Commentary: Musk’s Twitter won’t die. Look at Telegram

Of course, the world of content is a grey one, and having no rules isn’t all bad. Telegram managed to avoid getting banned in Russia this year because it does nothing to misinformation, meaning it didn’t take down Kremlin propaganda about its “special military operation” in Ukraine, unlike YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

That allowed Telegram to become a rare gateway to the truth about the war for Russian citizens.

Importantly for Musk, having fewer rules is also cheaper, since you don’t need thousands of content moderators and policy staff to enforce them. While Facebook has an estimated 15,000 moderators, Telegram gets by with a few hundred.

Musk again is moving in that direction, having recently cut 80 per cent of Twitter’s contractors who were mostly enforcing its content rules.

In Musk speak, this is pulling Twitter back toward being more of a “tech firm,” where engineers and computer programmers are the rock stars, not policy staff. Sure, the latter have helped stop Twitter from undermining democracy, but they also weigh on margins.


There’s a few other ways that Telegram has preempted Musk. For example, Durov had a public beef with Apple in 2020 over its 30 per cent subscription fee two years before Musk did, and he also launched Telegram’s US$5 subscription in June, while Twitter will launch its US$8 fee in due course.

Ultimately, Telegram’s continued popularity dispels any notion that Twitter will die. Celebrities like Whoopi Goldberg, Jim Carrey and Trent Reznor, who’ve cited rising toxicity under Musk, will continue to leave, but many others will stay, and reconcile themselves with sitting alongside anti-vaccination influencers and holocaust deniers.

Source: CNA

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