography, rather than other topics that are more attractive to advertisers: sports, information and entertainment.

2. Freedom of expression above all else

The most frequent consensus is that Donald Trump will return to Twitter once Musk takes over. “It would be great if the permanent ban were relaxed, except for spam accounts and those advocating outright violence,” Musk wrote to Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal today in private letters revealed by the courts. “Twitter should move to the center,” he added.

Trump’s comeback seems like Musk’s first big gesture. But who else will return? What will Musk’s new moderation policy look like? The usual criticism Musk receives is that he has no idea how complicated it is to manage harassment, insults and threats in a public social network packed with journalists like Twitter. But it’s still surprising.

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3. There is no alternative

Despite the progressive criticism that Musk is receiving, Musk has a card in his favor: Everyone who used to visit Twitter has no alternative. There is nowhere to go to see a similar service. Mastodon is complex and minority. Parler and the Truth Social for Conservatives. TikTok and Instagram are not for information. Facebook is not at the last minute.

Perhaps there is a group that ends up getting in less or finding other chores, but it won’t be easy for them. If Twitter dies one day, it will be a slow death. Although Musk has few ideas, he has room to attract new users without losing regular users.

4. Popular Advertisers

Posted this Thursday Musk Tweet with too long text Dedicated to “Dear Twitter Advertisers”. Musk has a lot of money, but getting rid of a large portion of his fortune isn’t something even a millionaire would want to do. Twitter should donate money.

In the text, Musk promises that he will make Twitter a “warm and friendly place for everyone” and not a “hell pit where everything can be said without consequences.” In this friendly space, “which will be an important shared digital arena for the future of civilization” and where extremists will not dominate, advertisers should see “the most respected advertising platform.”

5. What is a superapp?

Another big dream of Musk is to turn Twitter into a great app. The big ambition is the Chinese WeChat, which includes a social network, messaging and payments. Although if it did not spread in Western countries, it would be for some reason.

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In private messages, Musk dreamed of a network with micropayments per tweet based on blockchain, especially to destroy robots, but he himself admitted that it was not technically feasible. It is his furthest dream.

6. There are new applications

A new Pew Research survey shows TikTok is the fastest growing news search app, especially among those under 30. The only one that is growing somewhat is Instagram. All others fall back: the proportion of Twitter users searching for news on the platform has risen from 59% in 2020 to 53% this year; On Facebook it fell from 54% to 44%.

BeReal, which allows you to upload images only once a day, or Gas, which is used to praise the skills of colleagues from the institute, are newly created apps that have just appeared.

Thus, the networking sector is not trapped in a paradise watered with millions of euros. There is movement, news and fall. Among these changes, whale-mask bets such as Twitter may activate.

7. Geopolitical risks

A big problem for Musk is the dependence of his other companies on complex countries. The great example is China. Tesla depends on China. Musk has already argued that Taiwan should be part of China. Just as he defended that eastern Ukraine is Russia. When these governments pressure him for certain tweets, it remains to be seen how he will defend freedom of expression to the end.

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