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Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover: What it means for your personal data – National


After a lengthy legal battle and months of uncertainty, Elon Musk has finally taken over Twitter. And while Musk’s Twitter Acquisitions aren’t the biggest privacy risk right now, with some experts concerned about how the platform’s algorithms could change – controlling the type of content we see.

“The threat is not so much in number data Marion de Castelbajac, a data privacy consultant, told Global News.

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“It’s a big deal when a big player with a very specific agenda for humanity is holding a platform that is the number one platform for political discussion,” said Castelbajac.

“People are scared about how the algorithm evolves and how it sells Musk’s interests,” she added, noting that there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding Musk’s plans for Twitter.

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According to a blog on its websiteThe platform’s algorithm works around “a stream of Tweets from the accounts you’ve chosen to follow on Twitter, as well as recommendations for other content we think you might be interested in based on the accounts.” you interact often, Tweet you interact and more.”

According to Castelbajac, if Musk changes the algorithm, that could loosen content moderation rules to provide some protection against white supremacy, hate speech, and threats. threaten violence.

Musk, a technology expert and self-proclaimed “Chief Twit,” often makes contradictory statements about his vision for the company.


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He has described himself as a “liberalist” and made it clear that he doesn’t think Twitter is abiding by free speech principles – an opinion shared by Donald Trump followers and several right-wing political figures, who have had their accounts suspended for violating Twitter content rules.

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But what really drives Musk’s engagement on Twitter is unclear. His concerns with the service include arguing to make Twitter’s algorithm viewable by the public and expanding the availability of “verified” Twitter accounts.

When it comes to data privacy, Castelbajac says, “things are already so bad they couldn’t get any worse in terms of the data that will be processed, accessed, collected and collected” – an important The point is also shared by Florian Kerschbaum, a professor at the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo.


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Basically, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Google Mail, or another platform, Kerschbaum argues, it doesn’t make a difference in terms of privacy threats.

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“All of these systems are designed to collect as much data as possible… For example, we built the cloud essentially as a mechanism to track people,” Kerschbaum said. .

“And this mechanism is used not only by companies, but also by intelligence agencies and other government agencies… Elon Musk is a small player in this game.”

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He said the fear surrounding Musk’s takeover of Twitter was “absolutely irrational” and that more attention was needed to all the data being collected by intelligence agencies to spy on people.

“It’s a much bigger problem,” Florian said. The only risk, he said, is how Twitter under Musk will shape opinion.

Whether people stick with Twitter or not, Courtney Radsch feels selling Twitter should be seen as a lesson.

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Radsch, a senior fellow at the Center for International Governance Innovation, an international governance and technology-focused consulting organization, said: “It’s a wake-up call for people to think How much time, energy and intellectual capital do you want to invest in a single platform when it can be so unsettling? “


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Twitter is notorious for hosting hateful posts, and many users have complained about facing harassment and bots on the platform.

While Musk has been thinking about beating the spam bots and creating open-sourced algorithms to increase trust, Radsch told The Canadian Press that many of these ideas are still uncertain, suggesting that it’s an important reminder that a new leader can make radical changes to social media.

“People have spent a lot of time on the platform, creating their brand or growing their presence,” she said. “We still have to see what results his policies will lead to… but I think you might see some people protesting.”

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Radsch doesn’t think a critical mass will leave because no other platform works in a similar way or provides a similar experience, but she hopes more departures will realize the potential for data portability. How important.

Twitter users can download their data, but cannot easily transfer their network and posted material to other platforms.

“But I think this kind of anger (around Twitter) is felt by many users, illustrating why it is an important policy that should be developed sooner rather than later,” said Radsch.

Like others, Radsch also emphasized the lack of privacy on other platforms.


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For example, some users might worry that Musk has the ability to read anyone’s direct messages, Radsch said.

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While she insists she doesn’t think “anyone has enough time to see and read people’s direct messages,” Radsch warns that “without privacy safeguards… you should not expect that these platforms are there to maintain your security.”

Such concerns have surfaced since Twitter’s board accepted Musk’s $44 billion bid to take over the social media platform in May.

The controversial leader of Tesla and SpaceX, who is a Canadian citizen, has also tried to back out of the deal.

However, after taking over, Musk changed his Twitter bio to “Chief twit” and was seen walking into the tech giant’s San Francisco headquarters shortly before the deal for a sink porcelain after posting “Enter Twitter HQ – let that sink in”.

His first act is believed to have fired three of Twitter’s top executives – chief executive Parag Agrawal, the company’s chief financial officer, and the company’s top lawyer.

– with files from the Associated Press and The Canadian Press

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