Free speech to charging for tweets: Everything Elon Musk said about changing Twitter



Since Elon Musk’s deal to acquire Twitter became public last week, the Tesla co-founder has been busy posting all of his ideas on what he intends to do with the platform. Musk has insisted that Twitter has immense potential and he is determined to ‘unlock’ this with his own take on how the social media platform should function. From explaining his stance on free speech to saying that Twitter could look at charging select users for tweets, here’s a look at everything Musk has said so far. 

‘Free speech, need to defeat spam bots’

When the deal was announced, Musk posted a short note to his official Twitter account which stressed free speech, the need to take on ‘spam bots’ and ‘authenticating all humans.

He wrote, “Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated. I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spambots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”

Musk has insisted that Twitter has immense potential and he is determined to ‘unlock’ this. (Photo: Reuters)

Musk clarifies ‘free speech’ stance

Musk’s stress on free speech raised worries that it would mean zero content moderation on Twitter. However, he clarified this stance a day later, saying he was against any censorship that went above and beyond the law. He wrote, “By “free speech”, I simply mean that which matches the law. I am against censorship that goes far beyond the law. If people want less free speech, they will ask the government to pass laws to that effect. Therefore, going beyond the law is contrary to the will of the people.”

However, this has not done much to quell concerns that Twitter could go back to some of its earlier problems. After a lot of problematic speech is technically not ‘illegal’. Free speech rules are different across countries. For instance, while the US has no restriction on freedom of speech, India does put reasonable restrictions on the same. It remains to be seen how Musk plans to navigate these issues.

Twitter DMs should be E2E encrypted

Elon Musk posted that Direct Messages on Twitter should be end-to-end encrypted just like on the Signal messaging app. This would mean that no one, not even Twitter will be able to read messages sent by users. Check out his tweet below

Make Twitter maximum fun, tweets on the left-wing and right-wing groups

Musk also responded to some of the hate he was getting from left-wing groups. He wrote, “The far left hates everyone, themselves included! But I’m no fan of the far-right either. Let’s have less hate and more love.” He also stressed that he wants to make Twitter maximum fun, whatever that means. Musk had also posted that Twitter needs to be “needs to be politically neutral” in order to regain ‘public trust’.

Tweets about Vijaya Gadde

Some of Musk’s tweets have caused a backlash against Twitter employees, most notably against its legal head Vijaya Gadde who faced a ton of abuse after his posts. Musk replied to a tweet Saagar Enjeti–host of a political podcast–who posted a Politico article which stated that Gadde was in tears at a staff meeting after news of the acquisition. Enjeti wrote, “Vijaya Gadde, the top censorship advocate at Twitter who famously gaslit the world on Joe Rogan’s podcast and censored the Hunter Biden laptop story, is very upset about the Elon Musk takeover.”

The new Twitter boss then replied that Gadde’s actions were “incredibly inappropriate,” referring to the social media platform’s decision to suspend NY Post’s accounts for Hunter Biden stories. While he did not name Gadde, it did the damage. When he was called out by former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo for the move, Musk feigned ignorance saying, “What are talking about? I’m just saying Twitter needs to be politically neutral. What did not help later was Musk posting a meme mocking Gadde.

Commercial users, governments might have to pay for Twitter

Musk tweeted today that while the platform will always be free for casual users, there may be a slight cost for “commercial/government users.” He wrote in, “Ultimately, the downfall of the Freemasons was giving away their stonecutting services for nothing,” followed by a tweet talking about imposing costs for tweeting.

Musk wants to make changes to the company’s Twitter Blue premium subscription service. (File Image)

He also added that “Some revenue is better than none!” which means he is likely serious about this. In fact, his proposal to banks when securing the Twitter deal also included plans to charge a fee when a third-party website wants to quote or embed tweets from verified individuals or organisations, as reported by Reuters.

The Tesla boss has also tweeted in the past about how he wants to make changes to the company’s Twitter Blue premium subscription service. He also posted and then deleted a tweet about reducing the website’s dependence on advertising.

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