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Why Elon Musk has Suddenly Gone Ballistic on Twitter

The time Musk devotes to online disagreements "has expanded dramatically".

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Elon Musk, spacex
Musk quotes $1 bn to build tunnel under Australian mountain range. IANS

From attacking media to criticising nanotechnology researchers, SpaceX Founder and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has made Twitter his new battleground, mostly replying to users rather than sharing original posts.

According to a Quartz report, Musk has steadily moved away from original posts and retweets to engaging with other Twitter users.

“In May, almost 80 per cent of Musk’s Twitter interactions consisted of replies rather than original posts or retweets,” said the report on Sunday.

Over the last two months, Musk’s tweeting has quadrupled, surging to nearly 400 in May.

“Prior to this month, his average tweets per month was 88 going back to September 2015 (median 84). Something is clearly different, and it’s not just the sheer number of tweets,” the report noted.

The time Musk devotes to online disagreements “has expanded dramatically”.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

Amid all his firing tweets, Musk has been highly critical of media, and has even floated an idea of creating a media credibility rating website called “PravDuh!”

“The holier-than-thou hypocrisy of big media companies who lay claim to the truth, but publish only enough to sugarcoat the lie, is why the public no longer respects them,” Musk tweeted recently.

Reacting to a user, Musk said last week that he would love to roll out Tesla cars in India but the tough government regulations have forced him to apply the brakes on his India plans till date.

“Would love to be in India. Some challenging government regulations, unfortunately,” Musk tweeted in a response to a Twitter user who wrote “No Tesla in India” to him.

Also Read: Report: Twitter Users Who Joined Before Age 13 Facing Ban

“Deepak Ahuja, our CFO, is from India. Tesla will be there as soon as he believes we should,” added Musk, who has been talking about bringing Tesla cars to India for some time.

Although he has garnered more followers — from 21.6 million to 21.9 million — in May, the public’s appetite for his new combativeness may be waning, said the report.

“While the average popularity of each tweet should naturally decline as the number of posts rises (and more are buried as replies), the drop has been precipitous, starting a few months before Musk’s latest outbursts. Despite far more followers, his tweets are attracting fewer fans,” the report added. (IANS)

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Jack Dorsey Admits Twitter Makes it Easy to Abuse Others

Twitter last year said that making the platform free of abuse, spam and other things that distract from the public conversation is its top priority

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Twitter, India
Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on foreign influence operations and their use of social media on Capitol Hill. VOA

Admitting that Twitter makes it “super easy to harass and abuse others”, CEO of the micrblogging platform Jack Dorsey has said that addressing the issue in a systematic way is his biggest worry.

The platform is relying more on Machine Learning (ML) to identify abusive tweets as opposed to having people individually report them, Dorsey said in his TED talk this week, Business Insider reported.

“We have seen abuse, we have seen harassment, we have seen manipulation, automation, human coordination, misinformation,” Dorsey was quoted as saying.

“These are dynamics that we were not expecting 13 years ago.”

Dorsey also lamented that the system places undue weight on followers and likes.

“Right now the system makes it super easy to harass and abuse others,” he said, while adding that Twitter has created a “pretty terrible situation” for women.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

As part of the efforts to make its platform appear less toxic, Twitter this week also announced that it is planning to give people an option to hide replies to their tweets, thereby giving users more control over the nature of conversation they would like to have on the platform.

“Starting in June, we’ll be experimenting with ways to give people more control over their conversations by giving them an option to hide replies to their Tweets,” Donald Hicks, Vice President, Twitter Service and David Gasca, Twitter’s Senior Director, Product Management, Health, wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

While the feature has the potential to make trolls invisible, it could make it difficult for users to correct wrong statements made by others.

Also Read- 4 of 11 Tesla Board Members to Step Down by 2020

Other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram already give users much more power in terms of dealing with the comments to their posts, including the option to delete them.

Twitter last year said that making the platform free of abuse, spam and other things that distract from the public conversation is its top priority. (IANS)