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Will Elon Musk Finally Expose Twitter’s Biased Algorithms?

Algoritmos de Twitter, El American

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Available: Español

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Elon Musk, who runs companies such as Tesla — a reference for electric autonomous cars, with scientific-technological innovation projects such as SpaceX, aerospace exploration; and OpenAI — is still considering the project to buy shares in Twitter.

At the end of April, an agreement was reached to sell shares valued at $44 billion. However, this financial transaction is currently stalled because there is some controversy regarding bots (namely fake and automatically programmed users).

This was a major move in the Big Tech environment, i.e. large technology corporations, as so many of us were not only expectant about the operation itself, but also about its background.

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On some occasions, Musk has had certain criteria of opinion opposed to the socialist movements and the wokeism culture — he has been aware, for example, of the demographic winter problem

In the same way, the entrepreneur has made a strong commitment in defense of freedom of speech on social networks such as Twitter, where based on the desire to consolidate an “official truth” through cancellation, the content of a conservative-libertarian, Christian, or traditionalist nature is often censored.

It is logical to maintain, then, a certain hope for those of us who consider that new technologies are a key factor in the cultural battle against collectivism, the “progre” and the prevailing socialism.

It is true that free-market, spontaneous in its totality, allows us to squeeze our creative vocation to propose other social media alternatives (the so-called Alt Tech for example). 

We must not cling to the solutions of large corporations as if they were the only answer. Competition is healthy, but if we manage to counteract the pro-green hegemony through financial means, it will be easier to disseminate good messages among a greater number of environments.

In fact, there is a very suggestive proposal from Musk, which is based on the publication of the algorithms that explain how the social network works. So, one wonders if this makes sense as well as is feasible.

Transparency in different senses

The famous, controversial and worrying mechanisms of ideological and intellectual censorship may depend on a Twitter algorithm, based on certain sentences and conditional data.

At the present, we do not know if this algorithm complements human action or if it is based on increasingly sophisticated and trained machine learning systems, with data sets based on existing sets of tweets of a specific nature.

Thus, the release of this algorithm would allow people to audit the operation and management of a social network such as Twitter. Releasing the code, on the one hand, opens the door to technical improvements and research and, on the other, reinforces transparency.

Nevertheless, nothing would remain there. Anyone interested in software engineering success stories or in the development of social media applications can extend their learning in the same way that they can learn about search and sorting algorithms. 

Then, it is obvious that a large window of opportunity opens up for the transmission of knowledge by third parties. One can study, for example, algorithmic complexity or propose various improvements beyond the use of application programming interfaces (APIs). 

Any developer or researcher can discuss or make improvements that do not necessarily affect what is most motivated by mainstream progressiveness, but by mere technical innovation (effectiveness, efficiency and additional, new or improved, functionalities).

A commitment to open source?

It may be somewhat exaggerated and hasty to say that Elon Musk has opposed intellectual protectionism within the field of computer engineering and other technological branches.

By intellectual protectionism we mean industrial patents and copyright licenses, which confer a monopoly on certain ideas to certain entities, censoring proposals for technological innovation of software and machines, inter alia.

We can talk about the so-called “intellectual property”. However, the fact that Musk has made a move in the debate of the pro-green hegemony of Big Tech and is in favor of code transparency does not make him an advocate of open source and free software. 

Musk is engaged in a battle and is responding to the concern of many people and institutions that try to use digital services with high rates of users with whom it is convenient to communicate in order to provide them with certain information.

He has responded to this concern by considering disclosing how a specific social network works, which, by the way, is not the only one that censors. 

Whatever the reason, the billionaire’s decision is a good one. Not only because of transparency in a broad sense but also because promoting open-source encourages innovation, competitiveness and creation, without protectionist, socialism or cronyism.

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