What could happen in the world of technology in 2023?

After a turbulent year in 2022, the global tech sector is hoping for quieter times in 2023, but that may be wishful thinking.

Elon Musk’s controversial ownership of Twitter remains unpredictable and uncertain, with a new chief executive expected to be parachuted; the online safety bill has yet to complete its passage through Parliament amid concerns it will be watered down and the general economic climate remains volatile.

Here’s a closer look at some of the top developing stories to watch over the next 12 months.

– Elon Musk’s ownership of Twitter

After several turbulent and controversial months as Twitter’s CEO and owner, Elon Musk has said he will look to hand the day-to-day running of the platform to someone else, once he finds someone “silly enough” to take on the job.

It means the social media giant heads into 2023 shrouded in uncertainty after months of damning headlines about Musk’s handling of the platform and the wider company.

The saga saw advertisers withdraw from Twitter and even Tesla’s share price took a hit as trust in Mr. Musk in general declined during his chaotic tenure on Twitter.

Commentators have suggested that not much would change if and when a new CEO arrives as they would ultimately answer to the Tesla boss, but another person within the decision-making process could help steady the ship and reassure stakeholders.

Analysts argued that something needs to change, and soon, if Mr. Musk is to get the company on track – and 2023 is likely to see more substantial changes to Twitter.

– Online Security Bill

Now, more than five years after it was first proposed, the online safety bill has yet to become law and introduce regulation on the biggest social media platforms.

The government has said it hopes to pass the bill soon, meaning it is likely to complete its parliamentary passage in 2023.

But what will the final version of the bill that makes that trip look like? It’s already been substantially realigned by new culture secretary Michelle Donelan, who removed controversial “legal but harmful” duties and replaced them with requirements for companies to allow users to filter more content they didn’t want to see.

But some campaigners have argued that the rules have now been too watered down and will fail to provide adequate protections from online harm to internet users.

More amendments could still appear to try to provide more balance and crack down on harmful online content more, and the bill could even be delayed further if the debate escalates again.

The one thing all sides seem to agree on is that the bill must pass in 2023.

– Persistent economic uncertainty

The 2022 economic climate is unlikely to fade as we head into the new year, meaning potentially tougher choices for tech companies hit by rising costs and falling revenues as advertisers and consumers have spent less.

As a result, thousands of jobs have been cut in the last 12 months across the industry across Meta, Twitter, Snapchat and Microsoft.

One company to watch in particular is Meta — parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp — which is in the unique position of also spending billions of dollars trying to build the metaverse just as the economic crisis hits.

The metaverse push is a personal project of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who has redirected the company’s attention to the metaverse because he believes it will form the basis for the next version of the internet.

But if the economic winds continue to blow strongly against Meta, there may come a time when the company and Mr. Zuckerberg will have to rethink the multibillion-dollar investment into the program each year that the company is currently planning.

If so, Meta may be looking to redefine what it is as a company, yet again.

– Competitive watchdogs take on tech giants

Competition regulators around the world have grown increasingly bold in recent years in their attempts to challenge the biggest names in the tech industry.

The UK and EU are investigating Google and Apple’s app stores and ecosystems over concerns they promote their services over rivals.

Meanwhile, mergers and acquisitions are being scrutinized ever more closely: A verdict on Microsoft’s proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard is expected in early 2023.

And Elon Musk has joined the ranks of business owners to criticize the fees charged by app store operators to developers, bringing back a long noisy story in the minds of many regulators.

This new trust among regulators is aided by more laws being passed around the world to help regulation catch up with the digital age and digital economy.

It appears this newfound determination to crack down on the biggest names in tech is likely to continue into the new year.

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