(ORDO NEWS) — Billionaire Elon Musk’s cryptic proposal to “authenticate all real people” sounds vague enough. People are still wondering what Musk means, but he’s pretty specific about shaping Twitter more to his liking.
For example, he could require that the accounts contain real names. Or perhaps it could continue to allow pseudonyms, but require photo identification or integration with third-party services where users are already known.
Depending on the outcome, the plan could have big implications for hundreds of millions of Twitter users.
Tesla’s push to “authenticate” Twitter users is tied to one of his biggest annoyances: spam accounts that promote cryptocurrency scams. In addition, some scammers even try to trade on the Web, posing as him.
As part of his solution to combat cryptocurrency bots, Elon Musk wants to make it easier to separate real from fake accounts.
If the goal is to ensure that each account is linked to a living person. The platform will need some way to verify that they are all real.
Whichever method he chooses, experts believe Musk is likely to face challenges that fall into two main categories: access and privacy.
Access is to ensure that all people who want to use Twitter can get on the platform. For example, with a system that links accounts to credit cards, experts say Twitter will risk exclusion of all those who do not have them.
Maybe they are too young to have a credit card, or they have bad credit and can’t get approved.
Perhaps they don’t like having their credit card transactions sold to data brokers, or they simply prefer to use cash for cultural reasons.
Tying authentication to consumer credit “will exclude millions of people,” said Gillian York, director of international freedom of expression at the Digital Rights Group of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
There’s a lot to be said for how difficult the move to “authenticate all real people” can be, experts say.
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