February 3, 2023

Elon Musk wants to ‘authenticate all real humans’ on Twitter. Here’s what that could mean

4 min read

This secret proposal is vague enough to give people an idea of ​​what Musk has in mind but it is quite specific that it offers a number of possible avenues as he seeks to shape Twitter to his liking.

For example, Musk may try to require real names on accounts. Or it may continue to allow nicknames but requires image recognition, or integration with third party services where users already know.

Depending on the outcome, the project could have major implications for millions of Twitter users.

Musk’s campaign to “authenticate” Twitter users is due to one of its biggest pets with the platform: spam accounts, especially those that promote cryptocurrency scams. Finding these accounts hidden in the replies to Musk’s tweets is often not difficult. Many people even try to trade on his celebrity and attract unsuspecting people by imitating him.

It did not help. Summer 2020Musk’s verified account was hit by a massive Twitter hack that caused users, including former President Barack Obama and Kanye West, to inadvertently spread the bitcoin scandal. Cryptocurrency spam bots, Musk has. SaidRepresents Twitter’s “most troubling issue.”
Following Elon Musk's takeover, Twitter's leadership is likely to change

Musk’s diagnosis may reflect a particular type of user experience, but it is likely that the user will soon be able to control the design of the platform. As part of its solution to the fight against cryptocurrency bots, Musk wants to make it easier to separate the real from the fake accounts with his proposal of “verification of all real human beings”.

If the goal is to ensure that each account is linked to a flesh and blood person, the platform will need some way to verify that they are real. One possibility is an extension of Twitter’s existing verification program. Currently, Get a blue check. On their accounts, users must provide a link to an official website to which they are affiliated, an official email address or government-issued identification form. Musk can prevent the need for identification but requires users to use their real names.
He may also look for other ways, such as linking accounts to credit cards or relying heavily on them. Captcha To defeat Bots, Julian York, director of international freedom of expression at the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, said: (Captchas are not a cure, however; as bots have become more sophisticated, captchas had to be made More and more difficult To solve for humans which can be described as a race of technical weapons.

Whichever method he chooses, York and other experts say Musk could face challenges that fall into two main categories: access and privacy.

Accessibility is about making sure that everyone who wants to use Twitter can come to the platform. With a system that connects accounts to credit cards, for example, York said Twitter would release all those who do not have one. They may be too young to have a credit card or they may have low credit and may not be approved. They may not like to trade their credit card transactions with data brokers or they may prefer to use cash for cultural reasons. Certification with consumer credit would “exclude millions,” York said.

Then there is the issue of privacy. Although many users may feel that they have nothing to hide, a system that forces users to submit their personally identifiable information produces a single point of failure. Not only will more users have to rely on Twitter to prevent their personal information from being misused, but Twitter itself will use oppressive regimes (which can use legal requirements to force Twitter to provide information) or identity. Will become a major target for cyber criminals affected by theft. Cybercriminals have also allegedly posed as real law enforcement agents. Serve fake government requests. For tech company data. Twitter may promise to delete the records, but it is only reducing the risk to itself.

The issue of privacy is a particular concern for human rights groups, said Natalia Karpeva, an attorney for digital rights group Access Now, “especially for people in countries like Russia and elsewhere where individuals are critical of or critical of the government. There is a lot of torture to cover political events. Protests, corruption, or war in Ukraine. ”

Even the real name policy can be challenging. Facebook has some experience with this; The company was forced Make changes to its naming policy. In 2015, when critics pointed out that abusers and other vulnerable groups had good reasons to use nicknames. Changes to Facebook have increased the burden of reporting fake names and allowed users to provide the company with reasons why they avoid using their real names.

This indicates how complicated it can be to translate a simple-sounding principle, such as “verify all real human beings” into a functional product feature. The problem is not purpose or motivation. That is, human beings are complex creatures with personal circumstances that seldom fit neatly into cells.

York said that after years of trial and error, tech platforms have already developed important lessons about user authentication that could benefit Musk.

“If that just means something like captcha, I think he’s surprised,” said York. “He has talked a lot about how to get rid of bots, but Twitter has been trying to do that for years and I think he will soon realize that this is not an easy problem to solve. Is.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *