Tesla CEO Elon Musk listed several changes he would make to Twitter pending approval of a $44 million deal from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to acquire the social media platform.
The SEC cannot reject Musk’s offer to buy Twitter based on his vision for the company. However, the federal agency can raise objections to the transaction if it believes that Musk has not been forthcoming on required disclosure forms.
The SEC could take issue with Musk’s late disclosure of his stake in Twitter as well as his constant criticism of leaders on the platform.
But while his official offer awaits approval, here are some of the potential changes Musk could make if it is finalized.
Musk has been a proponent of a possible edit button on the platform, polling his followers in April about the potential change.
In that poll, more than 73 percent of more than 4 million respondents said they would support the edit feature.
Prior to the announcement of Musk’s multibillion-dollar deal, Twitter said it would test an edit button but noted that the decision was not from the poll.
“We’ve been working on an edit feature since last year,” Twitter said, adding, “No, we didn’t get the idea from a poll.”
Musk has also toyed with the idea of making Twitter’s algorithm accessible to the public.
“There is so much potential with Twitter to be the most trusted & broadly inclusive forum in the world,” he tweeted earlier this month, adding later in the thread that “algorithms must be open source, with any human intervention clearly identified.”
The Tesla CEO has also polled his followers about the matter. In a group of more than 1 million participants, 83 percent of those who answered the survey said they wanted the algorithm to be open.
Even back in March, before his deal with Twitter, Musk tweeted, “I’m worried about de facto bias in ‘the Twitter algorithm’ having a major effect on public discourse.”
“The algorithm needs to be open source,” he added.
Protect users from spam accounts
In the same Twitter thread about making the platform the most “trusted” and “broadly inclusive,” Musk said, “That is why we must clear out bots, spam & scams.”
“Is something actually public opinion or just someone operating 100k fake accounts? Right now, you can’t tell,” he tweeted.
In a perhaps even stronger statement, Musk said in April, “If our twitter bid succeeds, we will defeat the spam bots or die trying!”
Twitter, meanwhile, has claimed that spam accounts make up less than 5 percent of its users.
The billionaire has also suggested the possibility of allowing longer tweets on the platform, which is known for its requirement of 280 characters per post.
In response to a lengthy Twitter thread, Musk said his “most immediate takeaway from this novella of a thread is that Twitter is *way* overdue for long form tweets!”
Reversing former President Trump’s ban and timeouts
Since Musk announced a deal to buy Twitter, questions have swirled about whether the platform, under new ownership, would permit Trump to return.
Trump was permanently banned from Twitter following the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot. Before the ban, many of his tweets were flagged by the platform for containing false or disputed information pertaining to the 2020 election.
The decision by the billionaire to purchase the platform was hailed by conservatives who argued that free speech would be reinstated on Twitter.
Musk remains undecided on the Trump question, though he has voiced support for returning the former president’s Twitter access.
“Even though I think a less divisive candidate would be better in 2024, I still think Trump should be restored to Twitter,” Musk tweeted earlier this month.
Musk has reiterated this opinion off the social media platform as well.
“I think it was a morally bad decision, to be clear, and foolish in the extreme,” he said at the Financial Times’s “Future of the Car” event.
“I do think it was not correct to ban Donald Trump. I think that was a mistake,” he added. “It alienated a large part of the country and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice.”
In terms of bans more broadly, Musk has said he would be “very cautious” on permanent bans and thinks “timeouts” are potentially a better option.
Author: Monique Beals