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With Elon Musk’s Radical Ideas for Twitter, How Much Change Is Too Much?


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With Elon Musk’s Radical Ideas for Twitter, How Much Change Is Too Much?

The most recent among Elon Musk’s series of proposed changes to Twitter is his desire to increase the character limit from 280 to 1,000. Since taking over the platform just over a month ago, the new CEO has kept himself very busy. Musk has fired top executives and hundreds of employees. Employees have been instructed to work 12-hour shifts seven days a week. If they refuse, they risk losing their jobs. Among recent reports that over 5.4 million users data was leaked from the app, exposing mobile numbers and emails, chaos has descended yet again upon the Twitter community. The social network has also weakened its content moderation with half of the staff gone. A week before the start of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, out of the 100 tweets reported to contain racist language against the footballers, the platform deleted just one.

The platform itself has seen many changes in features, much to the discomfort of many users. Twitter now charges $8 a month for a blue tick, almost entirely invalidating the idea of verification. Previously, an account containing a blue tick indicated that it was an official account, belonging to a prominent personality. Now, anyone can have a “blue tick” account. The subscription-based feature also allows for posting longer videos and audio and verification priority in replies, mentions and searches. After receiving criticism, the company paused this program and even tried changing the shades of the blue ticks as per the account, but nothing seems to work.

Moreover, Twitter would previously welcome unregistered visitors through a start-up page. Musk has now instructed engineers to redirect logged-out visitors to the Explore page, which shows trending tweets and news stories.

Social media networks have a long history of bringing in unwanted features that users don’t receive well. Instagram received flack for its most recent notes feature. When the company announced that the app’s algorithm will prioritize reels over any other medium, it caused an uproar, especially among those creators who felt their content was getting sidelined in favour of reels. That being said, there have been positive additions as well. Facebook introduced a podcast feature and a Bulletin feature similar to Medium or Substack. Pinterest is taking measures in banning all ads and content related to weight loss, diet culture and body shaming.

Twitter still boasts a good enough amount of users, for now. However, they have made their growing distrust in the app quite clear. Hashtags like ‘#ElonMuskIsATroll’ and ‘#ElonIsDestroyingTwitter’ have started trending on the platform. And it is not just consumers who are having trouble adjusting to Musk’s revamping of Twitter. It seems that Apple no longer wants to associate with the platform either, for undisclosed reasons. In a series of tweets about Apple’s alleged censorship of his app, Musk has all but declared war on the company.

Only time will tell what this means for the future of both Twitter and Apple. But one thing is for certain – with changing ethics and a possible collapse of content moderation, many users are questioning whether the app will remain a safe space to continue being a part of.

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