DIn a recently published open letter to Twitter advertisers, Elon Musk said he wanted “to maintain a public place online where a wide variety of opinions can debate in a healthy way without resorting to violence”. We say to him: chick!
Twitter is today a social network that one could say atrophied by the few features it offers. Despite this and despite its low number of users, this network plays a considerable role in public debate, and therefore in the functioning of our democracy. Beyond the case of Twitter, we believe that social networks are still in their infancy, as they are limited by functionalities developed randomly from the ideas of their leaders.
Conversely, it is imperative to consider that what is at stake on social networks is in reality all of our social constructions and that, consequently, the evolution of social networks should be open to the proposal and to everyone’s appreciation. By giving more latitude to developers and more choice to users, we will not only be able to respond to the problems posed, but also enrich our social relations thanks to tools that we master, that we have chosen and that we can develop. For this, a path is needed: the opening of social networks.
Establish relevant regulation
Opening Twitter can mean several things. This may mean, to begin with, giving regulators, researchers and associations access to data that will allow us to better understand how the network operates. It is still difficult with the data we have to grasp how the mechanisms of propagation of certain information, of polarization or manipulation of opinion are created. It is very difficult to measure the number of robots among the number of users, or to assess the workings and effects of advertising. By imposing a much wider sharing of information on the part of social networks, the European regulation on digital markets (Digital Services Act) is an important step towards this opening. So, truth be told, openness will be imposed on Twitter by law. Which is welcome, because, as telecoms regulation teaches us, access to data is a fundamental step in establishing relevant regulation.
Opening up Twitter can also mean opening up the social network to everyone’s imagination and creativity. Today, we have access to Twitter only through applications and interfaces of its engineers or those approved by the company. We have almost no freedom to choose anything. Extensions available on some browsers, however, give us a glimpse of what other forms of recommendations on Twitter could look like, other ergonomics and thus give us a glimpse of what we could do if we were given the capacity.
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