Owner of Twitter after months of controversy, Elon Musk is now at the head of one of the most influential social networks on the planet, whose “extraordinary potential” he has promised to exploit.< /strong>
What changes to expect for the company and the platform from the multi-billionaire boss of Tesla and SpaceX?
One of Musk's first moves was to immediately fire Twitter chief executive Parag Agrawal, chief financial officer Ned Segal and chief legal officer Vijaya Gadde, according to multiple US media reports.
The billionaire entrepreneur will therefore have to find replacements for them.
“Musk is in the unenviable position of convincing seasoned executives to work for him on a platform he has publicly denigrated,” Jasmine commented. Enberg, analyst for Insider Intelligence.
According to Bloomberg, Mr. Musk will himself take on the role of CEO of Twitter, at least initially.
He will also have to clarify his position with employees as he plans to reduce the workforce by 75% (or around 5,500 employees), according to information from the Washington Post.
“The atmosphere within Twitter is tense, employees worried about layoffs,” Ms. Enberg notes.
“Product and even engineering teams could be upset,” she adds.
Setting himself up as a fierce defender of freedom of expression, Mr. Musk has repeatedly stated that he wants to make Twitter a kind of digital agora, where all opinions are free to express themselves.
He defended a too strict moderation of the contents, however concentrating the majority of his attacks on the supposed censorship of right-wing and far-right voices.
“The experts with whom we spoke suggest that 'about 600 people at Twitter itself, as well as thousands of service providers, are responsible for moderating the platform,' noted Scott Kessler of Third Bridge.
“Musk has publicly advocated for these actions to be driven by algorithms rather than people,” he continued.
Donald Trump is back?
The Tesla boss has also hinted that former US President Donald Trump, suspended from the network after the Capitol stormed in early 2021, may have the right to return.
Mr. Trump rejoiced Friday, on his own social network Truth Social, that Twitter was “in good hands”.
One of Mr. Musk's other concerns is the issue of fake accounts on the platform.
He had for a time withdrawn his plan to acquire Twitter, claiming that the group underestimated the number of inauthentic or automated accounts.
The whimsical boss, however, did not reveal what he intended to do to combat spam.
Another challenge for Elon Musk: improving the financial health of Twitter, which is showing slow growth and even posted a net loss in the second quarter.
In April, he discussed various options for generating more revenue: boosting paid subscriptions, monetizing the distribution of very popular tweets or even paying content creators.
In a letter published on Thursday, the entrepreneur called on Twitter advertisers to work together to “build something extraordinary”, emphasizing the importance of welcoming a wide diversity of opinions on the platform.
“Mr. Musk has indicated in his latest publicity stunt that he will do anything to attract new users to Twitter,” said Susannah Streeter, principal investment and market analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
“But he is going to face a huge challenge to maintain and generate revenue, given that the controversial opinions it seems to want to give more freedom to in this “global public square” are often disturbing for advertisers,” continues Ms. Streeter.
Some associations are also calling on big brands to use their influence to prevent Mr. Musk from offering a platform for the most radical speeches.
“Knowing that advertisements represent 90% of of Twitter, it is clear that the power to hold Musk accountable, if he overrides the platform's protections against harassment, abuse, and misinformation, is in the hands of Twitter's biggest advertisers.” NGO Media Matters for America.
Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7128