Elon Musk has completed his $US44 billion acquisition of Twitter, promising to prioritise free speech and return the social media platform to "the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated."
The South-African born billionaire is the world's richest man as the CEO of SpaceX, Tesla, and now Twitter.
Twitter began redundancies among its 7,500-strong workforce last Friday, amid reports that Musk plans to fire about 50 per cent of staff. An email said: "In an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce on Friday."
He has updated his Twitter bio to read "Twitter Complaint Hotline Operator".
One of the most significant changes announced so far is that users who sign up to the Twitter Blue service can purchase account verification for $8 a month.
The policy change immediately raised concerns that the platform could be swamped with fake accounts, allowing journalists, celebrities and politicians to be impersonated by anyone willing to pay the fee.
RMIT senior data science lecturer Damiano Spina said the changes to verification would complicate information dissemination on Twitter.
"We know that with perception of information, visual signals play a strong role," he said.
"In terms of misinformation, if anyone can use visual cues like the verified blue tick just because you are paying for that badge, then that visual cue indicating a reputable source now means something else."
Some Twitter users have threatened to delete their accounts in protest at the new leadership.
There are few rivals to Twitter, unique in it's text-based microblogging output.
Smaller microblogging alternative Mastodon claims to have registered 70,000 new accounts since Musk's purchase was completed. Twitter has around 450 million monthly users.
"The decision of the new CEO to fire engineers will impact the robustness of the platform, which is arguably the only thing you cannot replicate easily on other platforms," Mr Spina said.
"Mastodon server managers will be struggling to maintain the reliability of their instances as the number of users grow."
Twitter's co-founder Jack Dorsey is beta testing a new app called Bluesky, but there's no launch date yet.
Donald Trump's right-wing social networking platform 'Truth Social' is a Twitter-like platform that had 1.7 million unique visitors from the United States in September, according to estimates from Similarweb. Twitter banned Trump in the wake of the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Mr Musk has made clear his intention to reactivate banned accounts in his pursuit of free speech on Twitter, with many speculating that Trump will return.
"I am very happy that Twitter is now in sane hands, and will no longer be run by radical left lunatics and maniacs that truly hate our country," Trump wrote on his Truth Social account after Musk's takeover.
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According to the Network Contagion Research Institute, hateful content has risen dramatically since Mr Musk's takeover, use of the N-word has increased by nearly 500 per cent.
Twitter's Head of Safety Yoel Roth said that since the surge in hateful content Twitter had removed more than 1500 accounts and reduced impressions on this content to nearly zero.
Some advertisers have paused Twitter spending as concerns grow that the platform may become overrun with hate speech.
Mr Musk has promised to create a "content moderation council" at Twitter with "widely diverse viewpoints".
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