Elon Musk will soon be the new owner of Twitter. After grabbing a passive 9.2% stake in early April, Elon showed his interest in buying all of the Twitter. He officially put in a bid to acquire the social media platform, and soon, the SpaceX man and the Twitter board reached an agreement. Twitter will soon be run by Musk, which means that significant changes are on the way to the platform.
In his time as a normal user (and not the owner of Twitter), Elon has articulated time and again that he wants to change a lot about the social media platform. From open-sourcing the Twitter algorithm to combating fake news and bots to freedom of speech, Musk has a lot expressed a lot of changes that he would like on the platform, via his cryptic tweets. One of the changes he wants to implement, which caught everybody's eyes, is that Musk wants to "authenticate all real humans."
For now, it isn't known how Elon Musk plans to "authenticate all real humans" on Twitter or even if he will go ahead with his idea or not. But, we can see why Musk would want all the people on the micro-blogging website to be verified — Musk is frustrated with the number of spam accounts on the platform.
Elon Musk vs. Cryptocurrency bots
It all goes back to the summer of 2020, when a huge cryptocurrency scam took all over Twitter. A number of verified Twitter accounts, including former US President Barack Obama's, Jeff Bezos', and even Elon Musk's own, were hacked. These hacked accounts were posting tweets claiming that they would "double any BTC payment sent to [their] BTC address."
This was, of course, a fraud carried out by a group of hackers. Reports claim that the hacking group managed to dupe people of nearly $118,000 worth of bitcoins. This was one of the biggest publically carried out hacks in the history of Twitter (and all social media platforms), and Musk was pretty enraged due to the hack. Musk has even said that crypto spam bots are one of the biggest problems of the platform.
Crypto spam bots are the single most annoying problem on twitter IMO — Musk
But now things have changed. Musk will soon take over the control of Twitter and how it functions. One of the things he has constantly conveyed over the past few weeks is that he will do something about the crypto bots and spam accounts on Twitter. As a part of fighting spambots, Musk could ask all the users of Twitter to get verified — even if it becomes a huge nuisance for the company.
One of the ways Twitter could ask users to authenticate themselves is by using their "real names". He may as well ask Twitter users to put their actual photograph as their profile picture. Another possibility is to expand the current Twitter verification program. Currently, users have to submit a link to their official website, an official email, and even a government-issued ID to receive a blue check on their Twitter account. Musk could mold the existing system to verify all the users on the platform. The company could even partner with third-party agencies to verify users — the possibilities are endless.
Issues with "authenticating all real humans"
But, Musk could run into a lot of issues if he plans to go ahead to verify all humans on Twitter. One of the main problems Musk would face is accessibility. Social media platforms, including Twitter, are about accessibility. You can download the app, sign-up, and start expressing your thoughts, sharing memes, and reading news, in just a matter of minutes.
When you bring in the factor of verification, it increases the number of steps you need to go through in order to actually use the platform. These extra steps, if not implemented properly, drive people away from the platform — it could just be their will to not share their ID or just the lethargicness of uploading it or anything else. But there's no denying that extra verification step(s) drives people away. Even if Elon Musk plans to take a much simpler route, for example, verifying users through their credit card, it would still exclude millions of people.
And then there's the issue of privacy. A lot of people don't like sharing their data with big tech companies. And even if a user feels they have nothing to hide and agrees to share their personal ID with a company, Twitter, in this case, it becomes difficult for them to ensure that the data wouldn't leak during a hack. Twitter could then also become a target for repressive governments (who could legally demand Twitter to share the information) in case of criminal activities.
The list of issues can go on and on, and there are a lot of things that Elon Musk (Twitter) needs to look into before it forces users to authenticate themselves. What are your thoughts on Elon bringing human verification to Twitter? Let us know in the comments section below!
More coverage: CNN