'Welcome to hell': Top tech news website says Elon Musk made a huge mistake

'Welcome to hell': Top tech news website says Elon Musk made a huge mistake
PETERSON AFB, Colo. - SpaceX CEO Elon Musk discusses U.S. space operations with U.S. Air Force General Terrence O'Shaughnessy, the Commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, April 15, 2019. During Musk's visit to Colorado Springs, Colorado he participated in conversations and round table briefings about future space operations and homeland defense innovation.
Economy

Elon Musk has officially taken over as CEO of Twitter -- and Nilay Patel, the founder of top tech news site The Verge, thinks he's going to regret it.

In a column titled, "Welcome to hell, Elon," Patel lays out all the reasons why managing Twitter content -- and political Twitter content in particular -- is going to be a headache that no sane person would want to take on.

"You f*cked up real good, kiddo," Patel begins, addressing Musk. "Twitter is a disaster clown car company that is successful despite itself, and there is no possible way to grow users and revenue without making a series of enormous compromises that will ultimately destroy your reputation and possibly cause grievous damage to your other companies."

He then went through the litany of challenges facing Twitter that have nothing to do with the challenges Musk has cited, such as an overabundance of bot accounts, and everything to do with politics and economics.

"You can write as many polite letters to advertisers as you want, but you cannot reasonably expect to collect any meaningful advertising revenue if you do not promise those advertisers 'brand safety,'" he explained. "That means you have to ban racism, sexism, transphobia, and all kinds of other speech that is totally legal in the United States but reveals people to be total assholes. So you can make all the promises about 'free speech' you want, but the dull reality is that you still have to ban a bunch of legal speech if you want to make money."

The other problem Musk will encounter, writes Patel, is that the user experience of allowing racist trolls to overrun a platform is absolutely miserable for normal users -- and so Musk is going to have to eventually alienate his newfound far-right supporters if he's going to maintain anything like a healthy user base.

"The essential truth of every social network is that the product is content moderation, and everyone hates the people who decide how content moderation works," he argues. "Content moderation is what Twitter makes — it is the thing that defines the user experience."

Read the entire article here.

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