— Elon Musk is testing his content moderation plans for Twitter on the public’s response.
— He plans to form a council of people with widely diverse viewpoints.
— The new Twitter will further restrict content that you see to your preferences.
Although he has said that the old rules still apply, Elon Musk has a plan for a new kind of content moderation on Twitter. Before now, the platform had algorithms which flagged some tweets based on certain texts or media content. In addition to this, there is an in-house team that steps in when the issue is too sensitive for the algorithm to decide or to respond to reported tweets.
These measures have rubbed several users the wrong way and lead to many calling it a stifling of freedom of speech. As an outsider, Elon Musk must have had several ideas to rectify the situation. However, he is no ordinary user and with his wealth, he has been able to buy the platform, with the hope of making it into something he prefers.
Of course, his first letter to advertisers mentioned love for humanity and all that. The truth is that the new Twitter must be something the new boss likes. And as the saying goes, one man’s food, is another man’s poison. So, the idea that ‘everyone’ would love the new Twitter is a fairytale. Yet, Musk has said that the platform will not become a free-for-all hellscape. So, he has been testing some of his ideas to see how users would react to them.
A content moderation council made-up of people with widely diverse viewpoints
First, he said that the company’s content policy will be guided by a council, which will contain widely diverse viewpoints. This council will determine major content decisions and accounts reinstatements.
Twitter will be forming a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints.
No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 28, 2022
While this sounds like a good idea, it is already being used for Facebook content moderation (or at least that is what the company says) and the body’s decisions is still subject to criticism by people from different views of life.
Improved content recommendation algorithm
Although, it seems that Musk has a backup for this in mind. He said that, in addition to the council moderating content, users will be able to select their preferences and shield themselves from offensive content.
Being able to select which version of Twitter you want is probably better, much as it would be for a movie maturity rating.
The rating of the tweet itself could be self-selected, then modified by user feedback.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 29, 2022
Again, this sounds like a good idea but could lead to giving harmful or misleading content a home and a dedicated group of followers. For example, while 4chan is a forum for anime, video games, cooking, music, literature, history, fitness, and politics, it has recently become a ground for breeding extremists who pose real danger to people.
In response to this concern, Elon Musk agrees that tweets that include death threats and encourage harming others are not part of protected free speech. Therefore, it is expected that these kinds of criminal content will not be allowed on the new Twitter.
Yet, there is still a likelihood that the platform could lean one way or the other in the coming months because it is impossible to straddle the fence for so long.
Additionally, it is vital that Musk remembers that there are still some others calling the shots on what goes on Twitter, besides the board. Play Store, for example, has strict content policies that apps on its platform have to adhere to. There are also local laws that could determine what leaves or stays. It will be interesting to see how the tech boss navigates this tricky waters.
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