Elon Musk’s buyout of the social media giant has reignited debate about what’s next for the platform. Like their global counterparts, UAE Twitter fans are asking – should one delete the app or not? Or what’s the next best option, if not Twitter?
The board of Twitter has agreed to a $44bn (£34.5bn) takeover offer from Tesla CEO Elon Musk. The billionaire has promised many changes to the world’s digital town square, including eradicating fake accounts, several product enhancements, and defeating spambots. He has also pledged to authenticate all human users of the application.
What does this mean for the UAE Twitterati?
Some tech experts and web developers that Khaleej Times reached out to have said developers can tweak Twitter’s algorithm to eradicate bots, while some experts have said Musk’s move might be his first step toward the US Presidential race.
Jeetendra, a web developer working at a government media facility in Dubai, said, “Twitter can have an algorithm for tracking abusive language. These tweets can be tracked automatically. The application can hide these tweets as well.”
“Developers can also create coding to tackle fake accounts and bots. Such bots are made to boost political gains, for example. The application can give such accounts warnings in black points, and serial violators can eventually be banned,” Jeetendra explained.
Ajmal Poyakkara Mahamood, a digital expert in Dubai, said Musk had a tough time when he expressed himself on Twitter. “The points he mentioned about free speech could be positive for him. When a victim like Musk is the owner of a platform like Twitter, there is no chance one’s self-expression would be crushed,” he said.
Ajmal was also quite surprised by the takeover and believes that it is Musk’s first step toward the US presidential race. “American politicians actively used social media platforms such as Twitter during the last two US elections. Musk now has the digital world in his hands; it may be easy for him now,” said Ajmal.
It was a mixed bag of reactions for UAE residents as well. As a joke, several netizens came up with a transformed version of the Twitter logo where users had changed the ‘T’ of Twitter into the Tesla logo. Many also shared their desire for an ‘edit button’.
Asheem PK (@peekeymon) tweeted, “They do not need an edit button; however, something needs to be done to combat abusive bots and trolls.”
Another Twitter user, @saranyarustagi, said that the Edit button is required to eliminate all the fake accounts. “Maybe limit the number of hashtags/posts (joking, not joking!) Free speech is good, but I increasingly worry about online content and controls as a parent to two tweens. Will have to watch that space.”
However, Naif Ekkery, founder and brand strategist at WowStudio.io, thinks the billionaire could add a different twist to the platform. “He represents a personal brand of an intuitive individual with unpopular opinions, as opposed to Twitter’s image of a cautious organisation that claims to restrict only dangerous speech and behaviour,” he said.
“The decisions that Twitter takes in the next 6-12 months will help us assess the path it shapes for its longterm branding purposes,” added Ekkery
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