Another element of X’s pivot to video is coming, with creators soon set to be able to select the video quality that they want to upload in.
As shown in this example, posted by X designer Andrea Conway, along with a toggle to allow or disallow downloads of their content, creators will also be able to select variable upload quality, which could make it easier for people looking to get their videos up on the platform quickly, or in low data situations.
Which could be a rare consideration of users outside the U.S., with many X users in developing markets still not in situations that enable them to upload full HD content, due to network capacity, data plans, etc.
Though according to X owner Elon Musk users in these markets aren’t the main motivation.
The lower resolution choices are for those uploading time-sensitive video via a slow or expensive Internet connection— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 7, 2023
Well, maybe, but the main motivation is to hasten video upload time, as required, in order to keep X users updated on the latest info.
It could be a handy option to have, and with X looking to put more emphasis on video content, in line with broader content consumption trends, providing more options is another way to drive more usage, and ideally enhance X’s appeal to video creators.
You’ll note, also, the content warning option at the bottom. That’s already active, and X has been trying to push users to add their own labels on this front, particularly on violent and disturbing content.
Which has become more of a focus in recent days, as video content from various war zones flows into the X system. With fewer moderation staff to manage such, X is increasingly looking to put the onus on users to mitigate the risks, both by adding labels to uploads, as well as providing tools that enable users to manage their experience in the app.
We work around the clock to make X the best experience for everyone. And we know that it's sometimes incredibly difficult to see certain content, especially in moments like the one unfolding. In these situations, X believes that, while difficult, it's in the public's interest to…— Safety (@Safety) October 9, 2023
The problem with this approach is that a lot of people, especially new users, are likely unaware that they should be following the “Safety” account for official updates like this, or that such settings even exist. Which is why past Twitter management implemented more restrictions on such, but under Musk, X is seeking to take a more hands-off approach, again saving on labor costs, while also aligning with his own free speech ethos.
That could lead to some harmful situations, with users inadvertently exposed to especially confronting war footage. From one perspective, that might make sense, in that people should be aware of what’s happening, but it could also make users more hesitant to use X to follow such events, depending on their tolerance for graphic material.
But Elon is determined to make X the best source of truth on what’s happening, at any given time, which will involve allowing certain content to remain up, even if some users find it disturbing.
Is that a better approach?
The real challenge on this front is not so much that previous Twitter management implemented more moderation control over such, but why they did. In Musk’s view, this was all in the name of selective censorship, but over time, I suspect he’s going to find out that there was more to their decision-making process than acting in self-interest.