Elon Musk wants to make substantial changes to Twitter Inc.
In April, through regulatory filings, tweets and an interview at a TED conference, he indicated how he thinks about the company and what he would do if he successfully acquired the social networking site used by more than 200 million people worldwide.
On April 14, the chief executive of Tesla Inc. offered to buy Twitter with a $43 billion offer. In response, the company adopted the so-called poison pill, which makes it difficult for Musk to increase his stake in the company beyond 15%.
The board of directors has not yet formally responded to the details of the proposal. In the meantime, here’s a list of what Musk has said he’d like to do with the platform.
Musk, who calls himself a “free speech absolutist,” said in an interview during the TED conference on April 14 that Twitter is the “de facto town square” and that “it is very important that there is an inclusive environment for freedom of expression.”
He said Twitter should be more cautious in deciding whether to remove tweets or permanently ban users. Wait times are better, she added.
The platform should also follow the laws of the countries it serves, Musk said. And when Twitter makes changes to amplify or reduce the reach of a tweet, it should give users information about what happened, he added on this point.
Musk also advanced that he does not have all the answers. Twitter, for its part, has been trying for years to promote what it calls healthier speech on the platform, adding content moderation, partly on the grounds that it’s good for business.
Twitter users have long been asking for an edit button. In early April, Musk asked Twitter users if they wanted one. More than four million accounts voted, and more than 70% said yes. Twitter later announced that it was already working on an edit button from last year.
Musk reiterated his support for the edit button in the TED interview and pondered ways the platform could implement the feature.
Musk has stated in a regulatory filing that he wants to turn Twitter into a private sector brand.
“Twitter must become a private company,” he said. “Twitter has extraordinary potential. I’m going to unlock it, ”she added.
Taking Twitter off the public stock market would likely make it easier for Musk to implement his desired changes to the company, as much of the shareholder pressure would dissolve. However, Musk also said in the TED interview that he would want to retain as many shareholders as possible if he manages to take the company public.
In the TED interview, Musk suggested making Twitter’s algorithm open source, meaning that others outside the company can see and recommend fixes and changes. One way to do this, he explained, is to put the code on GitHub, a site used to store software projects.
Musk, in a flurry of tweets over the second weekend of April, suggested that Twitter give users who pay for Twitter Blue – a subscription service that adds extra features to users’ accounts – a check mark to show that your account has been “authenticated”. This would be distinct from the coveted blue checkmark that requires accounts to be authentic and notable.
In the same series of tweets, Musk posted that Twitter should shift to a more subscription-based business model. Currently, Twitter Blue adds premium features like “undo tweet” for a monthly fee of $2.99. Musk suggested that the subscription include the removal of all ads.
He has also proposed cutting staff and closing the company’s San Francisco headquarters. These cuts could be necessary if the company were to move away from advertising, which in the fourth quarter of 2021 accounted for about 90% of its revenue.
Musk, on April 18, tweeted that the board of directors might not receive any salary if his offer is successful, adding that such a move would save about $3 million a year.
Musk noted that one of his top priorities would be to eliminate “bot armies” on Twitter, which spam accounts and run scams.
“If only I had a dogecoin for every cryptocurrency scam I saw,” he said during the TED interview.
In an April 15 tweet, Musk advocated what he called long tweets.
He was responding to a lengthy Twitter thread from Yishan Wong, the former CEO of social media company Reddit Inc., who gave his thoughts on the status of the Twitter acquisition. Musk, however, did not comment on Wong’s judgment, but on the form he took.
“My most immediate conclusion from this fictional thread is that Twitter should have been posting long tweets by now,” he said, without offering further explanation.
In most cases, tweets can contain up to 280 characters, double the previous limit of 140.
Twitter refused to respond. Musk, for his part, did not comment further.
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What Elon Musk would do with Twitter – La Tercera