Elon Musk, the proprietor of certainly one of Twitter’s most adopted accounts, is now its proprietor. On the proof of his tweets over the previous month, count on change on the social media platform. Listed below are a number of the largest points you possibly can count on him to handle.
Donald Trump’s account
Musk has described himself as a “free speech absolutist”, and the destiny of the previous US president’s suspended Twitter account represents a powerful check of that best. Trump was banned completely shortly after the Capitol riot in January 2021, as the corporate cited his repeated violations of the corporate’s guidelines and the chance of “further incitement of violence”.
Musk mentioned this month that he was “very cautious with permanent bans” on Twitter and would like a timeout system. However he has indirectly addressed the difficulty of Trump’s account, which had nearly 89 million followers.
Talking at a TED convention, Musk mentioned: “I think it’s very important for there to be an inclusive arena for free speech. Twitter has become kind of the de facto town square, so it’s just really important that people have the … reality and the perception that they are able to speak freely within the bounds of the law.”
Nevertheless, Trump was banned partially as a result of Twitter feared his tweets had been inciting law-breaking. Musk has to reconcile his free speech ideas with authorized actuality – and Trump’s historical past on the platform.
Nonetheless, one group of Home Republicans has urged Musk to behave.
A harder regulatory atmosphere
The social media business is coming underneath extra stringent regulation, notably in Europe. Final week the EU introduced the Digital Companies Act, underneath which corporations resembling Twitter, Fb and Google should do extra to sort out unlawful content material or face multibillion-euro fines. It is going to be preceded by the UK’s on-line security invoice, which requires social media platforms to guard their customers from dangerous content material and comes into power at in regards to the finish of the yr.
Within the US there are strikes for regulatory change, though they need to overcome perennial political gridlock. Legislative proposals in Washington embody creating a brand new digital security bureau on the Federal Commerce Fee and the creation of latest kids’s security necessities for tech corporations. The latter is co-sponsored by the Democrat senator Richard Blumenthal, who led an explosive proof session with the Fb whistleblower Frances Haugen final yr and has been vocal in his help for the larger regulation of social media.
Income and subscriber development
Twitter buyers have lengthy been involved with the corporate’s development in income and customers. In its most up-to-date quarterly outcomes, income grew extra slowly than anticipated, regardless of rising 22% to $1.6bn within the final three months of 2021. Nevertheless, day by day lively customers rose by 25 million over the yr to 217 million as the corporate reiterated its objective of hitting 315 million such customers by the top of subsequent yr.
In a since-deleted tweet this month, Musk raised the potential of eradicating promoting from the platform’s premium service, Blue, which is out there within the US and Australia however not the UK. Twitter makes 90% of its annual income of $5bn (£3.8bn) from promoting, so Musk was broaching a probably radical transfer.
Musk shouldn’t be the primary Twitter shareholder to specific issues about how the corporate is run. Elliott Administration, an activist funding agency, took a stake in Twitter in 2020, amid stories that it thought the platform had a distracted chief govt in Jack Dorsey and was not including revolutionary new merchandise shortly sufficient. Dorsey survived the preliminary stress however left in November final yr and his substitute, Parag Agrawal, was promoted to the highest put up from the place of chief know-how officer.
In a message to the Twitter chairman, Bret Taylor, Musk made clear that one other govt shake-up is within the offing if he succeeds in shopping for the corporate. “If the deal doesn’t work, given that I don’t have confidence in management nor do I believe I can drive the necessary change in the public market, I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder.”
Musk is CEO of Tesla and the rocket firm SpaceX, in addition to being the proprietor of the tunnelling enterprise the Boring Firm, so there are sufficient calls for on his time already. Tesla shareholders will need Musk to remain targeted on operating a $1tn electrical carmaker however it could be a shock if Musk is a hands-off proprietor of Twitter.
A potential edit button
There shall be adjustments at Twitter underneath Musk’s possession and an edit button is among the choices into consideration. In a flurry of tweets posted within the wake of his emergence as a 9.2% shareholder in Twitter earlier this month, Musk flagged the potential of introducing the function. The flexibility to undo a tweet posted in haste is out there to Blue subscribers solely, who’ve a 60-second grace interval after posting their tweet through which they’ll take away it earlier than it’s seen by anybody.
Twitter subsequently confirmed that it had been wanting on the edit button thought. Different adjustments recommended by Musk embody making Twitter’s algorithm open supply, which means customers would be capable of view the algorithm that curates what customers see. Musk has additionally mentioned that Twitter customers ought to be capable of see if their put up has been promoted or demoted.