This week, Elon Musk revealed that he has purchased a 9% stake in Twitter, and has joined the company's board of directors. Media coverage has focused on Musk's pro-free-speech views, which will probably shape how he tries to influence Twitter. But there are also many other ways that we might hope to tweak Twitter for the long-term benefit of humanity!
Purchasing a prestigious, tastemaking institution (like a social media site, newspaper, university, or scientific journal), has repeatedly been proposed as an "EA megaproject". The common theme is:
1. We could buy influence over the "commanding heights of culture", then use that influence to either:
2a. Directly promote the effective-altruist worldview, like by publishing EA-flavored newspaper editorials.
2b. Generally reform and improve the rationality/functioning of those institutions, like by improving the practices of a scientific journal. (As a neutral public platform, Twitter seems best suited for this approach, rather than direct EA promotion.)
Elon Musk seems sympathetic to effective altruism, so with him on Twitter's board, we could consider Step 1 of a Twitter Megaproject partially accomplished, and get started on brainstorming specific potential reforms that Twitter could make. Personally, I think it would be cool for Twitter to add features that familiarize people with decisionmaking mechanisms like prediction markets and approval voting. But I'm sure there are other great ideas out there -- I know there have been several rationalist efforts (including this very Forum!) to design social media sites that promote especially thoughtful, productive discussion. What's your take on what Twitter could do for the long-term betterment of civilization?
Fwiw, there are tons of tweets that are genuinely toxic on Twitter - personal attacks, threats, and so on - that Twitter in my view currently does too little rather than too much about. Twitter may sometimes be too strict but the opposite issue is very much a problem as well. And I think that that view shouldn't be called "pro-censorship", which seems to me an unnecessarily value-laden term.