Everyone that watches television or uses the internet is most likely aware that Twitter just accepted billionaire Elon Musk’s offer to buy the social media platform and take it private. The price? Only $44 billion. The deal is supposed to be finalized sometime this year, and many users are afraid of the changes Musk may make. In fact, many Twitter account holders canceled or suspended their accounts soon after the news of the takeover broke on April 25.
The fate of Twitter’s policies, features, and appearance are unknown at this point, but this is not the first time that users have left en masse. For example, in early 2021, when Donald Trump was banned from Twitter, tens, or perhaps hundreds of thousands of users suspended or deleted their accounts. Many came back to Twitter, many went to other platforms, and many just never used social media to the same extent afterward.
Some users see Twitter as a day-to-day inevitability. Even though many users are exposed to abusive, angry, or harassing posts, they tend to be loyal to the social platforms on which they have grown a following and are used to.
Many users that close their Twitter accounts are moving to different or new platforms. CounterSocial, which is so slammed that it had to temporarily shut down to upgrade its servers, and Truth Social are the newbies on the net, while Mastodon and Reddit are also common sites for Twitter refugees.
It is important to understand what Musk plans to do with Twitter before abandoning ship. Even though he will not have total control for a while (right now he is a 10% shareholder), he has outlined what his ideas are for changes on the platform. Many users wonder if he’ll keep his word, some don’t care and are leaving just because they are not Musk fans, and some are not in agreement with the plans that he has voiced.
Musk’s main focus is on free speech, and he has said that he wants to relax the content rules, as he feels that offensive comments may not necessarily be illegal. He said, “If it's a gray area, let the tweet exist," at a recent TED conference. However, this potentially leaves the Twitter platform as a free-for-all, as long as the user’s post does not break the law. Illegal and unethical are two different things, but both can still inflict trauma and damage on users.
Another proposed change has been widely encouraged by Twitter users: Create an Edit Button for tweets. Currently, if a user posts a tweet and realizes afterward that there were misspellings or wording that needs to be changed, the only recourse is to delete the tweet entirely and then compose and post another. An edit button would allow users to fix or re-word their tweets in real-time and would cut out the whole delete and re-post hassle.
Musk is also thinking about sharing Twitter's algorithm for public consumption, in the name of transparency.
While most of the time, transparency is a good thing, releasing this algorithm may not be. As Twitter is a very large platform, it processes billions of pieces of data every day. While some advanced and expert computer/IT personnel may be able to understand it, the algorithm will most likely fall on
the glazed eyes of typical users, and experts say it most likely won’t make much of a difference in Twitter’s performance and policies.
Another part of Musk’s platform is to combat “Bots,” which are fake, programmed accounts that search for tweets on certain topics and automatically respond. This helps the bot’s creators, which could be an individual or a company, gather millions of pieces of data about users. Musk plans to eliminate these intrusive programs from Twitter.
Another point that Musk has addressed deals with advertisements. Currently, most of the revenue from Twitter is earned by ads, while using the platform is free for users. Musk has voiced the idea of charging users a fee in return for removing all ads from the platform. Twitter already has another tier to its service called Twitter Blue, which charges users $2.99 per month, and offers several special features, including no ads. Musk has said that he’d charge less for the service and that more forms of cryptocurrency would be accepted.
One of the biggest questions about the takeover is if Musk will allow President Trump back onto the platform after he was banned last year. Musk has not voiced an absolute answer, but Trump has said that he has no interest in getting back on Twitter, even though he has recently complimented Musk on his acquisition.
For users who still want to remove their Twitter accounts from the online app, deactivation is the first step. This is done by clicking on the “Settings and Privacy” option on the Twitter app. Click on “Your Account” and then click on “Deactivate Your Account.” As long as the account is not active for 30 days after deactivation, it will be permanently deleted. On the Twitter website, click on the “More” tab and follow the instructions above.