Twitter under the leadership of Elon Musk: what would Twitter look like if it was run by a billionaire Tesla and SpaceX

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Elon Musk made a deal to buy Twitter for $54.20 per share. So how will Twitter change under billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX?

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The social media giant confirmed on Monday that Musk has agreed to buy the company for $44 billion. Once the deal closes later this year, Twitter will go private.

“Free speech is the foundation of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the city’s digital plaza where issues vital to the future of humanity are discussed,” Musk wrote to his 84 million followers. “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by adding new features to the product, making algorithms open to increase trust, defeating spambots, and authenticating all people.”

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Elon Musk’s stance on free speech inflames conservatives

Musk says he is a “free speech absolutist” and has expressed concern that Twitter is straying from its roots as “the free wing of the free speech party.”

“I invested in Twitter because I believe in its potential to be a platform for free speech worldwide, and I believe free speech is a social imperative for a functioning democracy,” Musk wrote.

“However, after I made my investment, I now understand that the company will neither prosper nor serve this public imperative in its current form,” he continued. “Twitter should go private.”

And with that, Musk plunged into an overheated, divisive political debate over social media moderation.

On the one hand, the many restrictions on harmful or extreme speech are vital to free communication on Twitter.

“Twitter works because it has restrictions, terms of service, rules. A free speech board that has anything on it will immediately be infested with spam, scams, racism, Nazis, trolls with nothing else to do, and hate speech,” Conspiracy Theorist and QAnon expert Mike Rothschild. tweeted. “It would be useless and impossible to use.”

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Conservatives, however, accuse Twitter and other mainstream social networks, which they say are run by the liberal elite, of selectively targeting conservatives and silencing their votes.

These grievances only escalated after the attack on the US Capitol, when social media companies blocked the accounts of then President Donald Trump.

On the news that Musk had bet on Twitter, conservative commentator Brent Bozell, founder and president of the Center for Media Studies, tweeted: “Free at last. Free at last. Conservatives can finally be free!”

Analysts warn that Twitter’s transformation into public free speech could harm its business. They say that if it wasn’t for the buffering of hateful, offensive, or extremist messages, individual users would be less likely to use Twitter.

Advertisers and publishers, worried that their posts will be accompanied by problematic posts, also want content standards, according to GroupM analyst Brian Vizer, even if that means the platform has fewer users and is less popular.

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“We think Twitter’s free speech absolutism and Musk’s preference will likely lead to a worse business and a worse platform for big brand advertising, even if Musk can otherwise find ways to increase usage or user numbers on the platform,” Wieser wrote in an email. blog post.

Analyst at Wedbush Securities Dan Ives says limiting content moderation will spark “a political firestorm with Ring Road leaders all the way to Brussels.”

“The last thing some of them would like to see is that Musk owns Twitter,” Ives said in an interview with USA TODAY.

Will misinformation spread on Twitter if Musk takes responsibility? Baird analyst Colin Sebastian says Musk has been highly critical of content restrictions that Twitter considers misinformation, including COVID-19.

“He has also publicly advocated tweet editing tools, possibly because Musk removed many tweets containing controversial or offensive content,” Sebastian wrote in a research note.

The reinstatement of former President Donald Trump could also be a factor, but Sebastian says “we believe Musk has big ambitions.”

Will Elon Musk get rid of ads on Twitter?

Musk’s recent tweets suggest that he is interested in the subscription business and is not a big fan of ads.

Twitter’s subscription business called Twitter Blue provides power users with additional features. Musk said he would cut the price of Twitter Blue from $3 to $2 a month and charge upfront for a yearly subscription.

In return, Twitter Blue users will receive a blue tick (and a guaranteed ban if the account is used for spamming).

Musk said he would ban ads on Twitter Blue because “the power of corporations to dictate policy is greatly enhanced if Twitter depends on advertising money to survive.”

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Is Musk suggesting that Twitter end its reliance on ads? This would be difficult to implement in the short term.

Musk will likely focus on ad-free Twitter Blue first to build a subscription business with an eye to phasing out Twitter’s business of showing ads to users.

Twitter’s advertising business has not kept up with its social media competitors. Twitter only holds 1.1% of the digital advertising market in the US. according to eMarketer. According to Insider Intelligence’s eMarketer forecast, growth of 1.2% is expected next year.

Some analysts suggest that Musk is banking on power users like himself — the ones with the most followers — to get more people on Twitter. Musk recently said that the most popular Twitter accounts rarely tweet.

“We believe that increased efforts to remove spam content will ultimately result in increased user engagement and reduced churn,” Jefferies Research analyst Brent Till wrote in a research note. “In addition, further investment in the health of the platform could also increase the activity of the most popular accounts.”

Elon Musk may be hunting for your Twitter data

Musk said he wouldn’t make excessive changes to Twitter, but would rather have access to user data if he was running the company. Karen NorthUniversity of Southern California professor and social media expert.

“I think this is something he would like to capitalize on. Musk is more interested in data than instant messaging on Twitter,” North said. “If we were to go into business, which would you prefer: data or a messaging platform? Let’s go with the data.”

North said she is “not yet concerned that it will create a more toxic environment” because all social platforms have similar issues that need to be addressed seriously.

“Musk can make life easier for users and it can be worse and things can change, but he likes to be in control and be able to speak his way and others. This is in line with his behavior pattern,” North said. “He is the master of the message, and he may want to control how it comes out, big and small.

“And he wants to track it, all of it.”

Terry Collins is a financial and tech reporter and can be contacted at [email protected]

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