There is a repeated use of social media “for private purposes”, a personalistic and umbilical vision that blatantly neglects the nature of each platform. The beating heart of the algorithm is not the source code, as one might be led to believe, but it is the community of subscribers that pumps blood into the arteries. Comment by Domenico Giordano (Arcadia)
Only a few left until the poll closes Elon Musk launched yesterday afternoon from his Twitter account to ask users and followers whether or not the platform should readmit the former president Donald Trump. It is worth remembering that Trump’s profile was first suspended and then definitively canceled in the aftermath of the assault on Capitol Hill on January 6 of last year.
Twitter, whose governance had not yet suffered from the recent Muskian lobotomization, chose to delete his account accusing Trump of violating the rules of the policy on incitement to violence: “after reviewing the most recent @realDonaldTrump tweets and contextualizing them, analyzing how they are received and interpreted on and off Twitter, we have decided to permanently suspend the account to avoid further risks”.
A choice, however, not isolated that also shared Meta which “indefinitely” suspended the profiles on Facebook and Instagram and Google for the account active at the time on Youtube.
At the moment, the poll has collected over 10 million votes and sees a slight preeminence of those who are in favor of readmission, we are with a consolidated trend of 52.3%, against members who have instead expressed a negative vote, stuck at 47 .7%.
Probably, the final result will not overturn the current proportions between the two militant communities by providing Musk with the “democratic” pretext to reopen the doors of Twitter to the former president. Moreover, with a timing that is not at all casual considering that the survey follows in perfect synchrony the announcement of the re-nomination for the 2024 presidential elections made by Trump himself from his residence in Mar-a-Lago in Florida.
But Musk’s survey, beyond the outcome that represents the least interesting and important part of it, is a new step towards that process of profound transformation of the platform in the private sense, which began at the end of October.
There is an evident and repeated use of social media “for private purposes”, a personalistic and umbilical vision that blatantly neglects the ontological nature and essence of each platform. The beating heart of the algorithm is not the source code, as one might be led to believe, but it is the community of subscribers that pumps blood into the arteries. And this is the inexplicable underestimation that Elon Musk has made since the beginning of his recent Twitter adventure and that he still carries on today.
The community of subscribers must feel the platform as their own, with which it builds and cultivates a symbiotic and amniotic relationship. An atomized and at the same time holistic feeling that if it loses consistency, as unfortunately is happening, risks shutting down the intelligence of the algorithm.
This risk is apparent, for example, when Musk hierarchically and masterfully imposes followers to subscribe by paying 8 dollars a month to keep the blue check, i.e. that status which was not only free before, but which was created by listening to the opinions of the community . Or, when he threatens, as he has recently done again, to close all parody accounts or, again, when he invites American independent voters to go and vote for Republican candidates in the mid-term elections.
The gravest and least obvious danger of this curvature of Twitter’s social info-sphere is not for the democratic model or even for the sanity of decision-making processes. In truth, the personalization of the platform, in the image and likeness of its owner, could have the unexpected consequence of a massive exodus towards new social islands, because by spending 44 billion dollars Elon Musk has only bought an algorithm and certainly not the followers.