Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Elon Musk Thinks Twitter Could Charge Third-Party Websites to Quote From Tweets

Elon Musk’s full plans for Twitter under his ownership — assuming he does not bail on the deal — are not yet known, but he has been gesturing at a few specific ideas. I worry about loosening moderation policies; anonymity does not seem to me to be as significant a motivator for uncivil behaviour as a community that tolerates it.

There is a growing theme with many of Musk’s ideas we know so far: they already exist, or they are patently stupid.

Mike Masnick, of Techdirt, who has been covering this acquisition with aplomb:

So, let’s look at Musk’s actual suggestions, phrased in the best possible light, and look at what Twitter has actually done and is doing… and again, you’ll realize that Twitter is (by far!) the social media service that has gone the farthest to make what he wants real, and in the few areas that he seems to think the company has fallen short, the reality is that it has had to balance difficult competing interests, and realized that its approach is the most likely to get to the larger goal of providing a platform for global conversation.

No platform has a perfect score of moderation and culling spam and I would love for Twitter to be better at both, but it is not for a lack of trying. Nobody wants a platform full of spam but, as Masnick explains, it is a vastly more complicated task than Musk saying “get rid of spammers”, as though the company has no incentive to do that right now.

Krystal Hu and Anirban Sen, Reuters:

Musk told the banks he also plans to develop features to grow business revenue, including new ways to make money out of tweets that contain important information or go viral, the sources said.

Ideas he brought up included charging a fee when a third-party website wants to quote or embed a tweet from verified individuals or organizations.

A bulletproof plan — if you disregard any other way of quoting from tweets. This is like a dumber and less plausible version of a link tax.

I am, for now, trying to set aside my personal feelings about Musk so I can just see him as a buyer of Twitter. His public statements are not comforting for the soon-to-be owner of this company. I guess the underwriters of the acquisition must see something I cannot; who can you trust if not an investment banker? But it does not look good so far.