Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk suggested Twitter could be a platform where Tucker Carlson could prosper after the Fox News primetime host departed the network on Monday.
Carlson had been a fixture at Fox News since 2009, and had hosted his own primetime “Tucker Carlson Tonight” show from November 2016 until his final installment last Friday. Over the lifespan of the program, Carlson had attracted a large audience and led one of the most popular cable television news shows ever—often attracting more than 3 million viewers per episode.
Carlson’s departure from Fox News has sparked speculation about what he might do next. One America News Network (OANN) founder and CEO Rob Herring has already invited Carlson to begin discussing terms for joining his cable network. Megyn Kelly, a former Fox News host who now hosts a satellite radio show/podcast, told Newsmax that Carlson might go the independent route, saying “He will no longer answer to a corporate master. He will be free to say whatever he wants to say, within the bounds of defamation law, of course, and he’ll be totally unleashed.”
GRIT Capital founder and CEO Genevieve Roch-Decter waded into the speculation on Monday, suggesting Musk could have a massive impact on the news media environment amid staffing changes at several media networks and Musk’s recent acquisition of the Twitter social media platform.
“Tucker Carlson leaves Fox. Don Lemon leaves CNN. BuzzFeed News shuts down. NBC Universal CEO steps down. The media landscape is shifting fast. Twitter and Elon Musk are set to become the new frontier,” Roch-Decter tweeted.
In a subsequent tweet, Roch-Decter said, “Elon Musk should hire Tucker Carlson and start a video service to compete with YouTube.”
The Twitter billionaire had a different proposal, however, and replied: “Or we don’t hire anyone, but simply enable content creators to prosper on this platform without applying censorship that goes beyond the law.”
Musk’s X App
In the lead-up to his Twitter acquisition, Musk suggested that acquiring the Twitter social media platform would serve as a springboard for a bigger “X” app.
While Twitter began as a microblogging site where users shared their thoughts and provided updates about personal events or developing news stories, Musk has suggested that Twitter could eventually provide a far broader set of features. He has repeatedly compared his plans for Twitter to the popular Chinese app WeChat, which allows for text messaging, voice messaging, broadcasting, video conferencing, mobile gaming, and mobile payments.
“WeChat has a lot of functionality that Twitter should have,” Musk said in a December Twitter Spaces session. He said he wants to make it easier to process payments through the Twitter app and to have the app support long-form written and video content—”and to be able to monetize that easily.”
Musk has already taken some steps toward realizing his “X” app idea. Earlier this month, a court filing (pdf) from a lawsuit brought by conservative political commentator Laura Loomer indicated that Twitter Inc. had reorganized as X Corp, which itself is a subsidiary of X Holdings Corp.
On Monday, Musk also announced that Twitter now has a feature allowing content creators to enable subscriptions through the platform’s monetization settings.
It remains to be seen whether new content creator features on the Twitter platform will be enough to attract journalists and political commentators like Carlson, who may be better accustomed to working through a traditional news broadcast network than a social media platform.
Musk’s plans for featuring long-form video content on Twitter may also have to compete with other online video platforms, like YouTube and Rumble. For his part, Musk has expressed optimism that his plans for Twitter will work.
On April 24, Twitter user and investment consultant Matt Allen asked Musk whether monetization would work for content creators. “Elon, do you believe that Twitter creators will be able to make as much as YouTube creators in the future?” he asked. Musk simply replied: “More.”