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Rise in searches for ‘how to delete Twitter’ in the Musk era

Revealed: searches for ‘How to delete Twitter’ surge by 500 percent after Elon Musk takes over the platform.

Image: — © AFP Jung Yeon-je
Image: — © AFP Jung Yeon-je

Searches for ‘How to delete Twitter’ have surged by 500 percent, based on an assessment of Internet traffic, after Elon Musk took over the platform. Musk’s takeover signals a likely rightward drift for the platform, with many more extremist voices likely to be allowed on (or back for those who were banned for rule violations).

Cybersecurity experts at VPNOverview have revealed that searches for ‘how do I delete my Twitter account’ have risen strongly. The general search terms reflect users wanting to disengage from the social media site.

One user said: “It’s time to delete Twitter, the sooner the better”, as well as another tweeting, “to delete Twitter or to not delete Twitter…”.

Privacy Expert, Naj Ahmed, from VPNOverview explains to Digital Journal: “With regards to what the Elon Musk takeover of Twitter means for people, it doesn’t mean a whole lot right away, since it’s unlikely that we’ll see wholesale changes (at least on the user side of things) right off the bat.”

Ahmed adds: “This is quite different from most of Mr. Musk’s portfolio, as it’s one of the few times that he’s bought an established company that isn’t trying to push the boundaries of what’s possible.”

While things may not change radically in the way that Twitter operates, the perception is that things will later. As Ahmed explains: “Twitter’s not trying to revolutionise the way people communicate or disrupt an existing industry (unlike most of Mr. Musk’s existing companies). The company’s going through a change of hands, so controls might not be as stringent as they usually are.”

The most likely difference to emerge is the removal of the normal social conventions and filters that safeguard exposure to ‘hate’ and other unpleasant content.

Ahmed notes: “Here It’s obvious to say that content moderation might not be as robust as we expect it to be. With regards to what people can now expect from the platform, we can expect the return of certain popular figures who were banned by the platform. Mr. Musk has already specified his intention to form a content moderation council, which is interesting, since it’s likely to feature people with diverse political viewpoints.”

This leads Ahmed to continue: “One can definitely expect more openness in the type of content that’s published on the platform, for sure. There’s definitely going to be some nasty stuff (as evidenced already) making the rounds on Twitter, at least until controls are tightened.”

For those feeling nervous and wishing to opt out and move over to services like Mastodon, Ahmed cautions: “If you choose to delete your Twitter account, you’ll have to deactivate your account from under Settings and Privacy in your Twitter settings. It’s deactivated first for 30 days, and if you don’t log in, your account will be eventually deleted.”

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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