Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s agreement to buy Twitter that was announced on Monday means some substantial changes will be coming soon for the social media giant. From unblocking previously censored accounts, including possibly President Donald Trump, and significant technical improvements, the platform is certain to look and work differently than ever before.
Although Trump told Fox News on Monday that he does not plan to return to Twitter after the Musk purchase, it remains to be seen what might happen if his account is unblocked. Musk has said nothing so far about specific plans involving Trump, but he has definitively said that the existing moderation and censorship policies at the company are not acceptable.
Musk wrote a week ago that a social media platform has good moderation if the “most extreme 10%” on each end of the political spectrum are “equally unhappy.”
Musk has said that as a “free speech absolutist,” he believes Twitter should not regulate posted content outside of the legal requirements of the countries the platform operates inside.
One technical improvement Musk has said will be a priority is eliminating “spam bots,” accounts driven by simple robotic algorithms to pollute the timelines of many users. By verifying that all users are “real humans,” the platform could cut down or eliminate hated spam.
Musk has also hinted that he is considering developing an “edit” feature, allowing users to edit posts for a short time after posting. Posts would “zero out” retweets and favorites when edited. Musk posted a poll on his account asking his followers if they wanted an edit feature and around 74% of 4.4 million respondents said they were in favor.
In his statement accompanying the purchase announcement, Musk reiterated earlier pledges to make the platform’s algorithms “open source,” meaning censorship or account suspensions would come with transparency.
There has been no reporting yet about the possibility of Musk moving Twitter’s operations out of California to Texas as he has done previously with his electric vehicle giant Tesla. Musk has previously said that Twitter headquarters in San Francisco could be better used as a homeless shelter, since hardly any workers come into the office anymore.