Two Questions For Twitter’s Future

Max Read:

[…] Put another way, the rest of Twitter will go like the whole verification episode did: it’ll be stupid and annoying for a while, then chaotic, then pretty funny, and then, at the end of the process, basically the same as before, but slightly worse.

Or, that’s how it will go if Musk works hard at rehiring a workforce and repairing the site infrastructure. The problem is that arresting and reversing the decline in functionality is going to take a lot of money and a lot of time. […]

The first question Read poses — how long can the public experience of Twitter continue to work in the midst of chaos and layoffs? — is, I think, less knowable and predictable than the second: how much money is Musk willing to sink into this thing? I would love to believe we win in any circumstance, but I do not think Twitter shutting down is a good thing individually or for the world; it is okay to like Twitter.

Besides, there is a very obvious third direction for the site to take: Musk’s policies could make Twitter worse. He has already promised shadow banning as a policy, which I think is less kind than reminding users of platform rules. It is possible a year or two of speed running website moderation will enable a bunch of awful people and spam while the site maintains comparable influence. If Musk has deep enough pockets, even a decline in advertising dollars may not dent his enthusiasm of owning a big social media platform. That would be an obviously worse outcome.