Elon Musk Says Twitter Could Have Multiple Modes For Different Experiences

Elon Musk's recent takeover of Twitter has split opinions, with some users excited at the prospect of a so-called free speech social media platform, and others worried that Twitter will become a hub of extremism and misinformation. The takeover and Musk's idealism have led to a kind of balancing act: Musk has to weigh up exactly how far he can take the free speech concept without alienating users and advertisers.

Just before the takeover was finalized, the world's richest man released an open letter aiming to reassure those advertising on the platform; it contained an acknowledgment that the platform couldn't become an anything-goes "hellscape," and a suggestion of how free speech could be offered without alienating people who wanted to just go about their day without being caught in the crossfire of a culture war.

Musk talked about a system similar to the one used to rate movies and video games. People who want to avoid violent or offensive content can opt for a tame PG movie. At the other end of the scale, you have the Restricted section, and there are ratings between the two. If a similar system is implemented on Twitter, theoretically users who just want to use the platform to look at cat pictures and tweet about "Game of Thrones" can do just that in safety, and people who want to go all in can verbally abuse each other in a kind of containment zone. Musk has reiterated this plan several times, so it's likely we'll see it implemented in some form. But other ideas are available, including one very unique one from a less famous Twitter user.

Musk is putting a moderation panel in place

Part of Musk's plan to balance free speech with the demands of a modern social media network involves forming a "content moderation panel" that includes members that have a "range of diverse opinions." The panel will meet before certain major decisions are made, including the unbanning of high-profile figures like former U.S. President Donald Trump. The panel will also have a say on "major content decisions," which will probably relate to Twitter's new terms of service. Before buying the platform, Musk seemed dissatisfied with censorship on social media. The exact composition of the council has yet to be revealed, and until it convenes, Twitter's terms of service remain exactly as they were before the takeover.

So far, Musk has been vague about where any line would be. The closest Musk has come to establishing what he sees as a boundary for free speech relates to national laws. However, Twitter is an international company, and countries have different laws regarding speech. In the United States, freedom of speech is constitutionally protected; in places like Afghanistan, speech could contravene blasphemy laws and get you executed. While not that extreme, some politicians have challenged Musk's plans already, citing upcoming legislation that could make a total free for all illegal in many places.

Twitter could become a text-based MMORPG

Not everyone thinks a moderation panel is the way forward for Twitter. Amjad Masad quote tweeted Musk's announcement about the panel and highlighted that it hasn't worked for other platforms. Masad said: "Facebook has a had a fairly diverse oversight board and both the left and the right are still upset at them. Losing game." Musk replied to the tweet, agreeing with Masad. In his response, Twitter's new owner again referenced a movie-like rating system saying, "Good point. Being able to select which version of Twitter you want is probably better, much as it would be for a movie maturity rating. The rating of the tweet itself could be self-selected, then modified by user feedback."

However, another user had a more unique idea. Cosmin Dzsurdzsa suggests introducing different "game modes" to Twitter where users can select an option relative to what they want from the platform. Dzsurdzsa recommends a "PVP mode" where users with "verified personal accounts" can "start beef and mob each other" along with an anonymous mode called "roleplaying twitter" that is only lightly moderated. Under Cosmin's plan, regular Twitter is heavily moderated and remains an option for anyone who doesn't want to get involved with the other "game modes."

Musk acknowledged that Dzsurdzsa's proposal "makes sense," though he has yet to release any details on his exact plans for the platform. Twitter has a large and diverse user base, so pleasing everyone is essentially impossible. Different levels of membership, whether it be an age rating system like Musk previously suggested, or the PVP options users have suggested, might end up being the best solution.