Photo credits: Twitter via unspalsh, scaled
Twitter is one of the biggest social media platforms we have out there to express our ever-changing opinions on topics and discussions across the world. For a couple of months now, the Tesla billionaire Elon Musk has been very critical of Twitter’s “free speech” persona not being so free and limitless.
When Elon Musk officially acquired Twitter in late October, he vowed to make changes to the platform that would promote growth of the platform itself, money and the actual ability to have “free speech.” In a series of tweets, Musk announced what he wanted to add to the platform: “Twitter will soon add [the] ability to attach long-form text to tweets, ending absurdity of notepad screenshots…Followed by creator monetization for all forms of content” (Tweeted Nov. 5, 2022).
He also announced, “Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended” (Tweeted Nov. 6, 2022), and “My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk” (Tweeted Nov. 6, 2022). Politics is a popular topic on Twitter, and when the legitimacy of proper “free speech” on Twitter is called into question, leaders from both the Republican and Democratic parties make their voices heard loud and clear right before the elections. Musk tweeted this, “To independent-minded voters: Shared power curbs the worst excesses of both parties, therefore I recommend voting for a Republican Congress, given that the Presidency is Democratic … Hardcore Democrats or Republicans never vote for the other side, so independent voters are the ones who actually decide who’s in charge!”
Musk explained on Twitter later that same day that he is an independent but has voted Democratic in the past and isn’t opposed to doing so in the future as well. Musk believes that right-wing and left-wing information and opinions shouldn’t be silenced on Twitter. Some people, in the past and now, have felt like Twitter caters to left-wing news, media and ideals.
Musk also alluded to the idea that users may be able to save videos directly from tweets; in a reply to a user, he said it was “coming.” Twitter also ruled out its new and improved Twitter Blue subscription service, which the company details on its website as “an opt-in, paid monthly subscription that adds a blue checkmark to your account and offers early access to select new features, like Edit Tweet,” and “The new Twitter Blue is currently available for in-app purchase on iOS only in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, with plans to expand.”
To be clear, all users are able to get the blue check mark with a subscription. Twitter also made it clear on its website “New Twitter accounts created on or after November 9, 2022 will not be able to sign up for Twitter Blue at this time. We are working on an updated process for new Twitter accounts in order to help minimize impersonation risks.”
With all these new changes and regulations, feedback from users has been both positive and negative. As a frequent user of Twitter, it’s something that I’m getting used to, but I can say my overall experience and enjoyment with the platform haven’t changed much, if at all. Growth is needed in anything, so the future of Twitter in Musk’s hands seems bright for now.
Isaiah Ireland is a second-year media and culture major and digital marketing minor. II978280@wcupa.edu