Meta Guide #19 – Is it such a good idea for a billionaire to have all the control?
Tesla boss Elon Musk is now the new owner of Twitter. With a takeover bid of 44,000 million dollars (41,000 million euros), he has convinced the Twitter address of his goodwill.
In a statement, Musk said:
“Freedom of expression is the foundation of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital public square where vital issues for the future of humanity are discussed. I want to improve Twitter by introducing new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, fight spam bots, and verify everyone. Twitter has enormous potential. I look forward to unlocking it with the company and users.”
The big question is whether Musk himself can be trusted. Several times he has publicly shown that he is not very good at dealing with criticism directed at him as a person. For example, he called a British diver, who actively participated in the Thai cave rescue operation, a “pedophile” and a “child rapist” simply because he felt insulted. He also canceled California venture capitalist Stewart Alsop’s order for a Tesla Model X because his godfather had been too critical in a blog post about the latest model’s launch.
So is it a good idea for a billionaire like Elon Musk to have so much power and control over one of the largest communication channels in the world?
For the past two years, Sander Duivestein has been hiding in the world of deepfakes, fake news, conspiracy theories, influencers, virtual personas, Gen Z, memes, cryptocurrencies, NFTs, Web 3.0, virtual reality and the metaverse. This resulted in the book really fake outlining how the fake and the real are intertwined and how the fake might be worth more than the real. At De Metagids, he refers weekly to Marketingfacts about the impact of the Metaverse on our economy and society.
Digital Services Act in the works: Still need help from Musk?
Last weekend, the European Union reached an agreement on the so-called Digital Services Act (DSA). The law requires tech companies to crack down on hate speech, propaganda, and the spread of disinformation. The underlying algorithm must be made public, so that it is no longer possible to manipulate users in the future. Just think of Cambridge Analytica, Brexit, the Trump presidential election, and the influence social media has had on the smooth running of our democracy.
Finally, targeted advertising based on personal characteristics such as gender, religion or age should no longer be possible. Advertising aimed exclusively at children is even prohibited. A new supervisor to be established in Brussels must ensure compliance with the DSA. Fines can be as high as 6 percent of annual turnover. Experts expect this DSA, like the European privacy law AVG adopted in 2016, to have a major impact on the (digital) economy. Countries like the United States, Canada and Singapore are about to introduce similar rules.
In fact, steps are already being taken to break the hegemony of big tech and Musk’s “help” is no longer needed to take Twitter to the next level. From the beginning, platform companies like Google, Meta, and Twitter have had too much power in how citizens, businesses, and governments search, find, and use information thanks to network effects. Thanks to our likes, retweets, and selfies, these tech companies have been able to benefit from our data for years at no cost.
Governments should have intervened much sooner
Legislation and regulation should have forced the services of these platforms to serve the great public interest. These platforms should become protocols that everyone can develop as they please, so that profits can be shared much more equitably (also read about this the tweet by Jack Dorsey, one of the founders of Twitter).
Hopefully, with Web3, the underlying backbone of the next metaverse, these ideas will come to fruition and we can finally break the power of corporate Web 2.0. Concentrating this power even more now and putting Twitter like a toy in the hands of a narcissist like the megalomaniac Elon Musk is, in my opinion, totally irresponsible and a huge step back in time.
The media that colored the metaverse even more this week are the following:
1. Dancing and misinformation on TikTok
Dances and disinformation: how the war in Ukraine is experienced on TikTok “Since the war in Ukraine began, we have been inundated with news, images and opinions on social media. Nowhere is that rush greater than on the fast-growing TikTok. TikTok fact checker Marieke Kuypers explains why you also need to understand what’s happening on this platform if you want to start a conversation about misinformation.” I have been following Marieke Kuypers on TikTok for some time, a social media specialist at the Ministry of the Interior. In an entertaining and educational way, she constantly shows how disinformation spreads on various platforms and what is the difference between what is real and what is fake. The way she makes her videos is also very educational for me as a writer. The image and sound win more and more to the text. Definitely a person to follow.
2. Who makes money from the metaverse?
Who makes money from the metaverse? – A while ago, Mark Zuckerberg was very angry with Apple. No less than thirty percent of the app creators’ revenue flows into the pockets of Tim Cook and associates as a commission. Now it has become clear what the revenue model of Horizon, the Meta metaverse, will be: “The price is complex. Thirty percent will go to Meta Quest, the company’s virtual reality platform. Of the rest, another 25 percent will be cut for the Horizon Worlds metaverse platform. As a result, Meta receives 47.5 percent of the revenue.” Typical case of the pot calling the kettle black?
3. If you die, who will inherit your apps?
Who will inherit your apps when you die? † It is still an interesting topic. What happens to someone’s smartphone when the owner dies? Who has access to the apps, photos, videos, and other personal data on the device? We trust so much of ourselves to the device, after all, it’s the external hard drive of our brains, that I also wonder if we should want to know what’s on it. Doesn’t this give us a very intimate insight into someone’s deepest desires and thoughts? Shouldn’t it remain private also after death?