Twitter has had to deal with numerous problems after Tesla CEO took over as the Chief Executive of the social media company. Several changes were made in the logistics of the organization after Elon took over the company. However, not all of these were welcomed by Twitter users. After the introduction of Twitter Blue subscription, the social media giant was already being bullied by all legacy account holders. Later when they started labelling media companies on Twitter based on their opinions, the platform faced severe backlash from several prominent media houses.
However, this continued in Elon’s reign, he is not to be blamed for all that’s wrong with Twitter. The labelling of media houses dates a few years before Elon acquired the social media company. At first when it was not extended to other countries, it still managed to anger the media houses based in the United States. Later when it was extended to other countries in the world, media houses in China and Russia expressed their displeasure over the new addition to the platform. In response to continued backlash, Twitter has finally removed the labelling as well as the tags from media accounts who were previously bothered.
Tags labelling media:
Although the step was initially taken by Twitter to promote transparency among its users about the information they were seeing on the platform, some users cited the labels as a
step to reduce foreign interference in political matters of the United States. Earlier, Twitter had also labelled a channel as ‘manipulated media’ which led to some believing that the move was politically motivated and that Twitter was singling out particular media outlets. The media labels that Twitter put have been cited as a form of bias against those media houses which weren’t the CEO’s favorite.
There are some important points that critics of the policy have cited. One of them argues that there is no set definition for state-affiliated media and that Twitter was exercising a form of censorship in a democratic country. The argument suggested that the term in itself is vague and Twitter does not make the grounds which make a media ‘state-affiliated’ clear. After Twitter flagged a news article as potentially harmful, several users accused the social media company of suppressing legitimate information in times of free speech.
Why this matters?
Unlike other things that Twitter has been involved in like layoffs or Blue subscription, labels for media houses had the capability of affecting a larger population of people. While layoffs affected those who were fired and their families, Twitter Blue subscription affected legacy account holders the most. However, the labelling of Media houses as state-labelled or government-affiliated and the flagging of particular posts as harmful could control the opinions of the vast majority of users on the platform. Media houses possess the ability to manipulate masses and so does social media. If either of them suppresses the views of people, the remaining views which were not censored will become the opinion of the majority. This could seriously affect not only international politics but also other things associated with the dynamic of an economy.
What Twitter did?
Previously, Twitter had made changes to its policies in response to the protests. However, any changes or justifications from the now Musk led company were not entertained by the public. Even as recently as this month, several prominent media houses were at war with the company over the status of their media platform which appeared on their Twitter accounts. In an exclusive interview with BBC, the reporter also brought up the point of the wrong labelling of the BBC on Twitter. Later, the company had listed BBC as a publicly funded entity. Twitter Chief Executive has always been in favor of the policy sometimes telling media houses that he believed they were tagged perfectly. However, with continued backlash from the media community and several problems lining up for the firm, Twitter has finally got rid of its tagging policy.