Elon Musk and Twitter

Lots being written about this, most of it missing the point. In the short term, a single, very wealthy person controls one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. What can you do with this sort of platform? In the short term, promote your brand(s). Get people to buy more Tesla’s. But perhaps he has political ambitions. Can Twitter sway any election, anywhere in the world? Probably. So imagine your favorite (of least favorite) politician owning Twitter. Afraid yet?

And this talk of opening up the algorithm is a distraction. What I would want to see is the data. Who is getting what postings, and who is paying for special access (advertisements pretending to be postings).

What can be done? I dunno. Someone built a bomb, now you have to defuse it. Get rid of all anonymous and robot accounts? Flag paid content as advertisements? Apply laws for libel, slander, terroristic threats, etc. to postings. Basically arrest people who make threats to other people on line, as would happen in real life, on the phone or through the mails. Provide data on content accuracy. Flat earth people won’t get their message out, but is that really a problem? It will cut into Twitter traffic and revenues, though. Lastly, treat it like we have treated other public communication infrastructures, i.e. telephones, television, and regulate it. Make them do some or all of the things above.

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