What Can Elon Musk Do with Twitter?
27 April 2022
In spite of much sound and fury from the chattering classes, Elon Musk has signed an agreement to purchase Twitter for 46.5 billion dollars. Musk has long complained that Twitter is too strictly moderated. As the platform’s new owner, Musk has the right to run it as wishes. However, to remain Twitter’s owner, Musk will have to keep Twitter profitable enough to pay its creditors. Musk’s desire to liberalize Twitter’s rules may be in conflict with his prerogative to keep advertisers happy and revenue flowing. To “free” speech while maintaining Twitter’s profitability, Musk will have to accelerate efforts to decentralize the platform, seek other sources of revenue, or find a way to separate political demands from user experience concerns.Musk has used Twitter to troll critics and delight fans since 2010. He seems to enjoy the platform’s raucous, freewheeling atmosphere. However, the features that have made Twitter, in Musk’s words, “the de facto public town square” have also made it hard for the platform to maintain user growth or turn consistent profits. Not everyone wants to be the man in the arena. Twitter’s default openness makes it harder for advertisers and celebrities to avoid criticism and abuse.
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