Elon Musk’s Reign over Twitter Is Right here: What It Means for You


Billionaire Elon Musk has brash notions for Twitter. Now, he wants to really make them a actuality. 

Late Thursday, Musk closed a deal to purchase Twitter for $44 billion, setting the stage for enormous change on the social media firm. His first order of enterprise: firing key executives on the firm, together with CEO Parag Agrawal. 

Musk’s takeover of Twitter has been chaotic as a result of he is modified his thoughts repeatedly about shopping for the social media platform. From the skin wanting in, the world’s richest man has been vocal about his lofty visions for Twitter’s future. Now on the within, Musk has to attempt to convey his wildest Twitter ambitions to life — or change gears but once more. 

For normal customers, which means the Twitter you as soon as knew might grow to be a factor of the previous. The corporate, nonetheless probably the most influential locations on the web, might begin including extra options resembling funds, evolving past only a social media platform. Content material moderation on the positioning might grow to be extra lax, making it more durable for customers to grapple with harassment, hate speech and different abuse.  

Already, Musk has tossed round a ton of aspirations, like defeating spam bots, morphing Twitter into an “all the pieces app” much like WeChat and ratcheting up progress to 1 billion customers. On the midpoint of this 12 months, Twitter had about 238 million folks utilizing the service day by day. Fb, by comparability, is nearing 2 billion. 

Certainly one of his most controversial solutions: reversing the everlasting ban on former US President Donald Trump, which was put in place two days after the lethal riot on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Twitter warned that Trump’s tweets risked inciting additional violence. 

However even earlier than he confronted the truth of proudly owning the corporate, not all of Musk’s concepts have caught. 

At one level, Musk urged a blockchain-based model of Twitter and floated the concept of turning Twitter’s headquarters right into a homeless shelter. He deleted tweets in April that really useful Twitter’s $5-a-month Blue subscription service take away all adverts for members, hand out authentication checkmarks robotically and let subscribers pay by the cryptocurrency Dogecoin. 

And Musk, who as soon as proclaimed he “hates promoting,” modified his tune on Thursday, tweeting an ode to entrepreneurs that “promoting, when performed proper, can delight, entertain and inform you.”

“Twitter’s advert enterprise is already on shaky floor,” stated Insider Intelligence principal analyst Jasmine Enberg. “Uncertainty arising from the weak economic system and Musk’s erratic conduct have led to advertiser pullback.” 

Musk’s legal professional Alex Spiro did not instantly reply to a request for remark.

Listed below are three modifications Musk retains pushing for at Twitter — and what that might appear to be for you:

Desires of an ‘all the pieces app’

Twitter might grow to be a platform that is identified for extra than simply sharing your ideas. The service has been attempting to fold in additional options resembling procuring and tipping, however Twitter hasn’t drastically modified lately.

Musk has stated he needs to create a service much like WeChat, a Chinese language messaging app that lets customers do all the pieces from make funds, play video games and store. He sees proudly owning Twitter as a part of this huge imaginative and prescient.

“Shopping for Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the all the pieces app,” Musk tweeted in October. 

If Twitter managed to tackle this form of Swiss Military knife id, that might imply you would be turning to the app not just for sizzling takes and memes, but in addition for meals supply and sending or receiving cash. 

That would imply that Twitter modifications into an app like WeChat or will get folded into a brand new app totally.

However to attain this objective, Twitter must attain a stage of dominance that it is by no means even approached. A part of WeChat’s success was that, when it grew to be ubiquitous, it loved comparatively modest competitors in mainland China in contrast with the state of web companies as we speak. Twitter, whereas persevering with to compete with different social networks like Meta’s Fb and TikTok, would want to start out taking over PayPal, GrubHub and others too.

WeChat additionally added its options over greater than a decade. Musk creating an “all the pieces app” would take years. 

Methods of creating you pay

Twitter makes most of its cash from adverts.

James Martin/CNET

Whereas Musk tried to appease advertisers on Thursday, he is made it clear up to now he isn’t the largest fan of promoting. Twitter’s dilemma is it makes most of its cash from adverts.

In late April, Musk advised banks he wouldn’t solely search for methods to chop prices however discover methods to earn money from viral tweets or people who included essential data, Reuters reported. He additionally urged charging third-party web sites a charge once they quote or embed a tweet from verified people or organizations.

Musk has additionally praised solutions that Twitter introduce a paid membership that features 24-hour customer support or give creators an incentive to publish to Twitter first by providing them a greater break up of advert income than rivals resembling TikTok and YouTube.

Theoretically, which means you may end up confronted with paying for brand spanking new companies, resembling getting an worker to assist get well a hacked account. 

Twitter has already been experimenting with the concept of memberships that unlock early entry to options resembling an edit button. However getting customers to pay for brand spanking new instruments and subscriptions on an app most have at all times used free of charge might be a troublesome promote, particularly at a time when inflation is propelling folks to chop again spending.

Shifts to expression and security 

Phone screen filled with Twitter icons

Twitter has guidelines about what customers are allowed to publish on the platform.

James Martin/CNET

Musk, an avid consumer of Twitter with greater than 110 million followers, has additionally been one in all Twitter’s harshest critics with regards to how the positioning moderates content material. 

“You will need to the way forward for civilization to have a standard digital city sq.,” he stated in a tweet on Thursday. “There’s at the moment nice hazard that social media will splinter into far-right wing and far-left-wing echo chambers that generate extra hate and divide our society.”

On the similar time, Twitter cannot grow to be “a free-for-all hellscape, the place something may be stated with no penalties,” he added. Musk has stated Twitter ought to solely police speech that is unlawful, however he has additionally vowed to defeat spam and faux accounts on the platform.

Whereas Musk has painted himself as a free-speech savior, leaving up dangerous content material might make informal Twitter customers extra cautious of spending time on the platform or sharing their ideas. 

His views on how Twitter moderates content material are already dealing with scrutiny from advocacy and civil rights teams. Critics concern his takeover will result in rolling again progress that Twitter has made combating hate speech, harassment and different offensive content material.

Paul Barrett, deputy director of the NYU Stern Heart for Enterprise and Human Rights, stated he is most involved about Musk’s resolution to fireplace Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s head of authorized coverage, belief, and security. Gadde did not reply to a request for remark.

“The hazard right here is that within the title of ‘free speech,’ Musk will flip again the clock and make Twitter right into a stronger engine of hatred, divisiveness, and misinformation about elections, public well being coverage, and worldwide affairs,” Barrett stated in an announcement.

On Friday, Musk tweeted that Twitter shall be forming a “content material moderation council with broadly numerous viewpoints.” Whereas Musk has stated he would reverse Trump’s everlasting ban on the platform, he additionally famous that “no main content material choices or account reinstatements will occur earlier than that council convenes.”

However within the US, if Twitter solely took down what’s required by legislation, it might be eradicating so much lower than it does as we speak. Twitter has a prolonged listing of guidelines about what is not allowed on its website — not all of it outright unlawful. Twitter should take down baby sexual abuse imagery, for instance, however the platform additionally removes tweets that include dangerous COVID-19 misinformation. Misinformation, regardless of how harmful it may be, is not essentially unlawful in nations just like the US. 

One other huge challenge is Twitter’s reliance on adverts. Companies don’t desire their adverts subsequent to offensive content material, a problem Twitter has run into earlier than. 

Some companies are already quickly pausing their promoting on Twitter. Basic Motors, a rival to Musk’s electric-car maker Tesla, stated in an announcement that it is speaking to Twitter concerning the path of the corporate.

“As is regular course of enterprise with a major change in a media platform, we now have quickly paused our paid promoting,” GM stated in an announcement. “Our buyer care interactions on Twitter will proceed.”

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