It was an announcement that shook the world of new technologies: Elon Musk, the emblematic and controversial boss of Tesla, bought the Twitter platform on October 28, for about 44 billion dollars. The billionaire, known for his tweets capable of bringing down the price of bitcoin and his eccentricities, has multiplied the scams in recent days, raising fears for the worst among users of the platform. Even Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey lamented the platform’s acquisition. “I know a lot of people are mad at me,” he tweeted a few days ago.
Elon Musk kicked off the anthill, in particular through a mass layoffs plan that would affect “about 50%” of his 7,500 employees. Last Friday, the platform’s offices were closed and thousands of people were notified by email of his resignation. For other employees, the shock was even more severe: some discovered, sometimes in the middle of the night, that access to their laptop or voice mail was impossible. The hashtags #LoveWhereYouWorked or #OneTeam flourished on Twitter, where former employees expressed their sadness and concern for the social network’s future.
Freedom of expression with variable geometry
Dissolution of the company’s board of directors, dismissal of the general manager of Twitter and some other high officials… In addition to the mass layoffs operated by Elon Musk, the billionaire rushed to assemble his new projects for the platform. Among them, the relaxation of the rules of moderation of the social network, with the aim of facilitating “freedom of expression”. The one who promised to create a moderation board has so far not changed a thing about Twitter’s current moderation policies. However, according to a study by Montclair State University, hate speech would have increased dramatically after Elon Musk’s acquisition of the platform. To many observers, Musk’s speech around free speech seems quite changeable according to his interests: for example, he announced a ban on unidentified parody accounts as such… while blocking parody accounts as revenge against him. .
Another point of contention for the new boss of Twitter: his willingness to do the certification on the paid platform, up to 8 reais per month. A way for him to become less dependent on advertisers and ensure more authenticity on the social network. In addition, this certification would allow those who obtained it to post longer videos and see fewer ads. An ad that didn’t please many users, including bestselling author Stephen King, who tweeted, “$20 a month to keep my certification? Fuck them, they should pay me! “. According to several sources within the company, the overhaul of the social network should arrive in the coming days, at the expense of exhausted employees, sometimes working up to 12 hours a day to keep up with the pace imposed by the new boss.
Mastodon, Bluesky: the exile of users to other platforms
On Twitter, the events of the last few days created a wave of panic among many netizens. And some have announced that they want to move to other platforms. Among them, Mastodon and Bluesky, which offer the same features as Twitter. Mastodon, which would now have over 670,000 subscribers according to the Guardian, would gain thousands of users every day. The platform founded in 2016 by the German Eugen Rochko allows you to publish messages of 500 characters, photos and videos. The only difference: on Mastodon, you have to choose your server to register your profile there, in a decentralized way. According to several observers, the exile of netizens to the Mastodon, however, is not guaranteed, the German network may not have the shoulders to replace the bluebird. And, above all, many internet users admitted that they found its operation quite complex.
Other alternatives to Twitter include Bluesky, a platform launched in 2019 by former Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. Available for now only in beta, the network has seen thousands of entries to its waitlist since the announcement of the acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk. Bluesky is also a decentralized social network, more designed for developers and other computer enthusiasts. In short, a much less intuitive platform than its historic competitor. It remains to return to certain historical networks: many Internet users referred to the reliability of the forums of the past, or to networks such as Tumblr, Reddit or Discord… What if the internet of the future rested on the internet of before?