Elon Musk is shopping for Twitter for $44 billion right after the least attractive will-they-will not-they saga of all time. And even though Musk attempted to reassure advertisers yesterday that “Twitter naturally can not turn into a totally free-for-all hellscape, exactly where something can be stated with no consequences,” the acquisition raises sensible inquiries about what the social network’s almost 240 million active customers can anticipate from the platform in the future.
Chief amongst these issues are inquiries about how Twitter’s stances on user safety and privacy could alter in the Musk era. A quantity of prime Twitter executives had been fired final evening which includes CEO Parag Agrawal, the company’s common counsel Sean Edgett, and Vijaya Gadde, the company’s head of legal policy, trust, and security who was identified for functioning to safeguard user information from law enforcement requests and court orders. Gadde ran the committee that ousted Donald Trump from Twitter in January 2021 following the Capitol riots. Musk, meanwhile, stated in May that he would want to reinstate Trump on the platform and referred to as the former US president’s removal “morally bad.”
This afternoon, Musk wrote that “Twitter will be forming a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints. No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes.”
Content moderation has true implications for user safety on any platform, especially when it requires hate speech and violent misinformation. But other subjects which includes the privacy of Twitter direct messages, protection from unlawful government information requests, and the all round high-quality of Twitter’s safety protections will loom significant in the coming weeks. This is especially accurate in light of current accusations from former Twitter chief safety officer Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, who described Twitter as possessing grossly inadequate digital safety defenses in an August whistleblower report.
“Personally, I don’t know what to do, especially when you take Mudge’s whistleblower complaint into consideration,” says Whitney Merrill, a privacy and information protection lawyer and former Federal Trade Commission lawyer. “I’m just not putting any sensitive data or data I’d like to stay confidential into DMs.”
Twitter presents a tool for downloading all the information it holds in your account, and reviewing your personal trove is a fantastic initially step in understanding what facts the enterprise has linked to you. It’s unclear, even though, precisely how a lot handle you presently have more than deleting this information, and the policies could continue to evolve below the Musk administration. Twitter DMs, for instance, only offer you the selection to “Delete for You,” which means delete messages from your personal account, but not for other customers.
More broadly, Twitter’s present policy on account deactivation just says, “If you do not log back into your account for the 30 days following the deactivation, your account will be permanently deactivated. Once permanently deactivated, all information associated with your account is no longer available in our Production Tools.” It is unclear what precisely this indicates in terms of extended-term information retention and, once more, policies could alter in the future.