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8 Reasons People Are Mad About Elon Musk Buying Twitter

Photo: Rokas Tenys / Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock
Donald Trump, Elon Musk

One of the biggest acquisitions in the last few years has just taken place, as Twitter accepts Elon Musk’s $44 billion offer to buy the social media platform.

Musk’s acquisition and intention to go private is news on a completely different level. Many are debating the direction that Musk will take the platform and whether or not the changes that he makes will be for the better.

Needless to say, a man as divisive as Musk has plenty of critics who have been expressing upset over this latest addition to his portfolio.

So, let's take a look at what has riled people up about Musk's buying of Twitter.

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The 7 reasons why people are worried about what Elon Musk will do with Twitter.

1. Elon Musk intends to relax content moderation rules in the interest of free speech.

Musk claims to be an ardent supporter of free speech and wants to loosen the constraints on speech present on the platform.

Following the news of the acquisition, Musk said, “free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated.”

This doesn't sit well with some who believe that the relaxing of content moderation might open the door for misinformation, abuse, and harassment.

Many also believe that Musk’s own opinions and beliefs may influence the moderation rules, but Musk has, for his part, said that the platform will remain as open to his critics as to his supporters.

Why people support Musk for this: It has been a common criticism that Twitter cracks down on speech unfairly and some see Musk’s actions and acquisition as a chance for that to change.

To some people, no amount of free speech is too much free speech.

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2. Elon Musk may add an edit button to Twitter. 

Musk has hinted that he would like to add the ability to edit tweets after they have been posted. Twitter is currently a bit of an oddity as one of few platforms that only offers users the option to delete their Tweets.

While Twitter is one of few platforms that doesn’t currently support this feature, some prefer it this way.

An edit button could create the possibility for users to cover up or adjust Tweets, effectively rewriting history. If implemented poorly, many believe that this could be bad for accountability and honesty on the platform.

Why people support Musk for this: The ability to edit posts after they’ve been made is missed by many on the platform and would be a quality of life feature for those users, allowing corrections to spelling and grammar to be made.

Some people support the implementation of the feature, so long as there remains a way to access the history of the Tweet so that edits can’t be used to hide the original content.

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3. Elon Musk may launch a controversial war on Twitter bots.

In a tweet about his plans for Twitter, Musk wrote, “If our twitter bid succeeds, we will defeat the spam bots or die trying!” No one likes bots, but even this move has some people wondering what the cost might be.

In order to combat bots, musk wrote that they would verify human users, but he hasn’t indicated exactly what that would entail yet.

This has some wondering whether the process of authentication could result in some serious sacrifices in privacy.

Why people like this: Bots are a giant pain and some of the leading spreaders of harassment and misinformation. For some people, the privacy price will be worth a significant reduction in the activity of bots on the platform.

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4. Elon Musk is expected to prioritize Twitter's paid subscription model.

Another of Musk’s proposed changes is to move away from advertisements in favor of subscriptions in order to generate revenue for the platform.

While Twitter Blue already existed, Musk intends to lower the cost and increase the incentive for users to move over to the premium version of the service.

Ads are certainly annoying, but there are concerns that a focus on premium features could create a larger divide between classes of users and degrade the free user experience, either intentionally or inadvertently.

Why people like this: Ads are really annoying and everyone would be happy to have fewer of them in their lives. Twitter Blue users would no doubt enjoy a decrease in cost and more focus on premium users.

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5. Elon Musk is anti-union.

It is well known that Elon Musk is an opponent of unions, which makes the Twitter acquisition and the talk of changing moderation rules all the more concerning for union leaders on the platform.

Twitter has become an important place for union organizing as employees can speak outside of work settings, some fear that a Musk-owned Twitter could become a place where union leaders and discussion of unions, in general, becomes suppressed.

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6. Musk intends on opening up the Twitter algorithm to the public.

Musk has indicated that he would make the Twitter algorithm, which decides what content gets pushed to who, available to the public. This move would be in the interest of transparency and to help debunk claims of biases.

This has caused some concern, as an open algorithm likely wouldn’t be of much use, or even comprehensible, to the average user, but might be ripe for exploitation by companies and entities with the resources to hire engineers to understand and optimize for virality on the platform.

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7. Some do not trust Musk and his promises.

After the $6 billion promise to the UN World Food Program people eagerly awaited Musk’s response when provided with the requested expenditure plan. Then, in November 2021 Musk donated $5.7 Billion… Somewhere…

It’s not really clear exactly where that money went, except that by donating it, Musk will alleviate some of his taxes. The UN WFP has definitely not received anything from Musk and as far as anyone knows, the money was just donated to anonymous charities.

This all has the effect of causing people to be suspicious that Musk isn’t following through on his word, and that has a lot of people worried that he might not be totally transparent with what he’s doing with Twitter next.

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8. Elon Musk may reinstate Donald Trump.

A major question on the mind of both Musk's critics and supporters is what his defense of free speech will mean for one of Twitter's most famous censorship battles — the banning of Donald Trump.

Musk has stayed rather vague about his political leanings but if he plans to reduce censorship, revoking Trump's ban may be the most obvious — albeit controversial — place to start.

However, though Trump told Fox News this week that Musk is a "good man" he clarified that he has no plans to return to the platform.

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Dan O'Reilly is a writer who covers news, politics, and social justice. Follow him on Twitter.