The changes Elon Musk is making to Twitter8 min read

The organization of Twitter recently went through some crucial changes. On October 27th, 2022, Elon Musk acquired Twitter for $44 billion, and a series of changes have occurred or been speculated since then.

Musk’s approach is to build in public, and he’s been outspoken about his new and old ideas about the changes he would like to make to Twitter. He even put out Twitter polls for his audience to contribute towards making some of these decisions. However, Musk says that he will not be making any major decisions regarding the platform’s rules until he forms what he is calling a “content moderation panel.”

Here are the changes he has made so far and the ones that he has thought of implementing:

Implemented changes

The Twitter verification model

Launched just over a week after Musk took over, Twitter implemented a new model of verifying users. After discontinuing the previous verification model, the blue check mark is now available to any individual with an active subscription to Twitter Blue for $7.99 per month. This particular update is currently only available on iOS in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

Moreover, according to the Twitter support page, there are no additional requirements needed to verify a user’s authenticity beyond the monthly fee. “Accounts that receive the blue checkmark as part of a Twitter Blue subscription will not undergo review to confirm that they meet the active, notable, and authentic criteria that were used in the previous process,” says the page.

However, Twitter has implemented the “Official” label on some accounts to distinguish notable accounts. The Official profile label is applied to government accounts, certain political organizations, commercial companies including business partners, major brands, media outlets and publishers, and some other public figures.

 

Twitter Verified Account

However, soon after its launch, the model had to be put on pause after some high-profile impersonations. Elon then announced it would be coming back on November 29th, 2022. 

Reinstatement of accounts

In accordance with his promise of a lighter moderation of content on Twitter, Musk has begun reinstating accounts that were permanently banned after violating the old Twitter rules. 

This came after he polled his followers about whether to offer “general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam.” 

About 72.4% of 3.1 million voters voted “yes” in this poll. Since then, he has reinstated some notable accounts such as Jordan Peterson’s and Kathie Griffin’s.

Consequences for impersonation

Although Musk is now advocating for lighter moderation on Twitter, he has drawn a firm line on what the new application rules will not tolerate. He announced in a tweet, “Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended.”

Cracking down on this impersonation policy, the Twitter Blue policy also states that any change of name will lead to a loss of the verified checkmark. 

Purging spam accounts

On December 1st, 2022, Elon musk announced that Twitter was purging a lot of spam-bot accounts and that users would be noticing a drop in followership. Some Twitter users noticed this change and confirmed it on their accounts. 

Removing the Covid misinformation policy

A new update has been made to Twitter’s online rules: “Effective November 23, 2022, Twitter is no longer enforcing the COVID-19 misleading information policy.”

Twitter video update

Twitter users began to notice a change in Twitter’s video format. Similar to the video format of Instagram and TikTok, users can now swipe up to watch more videos after watching the video they originally chose.

Subscriptions

Musk has ordered that its paid subscription feature, Super Follows, be renamed “Subscriptions.” 

Twitter Subscriptions - Hypefury

Speculated changes

Content moderation policies

Elon Musk has always been vocal about his difference in opinion with Twitter’s free speech policies before he bought the company. In his 2022 TED talk, he outlined his free-speech-first vision for Twitter. 

Musk said he believes Twitter should follow the laws of the countries it operates in and otherwise not regulate users’ speech.

Regarding difficult content-moderation calls, he’s said, “If it’s a gray area, I would say let the tweet exist. In a case where there are perhaps a lot of controversies, you don’t necessarily promote that tweet. I’m not saying I have all the answers here, but I do think we want to be very reluctant to delete things, and just be very cautious with permanent bans.”

He has insinuated changes in content moderation policies which might include relaxing the regulations against hate speech and harassment. 

Additionally, Musk plans to reform the platform’s use of permanent user bans, which he has started by restoring some permanently banned accounts. Recently, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey agreed with this stance. In a tweet, he stated:

  • He believes permanent bans on Twitter are directionally wrong and should be quite rare because they are “a failure on the application’s path to promote healthy conversation and having to take these actions fragments the public conversation,” although he said they could be used against “spam” or “scam” accounts;
  • Instead, he would like the platform to temporarily suspend people who tweet something “that is illegal or destructive to the world.”

Open-source algorithm

Elon Musk has said he’s concerned about bias being inherent to Twitter’s algorithm — which he mentioned he would solve with an open-source algorithm.

  • In late March 2022, he tweeted, “I’m worried about de facto bias in ‘the Twitter algorithm’ having a major effect on public discourse. How do we know what’s really happening?”
  • Additionally, he went ahead to poll his followers on whether they’d support an open-source algorithm. About 83% of more than 1.1 million respondents said they would.

An open-source algorithm would make publicly available the calculus that determines what appears on a person’s Twitter feed.

Twitter tiers

Musk has floated the idea of splitting Twitter into different brands of content. He suggested that users would select which version of Twitter they want, in a reply to a tweet suggesting that embracing both the ‘left’ and ‘right’ would be a losing game. His proposed solution is to have two versions of the application for these two different kinds of people. 

A user could assign a rating to the posts that appear on their timeline, which would then be modified by “user feedback” and eventually be tailored to them and the version of the app they would like to be a part of. 

In another tweet, he also backed a user’s suggestion that the service splits into different video game-style modes, including a “player versus player” version, where verified accounts can hold Twitter spats, roleplaying Twitter for anonymous accounts with minimal moderation, and Twitter for everyone else with heavy moderation. 

Long-form tweets

Musk has also alluded to the application needing long-form tweets.

  • He commented on a long Twitter thread in April 2022: “My most immediate takeaway from this novella of a thread is that Twitter is *way* overdue for long-form tweets!”

Tweet view counter

Elon Musk tweeted that Twitter will start showing a view count for tweets like it does for videos. This data has already been available for the person who wrote the tweet via the analytics button, but it seems like the plan is to make that information publicly available.

Naming the device the Tweet is made from

Elon Musk stated in a tweet that moving forward, Twitter will stop adding what device a tweet was written from below every tweet. 

Video content and video voice chat 

Musk is also reportedly considering charging for video content. The feature would involve letting people post videos and charging users to see them, with Twitter taking a cut. 

Musk also mentioned in a meeting recording with his employees obtained by The Verge that he wants Twitter to have the ability to do voice and video chat via DMs.

Encryption of direct messages 

Musk told employees that the company would encrypt direct messages and work to add encrypted video and voice calling between accounts, according to a recording of the meeting obtained by The Verge.

“We want to enable users to be able to communicate without being concerned about their privacy, [or] without being concerned about a data breach at Twitter causing all of their DMs to hit the web, or think that maybe someone at Twitter could be spying on their DMs,” The Verge records Musk saying in their piece. 

“It should be the case that I can’t look at anyone’s DMs if somebody has put a gun to my head,” he told employees. He went on to praise Signal, the encrypted chat app that is run as a non-profit. He mentioned having spoken with Signal’s creator, Moxie Marlinspike, who is now “potentially willing to help out” with encrypting Twitter DMs.

The bottom line

Elon Musk’s goal is to build an extremely reliable platform that users can trust for accurate and factual information. “The more Twitter improves its signal-to-noise ratio, the less relevant conventional news becomes,” he says

All these changes and more are arguably for him to move towards this goal. 

In his 2022 TED talk, he highlighted this goal as the primary and only goal when compared to the money-making aspect of it all. “This isn’t a way to make money,” Musk said. “My strong intuitive sense is that having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization. I don’t care about the economics at all.”

Concluding this, with all the changes Elon Musk is trying to make on Twitter, a scheduling and automation tool like Hypefury can help you build your audience and grow with streamlined content.

You might also like