Elon Musk now has control of one of the world’s most powerful social media platforms, Twitter, where he fired at least five top executives and put users and paid advertisers like Volkswagen Group and General Motors on edge concerning new policies all within the first few days of taking ownership.
Since the purchase, the New York Times reports Musk has laid off 50 percent of the workforce weeks before a promised annual bonus and announced a restructuring of the content moderation council, which is a group tasked with creating rules that guide the type of content that users are exposed to and decreasing harmful rhetoric on the app.
Changes to the app itself include reinstating former president Donald Trump’s banned account and charging users $8 a month to be verified or having the blue check mark that indicates authenticity for people and accounts, such as celebrities and public officials, and organizations, such as businesses, corporations, and universities.
Howard University students like Denilo Wrightsell, a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism, is a fan of the restrictions that help improve the quality and safety of the site for users but thinks that making the blue checkmark for sale can be dangerous.
“I feel like the filtering of misinformation was useful to some extent. A lot of bullying and harassment comes at the expense of false information and trauma-filled content. I think removing said filter only will add to the overall negativity that permeates in our society,” Wrightsell said.
Justin Lowe, a senior television and film major from Atlanta, is not hopeful for the future of Twitter following the new changes that are beginning to be implemented in the app.
“If ads bother you that much, I guess, but that is definitely going to hurt Twitter…seeing a bunch of people with blue checks and seeing more of their tweets who you would not regularly see. It’s really going to affect the content that we see which has already been a problem in the app, so I feel like people in our age group are going to leave because we don’t want to see our timeline cluttered with a bunch of stuff that we don’t care about,” Lowe said.
Ianna Fenton, a senior journalism major from Kissimmee, Florida, feels that the users will leave if they start seeing too many issues with how they interact with Twitter and even other apps like TikTok.
“It took me a long time to get on Twitter in the first place, so if I start seeing more changes to my content, then I will definitely have to leave the app,” Fenton said.
While Twitter may lose some users to dissatisfaction with the app, competition is already starting to rise with former Twitter owner, Jack Dorsey, releasing the beta version of his new social media platform Bluesky. Marca U.S. News reports the company said it will be “a competitor to any company that tries to own the underlying fundamentals for social media or the data of the people who use it.”
Copy edited by Alana Matthew