Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Tesla CEO and new Twitter owner Elon Musk have responded to suggestions to reduce anonymity on the social media platform. Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, a clinical psychologist, is among the users who want less anonymity on the platform, while Dorsey believes it would be a big mistake to impose a policy allowing less anonymity.
Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey discuss anonymity on Twitter
The question of how much anonymity Twitter should grant its users has been the subject of much discussion on the social media platform. Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, a clinical psychologist, is among the Twitter users who want less anonymity on the platform. On Friday, he sent a message to Elon Musk, who recently bought Twitter for $44 billion:
Don’t allow anonymous troll-demons to post with real verified people.
Peterson added: “Put them in their own hell, with others like them: LOL LULZ BRO BRUH hyper-users are narcissistic, Machiavellian, psychopathic and sadistic.“
In a follow-up tweet, the psychologist wrote: “And they drive polarization and destabilize the entire field of public discourse.“He further stated to Musk, “Virtualization enables psychopathy.“
Peterson’s original tweet garnered nearly 6,000 comments and 12.6,000 likes. Among those who agreed with him, Twitter user Lucid Fitzpatrick tweeted that he strongly agreed that anonymity on Twitter should be reduced.
Totally agree. We need less anonymity on this platform.
– Lucid Fitzpatrick (@Lucididy) November 18, 2022
Verification through the payment system plus phones, but allowing pseudonyms is the least bad solution I can think of
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 19, 2022
However, former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was quick to warn that reducing anonymity would be a mistake for the social media platform. Musk later clarified, “Verification through the payment system plus phones, but allowing pseudonyms is the least bad solution I can think of.“
Many people agreed with Dorsey that having less anonymity would be a huge mistake for the social media platform. Several bitcoin supporters stressed the importance of expressing opinions anonymously. One Twitter user described, “The reason we are anonymous on Twitter is the same reason Satoshi Nakamoto was anonymous.“
Another Twitter user opined, “Removing anonymity will kill Twitter. Anonymity is absolutely mandatory to allow freedom of expression and freedom of existence. Discovery, problem solving and learning, and investigative activities only flourish under anonymity on the Internet. Otherwise, they would be dead.” A third user noted:
Without anonymity, Twitter will absolutely die.
In response to Peterson, Dorsey and Musk, Microstrategy’s pro-bitcoin CEO Michael Saylor detailed, “ The problem isn’t anonymity, it’s the lack of meaningful consequences for malicious behavior. If Twitter asks verified accounts to post a bond and forfeit those funds for malicious behavior/bot/spam, we can have civil discourse & respect privacy.“