Since Elon Musk took over Twitter in October 2022, many have been speculating about the future of the popular social media platform.
Musk has already made his mark on the tech industry with his innovative companies like SpaceX and Tesla.
But how has he changed Twitter?
In this blog post, we’ll explore the changes and developments that have happened to Twitter under Musk’s leadership as well as what then future holds for the platform.
How Has Musk’s Takeover Affected Twitter?
In his presentation at the Morgan Stanley Tech Conference, Musk mentioned some of the positive developments that the platform has witnessed since he took over.
Musk outlined that the platform has made significant in addressing hate speech, which has now reduced by more than 50% from the takeover.
He made a similar claim regarding searches for child sexual exploitation (CSE) content on the platform, which has now been reduced by 99%.
However, Twitter’s usage has dropped significantly since Musk took over. Recent findings revealed that more than 6% of Twitter users in the US are expected to quit the platform this year alone. And worse, it has been predicted that the platform might lose up to 33 million users worldwide by 2024.
Would Elon Musk Be The Right Owner for Twitter?
Whether Elon Musk would be the right owner for Twitter has been and is still a subject of debate.
On the one hand, Musk is known for his innovative and forward-thinking approach to technology, which could bring fresh ideas and changes to Twitter. He also has a strong social media presence and could potentially use his influence to improve the platform’s user engagement and growth.
On the other hand, Musk’s controversial behavior on social media and his tendency to make inflammatory remarks have raised concerns about his ability to responsibly manage a platform like Twitter.
Some critics argue that Musk’s unpredictable behavior could harm Twitter’s reputation and user base, ultimately leading to its decline.
But only time will tell.
What is Elon Musk’s Vision for Twitter?
Initially, Elon Musk’s vision for Twitter was not entirely clear, as he did not publicly share a detailed roadmap or plan for the platform. Rather, he only hinted at a few potential changes and developments that he would like to implement on Twitter.
However, in early March 2023, Elon Musk made public a detailed outline of his vision for the giant social media platform at the Morgan Stanley Tech, Media, and Telecommunications Conference in San Francisco.
At the conference, Musk gave insight into many key aspects, including his plans to drive further growth in usage of the app and mitigate hate speech as well as his ultimate vision to make Twitter a key app for payments and commerce.
Musk outlined the following as the goals he would love to achieve with the platform:
- Promote and protect public conversation and be the “town square” of the Internet.
- Combat misinformation and hate speech.
- Implement Twitter 2.0’s core principles, which are aimed at making Twitter’s content authentic, informative, entertaining, accurate, brand-safe, and democratic.
After mentioning some of the positive developments that Twitter has witnessed since he took over, Musk rounded off his presentation by revealing his longer-term vision for the platform, which is to make it an “everything app” that mostly revolves around integrating payments.
What Changes Has Musk Brought to Twitter, and What Are His Likely Next Moves?
Since he bought Twitter, Elon Musk’s way of running it has been as random as his timeline on the social media site. Here are the biggest changes he has already made or is seriously considering making.
Last October, Twitter fired some of its 7,500 employees amid reports that Musk ultimately plans to fire about 50% of the company’s workforce.
In an email to staff, the company said, “In an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global workforce…”
Musk is now the sole director of Twitter. As soon as he took over, he dissolved the board, including the chair, Bret Taylor, and a number of executives. Chief Executive Officer Parag Agrawal, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal, and Head of Legal, Policy, and Trust Vijaya Gadde were all fired.
Musk, being the de facto CEO, so has brought in a team of associates to help him run the business. These people include his personal attorney, Alex Spiro, and tech investors Jason Calacanis and David Sacks.
Changes to verification
Accounts of public interest on Twitter have a blue tick next to their name to show that they are truly who they claim they are.
Musk has hinted that he plans to charge users for this privilege. More than 230 million people tweet every day, and about 420,000 of them have the blue tick next to their name.
As part of a change to Twitter Blue, the platform’s premium service, Musk stated that verification will cost $8 a month. He tweeted, “Twitter’s current lords & peasants system for who has or doesn’t have a blue checkmark is bullshit. Power to the people! Blue for $8/month.”
Content moderation and account reinstatement plans
Musk has pledged not to modify content restrictions or restore banned users like Donald Trump until a content moderation council is formed.
Since the takeover, Twitter has reported a coordinated trolling effort by vexatious accounts attempting to portray the service as a hate speech free-for-all. The company’s director of safety and integrity stated 300 accounts had sent at least 50,000 nasty remarks.
Musk has talked about the idea of putting different kinds of content on Twitter. He said that Twitter users should choose which version they want to use, just like how viewers choose a movie based on its content rating.
Charging for video content
Reports also have it that Musk is considering charging for video content. People would be able to post videos, and users would have to pay to watch them, with Twitter getting a cut.
But the plan has been internally deemed a high-risk move, according to a memo cited by the Washington Post. The memo cited concerns over legal compliance, copyrighted content, and trust issues between creators and users.
Musk wanted to make sure that one thing didn’t happen: an exodus of advertisers. Since 90% of the company’s income comes from ads, the CEO of Tesla needs to keep them happy while he works on other ways to bring in more money.
So, as the takeover was coming to a close, he sent a message to advertisers saying that he would not allow hate speech to overwhelm the platform.
Can Musk Magically Turn Things Around?
The truth is, no matter how innovative Musk can be with his handling of Twitter, the number of the platform’s users will always be the major metric for measuring his success. This metric, unfortunately, hasn’t been looking promising since Musk took over.
Would Musk be able to turn things around? Would his innovations draw more users to the platform in the future? Only time will tell.