Musk’s Twitter Plans Stay Obscure After First Q and A with Firm Workers

Okay, look, I’ve little doubt that Elon Musk is a genius on some degree, a visionary who has been capable of 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I’m not debating this – however his views on social media, and the way social platforms work, more and more appear outdated, misguided, and outright fallacious in lots of respects.

At this time, 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 route 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 in the present day’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 apparently, Musk has typically criticized Twitter’s alleged ‘shadow bans’ which limit the attain of some tweets. It looks as if he’s sort of now advocating for this – however how precisely he would envision such course of, in a practical 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’ as a consequence of him basically not believing Twitter’s knowledge that solely 5% of its energetic customers have been faux/bots. Twitter has since supplied Musk with its ‘full firehose’ of tweets to make an unbiased evaluation.

So how does Musk plan to deal with bots?

His answer can be that customers have to 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, but it surely is also more difficult in follow, whereas moreover limiting the app’s development prospects, if each consumer has to pay to sign-up. Musk has previously also noted that Twitter ‘will at all times be free for informal customers’, however how these two stances would align is one other hazy factor.

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 consumer base from the 229 million daily actives it has proper now, to 600 million by 2025, then to 931 million by 2028.

The truth is, 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 types for Twitter development.

Wow, what a stroke of genius that is. This method 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 attempting to get Western customers extra hooked on Messenger, through 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 motive, Chinese language customers have adopted messaging apps in a a lot larger means than these in different markets, and whereas Meta remains to be hopeful that it might probably 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 – usually are not 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 method 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, but it surely’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 trying to purchase a social media platform doesn’t perceive the influence that algorithmic sorting has on engagement, a key measure of success. Sure, some folks get irritated by an algorithm displaying them what it thinks they like, however the reality is that every one platforms which have applied algorithmic methods have seen engagement improve in consequence, together with Twitter itself.

Which leads into the subsequent level raised by Musk:

Proper, so algorithms are dangerous, however folks 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 range within the workforce, permitting folks to proceed working from dwelling (one thing Musk is against) and, in fact, potential lay-offs.

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

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

“Proper now prices exceed income. That’s not a fantastic state of affairs.”

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

Which is fairly silly – however once more, it appeared like a joke. In all probability.

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

Functionally, that’s not one thing you possibly can simply do, and getting extra folks 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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