How does one “defeat the spam bots” on Twitter, as Elon Musk claims to want to do? Well, one way is by expanding authentication. But how far will Twitter run with that strategy while Musk is in charge?
That remains to be seen, but the Tesla CEO did drop a hint regarding his stance on authentication in a reply tweet posted on Sunday.
Authentication is important, but so is anonymity for many. A balance must be struck.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 1, 2022
On April 30, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee tweeted his hope that Musk would require all Twitter users to “use their real names.” The next day, Musk responded to Huckabee’s tweet with a reply that acknowledged the importance of both authentication and anonymity and noted that “a balance must be struck” between the two.
It was a short response, but an important declaration from Musk, especially considering his recent purchase of the bird app and the fact that some form of authentication is one of the features Musk has mentioned multiple times as a priority of his regarding the changes he wishes to see in Twitter. His reply is also notable because it provides a clearer picture of what he calls “authenticating all humans” may look like. This tweet indicates that, in Musk’s vision of authentication on the bird app, there might still be room for those who need to use a pseudonym to express themselves fully and safely.
The question of authentication is just one of many Musk will have to answer now that he’s taking Twitter private. He’ll also have to consider issues such as content moderation, an edit button, and how to generate revenue from the platform. And we still want to know how he plans to strike that balance between authentication and anonymity.