- Zoe Kleinman
- Technology Editor, BBC News
The moment has come that no one was sure would actually happen: after months of drama, Elon Musk announced that the $44 billion deal to buy Twitter is complete.
He released the big news on Twitter itself, of course. In the last few hours, the billionaire even changed the biography on his personal profile to “Chief Twit” (“Chief Twit, in free translation) and declared that “the bird is released”, alluding to the symbol of his new company.
There’s still no official confirmation of the deal, and the silence at Twitter’s headquarters so far has been pretty deafening.
But there may not be anyone there to send that email — Musk has reportedly already fired CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal and legal executive Vijaya Gadde, while chairman Bret Taylor’s LinkedIn profile suggests he’s no longer in the business. company.
But what will Twitter’s future with Musk look like?
‘A digital square’
Musk addressed potential advertisers in an uncharacteristically humble message shared on the social network on Thursday (10/27).
In the post, he spoke of buying Twitter because he wanted to “try to help humanity” and wanted “civilization to have a digital square.” He also admitted that the mission could fail.
The fact that Musk has written specifically for those who advertise on Twitter suggests that he intends at least for the time being to maintain the business model based on digital advertising.
The ad revenue strategy remains firm on Twitter, although this type of business is eroding at other digital giants such as Alphabet, which owns Google, and Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, as the global financial crisis grows and companies have less money to spend on marketing.
In the past, the billionaire has talked about wanting to lower moderation so more voices can be heard freely — Twitter has long been accused of favoring liberal and left-wing messages, which the company has always denied.
Musk may decide to bring back some of the more controversial users, banned by previous management. Is this the case with Donald Trump, former president of the United States, who had already said he did not want to return to the platform, or even Kanye West, a personal friend of Musk?
Can’t be sure about that. Musk now offers a narrower view, saying the platform should remain “welcoming”, obey national laws and not become “a free hell for all”.
West was banned for anti-Semitism and Trump was “permanently suspended” for inciting violence – which, in Musk’s most recent words, sounds rather hellish.
Spam and super apps
Musk has been infuriated by the amount of promotional content and fake accounts he believes pollute the site — Twitter has always disputed claims that the official number of users is too low.
He could order a mass account cancellation, although this would likely affect the number of followers, which could be an unpopular first move.
Perhaps the most intriguing hint about the platform’s future so far is about the new company being the start of “X, the everything app”.
He never detailed those plans, but many suggest Musk is referring to creating a sort of “super app” along the lines of China’s WeChat — a single space that contains social media, messaging, finance, food ordering… — in a nutshell, a great administrator of everyday life.
Other countries still don’t have such a platform, although it could be argued that Meta’s WhatsApp, and even Facebook Messenger, are quietly transforming into multi-purpose services.
Musk has made no secret of his love for cryptocurrencies and Binance, the world’s largest digital currency exchange.
Could we see a Twitter setup for businesses to accept cryptocurrency payments? This would be a hit with fans of this financial modality and a horror for those who warn about the risks of this choice, classified as unregulated and unprotected.
There’s no denying that Musk is visionary, volatile, ambitious and creative. With this, it is possible to guarantee that the changes will start to happen – and some Twitter fans already say that this could distance them from this social network.
“We wanted flying cars. Instead we have 140 characters,” wrote Peter Thiel, a technology industry investor.
Even in the face of the “expectation” memes versus reality”, we know full well that Musk can achieve both.
Have you watched our new videos on YouTube? Subscribe to our channel!