On Thursday morning, June 16th, Elon Musk addressed Twitter employees for the first time in a Q&A session. During the meeting, along with addressing questions related to his potential takeover of the company, Musk revealed his plans for crypto-related causes.
The meeting comes after weeks of uncertainty about whether the deal will go through. Musk has previously warned Twitter that he could walk away from the $44 billion deal should the social media company fail to provide the data he requested on spam bot and fake accounts.
Fighting Crypto Scams
During the discussion, Musk stressed that his goal is to eliminate cryptocurrency-related scams on the social network.
“There’s definitely an ongoing challenge with Twitter with bot accounts and spam accounts. There are quite a lot of crypto scams on Twitter. It’s gotten better, but there’s still a fair bit of that. There are also people who are not necessarily bots, but they might be operating. You know, one person’s operating hundreds of accounts and trying to make them look like individuals, but they’re not,” Musk emphasized.
Twitter first became an arena for massive crypto-related scams in 2020, when highly influential profiles, including that of Musk himself, were hacked and used to advertise a fraudulent Bitcoin giveaway scam, resulting in the theft of $118,000. Scammers using impersonation to carry out phishing attacks is a classic tool used by bad actors on social media platforms in the modern day.
Musk had previously proposed adding an optional payments-based authentication system that individuals could use to prove their identity, and was asked during the Q&A meeting to clarify the matter, as the anonymity that helps scammers also shields human rights activists and marginalized communities. The authentication of users through this method has therefore become a highly contested issue.
Musk reassured participants that there would be no need for users to show their actual names on the platform in the event that his plans went forward. Even so, everyone would have to be “backend authenticated” by Twitter.
“At no point would I suggest that you have to be authenticated to use Twitter; it’s just that it would prioritize authenticated comments and actions on Twitter over unauthenticated to combat the bots and trolls. And essentially, it needs to be much more expensive to have a troll army. Whereas right now, it’s basically very inexpensive to have 100,000 fake Twitter accounts,” explained Musk.
During the meeting, Musk confirmed that cryptocurrency payments are one feature that could be added to Twitter as a way to “maximize the usefulness of the service” and “make using Twitter so compelling that you can’t live without it.”
“Your money is essentially a form of information. It’s information that allows us to exchange products and services without having to barter and allows people to shift obligations in time. But money is fundamentally digital at this point and has been for a while.”
Musk underlined that, in his view, the integration of crypto payments into Twitter would make the sending and receiving of money easier for all.