First it was Twitter, then came rumours he wanted to buy out music platform Spotify, and now, Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk is eyeing up another social media site and yet another business venture.
The billionaire, who finalised his takeover of the bird app back in October, has now once again floated the idea of setting up a site to evaluate the work of journalists and news organisations.
Back in May 2018, Musk tweeted: “Going to create a site where the public can rate the core truth of any article and track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor and publication.
“Thinking of calling it Pravda.
“Even if some of the public doesn’t care about the credibility score, the journalists, editors and publications will. It is how they define themselves.”
‘Pravda’, which is Russian for ‘truth’, is also the name of a Russian newspaper which was the official outlet for the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
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Twitter users seemed to be on board with the idea at the time, with Musk putting out another one of his beloved polls and finding more than 88 per cent of accounts were in support of the plans.
\u201cGoing to create a site where the public can rate the core truth of any article & track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor & publication. Thinking of calling it Pravda \u2026\u201d— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk) 1527102773
Almost five years later, the entrepreneur has returned to his 2018 tweet and added: “Or maybe just X.”
His idea appears to have predated Twitter’s Community Notes feature, which launched in December and allows users to add context to “potentially misleading tweets”.
Contributors can rate notes on a tweet as ‘helpful’ or ‘not helpful’, and receive a score both on their ‘rating impact’ and ‘writing impact’ when it comes to their own notes.
While the replies are dominated with blue tick accounts – after Musk confirmed on Monday that verified accounts had now been “prioritised” on Twitter – supportive of the proposals, quote tweets show more of a mixed response:
\u201c@elonmusk But trolls and spambots could ruin it. Need a good plan to counter them\u201d— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk) 1527102773
\u201c@elonmusk WikiLeaks, which has a 100% record of authenticity, C-Span and other primary source sites should be at the top of such rankings. We have long wanted to do this also, but such a system is likely to be gamed by the most powerful player in inter-state conflicts.\u201d— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk) 1527102773
\u201cThe \u2018wisdom of the crowd\u2019 is not an objective standard. Just because a view point is popular, doesn\u2019t mean it\u2019s true. Who will do the verifying & how how will that be kept free from bias, bots, agendas etc?\u201d— m\u00f8shele k\u00f8enaite (@m\u00f8shele k\u00f8enaite) 1682401164
\u201cThis is one of the many promises @elonmusk made, and never kept. Instead, the alleged genius vastly overpaid on Twitter, and subsequently ran it into the ground.\u201d— BertelSchmitt\u2122 \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6\ud83d\udc89\ud83d\udc89\ud83d\udc89\ud83d\udc89\ud83d\udc89#fella (@BertelSchmitt\u2122 \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6\ud83d\udc89\ud83d\udc89\ud83d\udc89\ud83d\udc89\ud83d\udc89#fella) 1682403417
\u201cHonestly a terrible idea, the only ones willing to rate articles are probably terminally online gremlins that are ideologically invested in what each article states.\u201d— Time \ud83c\udf10 \ud835\udd6d\ud835\udd7d\ud835\udd72 (@Time \ud83c\udf10 \ud835\udd6d\ud835\udd7d\ud835\udd72) 1682386877
This isn’t the first time he’s taken aim at the media either, of course, as Musk has previously come under fire for incorrectly labelling the BBC’s account as “government-funded” and removing the New York Times’s blue tick when it said it wouldn’t pay for the privilege.
The BBC now has no label at all, while The New York Times now has a gold tick to say it is an “official organisation”.Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.