Today’s Cache | Musk Media

Today’s Cache is a daily column on the happenings in the world of tech and corporations.

Updated - April 11, 2022 03:51 pm IST

Published - April 07, 2022 02:57 pm IST

File photo of Tesla CEO Elon Musk

File photo of Tesla CEO Elon Musk

Elon Musk is a regular user of Twitter, and some of his tweets are also critical of the platform. In the past few weeks, Musk broached the idea of starting a new social media platform. He used the microblogging site to share his thoughts around it.

And over the weekend, something significant had happened. The CEO of Tesla became more than ‘blue tick’ user of the social media platform. He earned a seat at the company’s board after picking 9.2% stake, becoming the largest shareholder of the social media firm.

After announcing share purchase, Musk simply tweeted: “oh hi lol” on Monday. While he did not share any specifics around what he plans to do at Twitter, his past tweets offer some cues on where he will get started.

In March, he ran two polls on the platform. He asked his 80 million plus followers whether Twitter “rigourously adheres” to free speech. And a few hours later, he asked whether the social media site’s algorithm can be made open source.

An overwhelming majority of the nearly 3 million users who voted said the platform does not adhere to free speech, and that its code be made open. And these two responses could well be the areas Musk will plan to spend his time at Twitter as he is now on the the company’s board.

Musk’s immediate could turn to content moderation. His first poll came two weeks after the Twitter handle of a U.S.-based parody website, Babylon Bee, was taken down ‘for hateful comment’. The website had derisively awarded Rachel Levine, a transgender U.S. government official, the title “Man of the Year”. The site’s award was in response to USA Today naming the government health official “Women of the Year”. 

That piece of satire was posted on Twitter, which made the platform block the parody account’s handle. Reacting to Twitter’s suspension, Seth Dillon, the CEO of Babylon Bee, explained in a series of tweets that the platform would not restore the account until the tweet on Rachel Levine was deleted. Dillon refused. The site’s handle is now unblocked, but it has been kept from posting new content.

After Musk joined Twitter’s board, Dillon replied to the two-week old pool tweet on Tuesday saying, “Musk reached out to us before he polled his followers about Twitter’s commitment to free speech. He wanted to confirm that we had, in fact, been suspended. He even mused on that call that he might need to buy Twitter.”

And once Musk is through with content moderation, he may pick the algorithm part to decentralise the platform.

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