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What is Elon Musk’s plan for Twitter going forward?


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After months of speculation, Elon Musk has announced that his $44 billion (£38 billion) deal to buy Twitter has been completed.

He announced the big news on Twitter, of course, changing his bio to “Chief Twit” and declaring “the bird is freed.” As far as he is concerned, the job is finished.

There has been no official confirmation as of yet, and Twitter HQ has been deafeningly silent.

But perhaps no one is there to send that email – Mr Musk is said to have already fired chief executive Parag Agrawal, chief financial officer Ned Segal, and legal and policy executive Vijaya Gadde, and chairman Bret Taylor’s LinkedIn profile indicates he is no longer with the company.

So, how might Mr Musk’s Twitter look?

‘A virtual town square.’

On Thursday, Mr Musk addressed potential advertisers in an uncharacteristically humble message posted on the site. In it, he stated that he purchased Twitter in order to “try to help humanity,” and that he wished for “civilisation to have a digital town square.” He also acknowledged that his mission might fail.

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The fact that he wrote specifically to those who advertise on Twitter suggests that he intends to stick with its digital advertising business model for the time being. This is despite the fact that revenue for companies like Google-owned Alphabet and Facebook-owned Meta has begun to fall as the global economic slowdown bites and firms find themselves with less cash to spend on marketing.

He has previously made bombastic statements about wanting to loosen moderation so that more voices can be heard more freely (Twitter has long been accused of favouring left-leaning, liberal messages, which it denies).

Could he decide to reinstate some of the more controversial tweeters banned by the previous administration, such as former US President Donald Trump (who has previously stated that he has no desire to return) or his friend Kanye West?

I’m not convinced. Mr Musk now offers a more limited vision, stating that the platform must remain “welcoming,” follow national laws, and avoid becoming a “free-for-all hellscape.”

West was barred for anti-Semitism, and Trump was “permanently suspended” for inciting violence, which sounds like hell to me.

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Suggestions for spam and super apps

Mr Musk has been outraged by the number of spam and bot accounts he believes litter the site; Twitter has always disputed his claims that its official figure is far too low. He could order a mass cull, but that would likely have an impact on everyone’s all-important follower numbers, making it an unpopular first move.

Perhaps his most intriguing hint thus far is that his new company will be the beginning of “X, the everything app.” He has never elaborated on this, but many believe he is referring to the development of a “super app” similar to China’s WeChat – a one-stop-shop for social media, messaging, finance, food orders – in a nutshell, everyday life administration.

The West does not yet have such a thing, though one could argue that Meta’s WhatsApp and even Facebook Messenger are quietly morphing into multi-function services.

Mr Musk has not hidden his enthusiasm for cryptocurrency, and Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, is a proud supporter of his vision (according to the press release I received just after 05:00 BST).

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Could we see a Twitter account set up for businesses to accept cryptocurrency payments? That would delight crypto enthusiasts while horrifying those who warn that crypto is still a risky investment, unregulated and thus unprotected if something goes wrong.

We do know that Mr Musk is visionary, volatile, ambitious, and creative. We can guarantee that the changes will begin, and some Twitter followers have already stated that the change in leadership will drive them away.

“We wanted flying cars, but instead we got 140 characters,” said tech investor Peter Thiel long before the meme “expectations vs reality” became popular. We might get both from Mr Musk.

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