Twitter owner Elon Musk told advertisers on Wednesday that he wants the social media platform to “be a force that moves civilization in a positive direction.”
The billionaire industrialist hosted an hour-long Twitter Spaces session with representatives from several major companies, including Adidas, Nissan, and Walgreens. Since it was also a public event, approximately 100,000 users were in attendance.
Musk discussed his plans for user verification, content moderation, and a broad array of features that could be added to Twitter, including banking. He explained that a measurement of success would be if his actions were leading to growth in both users and advertising, something that so far has been mixed.
According to The Verge, which obtained an internal memo, Twitter’s daily-user growth reached “all-time highs” during the first full week of Musk owning the social media platform. This development was also echoed in the call. At the same time, Musk previously posted a tweet in which he noted that he has seen a “massive drop in revenue” as more advertisers pause spending on the website.
IPG, one of the world’s biggest advertising firms, which represents companies like American Express, Coca-Cola, and Spotify, recommended that its clients suspend any Twitter spending due to moderation concerns. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that several major brands have paused their Twitter ads, including Audi, GM, General Mills, and Pfizer. Mondelez and Volkswagen also revealed that they are taking another look at their ad spending on the website.
But Musk is asking everyone to give Twitter a chance as it evolves.
“I understand if people want to give it a minute and see how things are evolving,” he said. “But really, the best way to see how things are evolving is just use Twitter. And see how your experience has changed. Is it better? Is it worse?”
He further explained that “having hate speech next to an ad” is not a great idea.
“We all kind of work hard to make sure that there’s not bad stuff right next to an ad,” Musk stated, adding that Twitter’s policy is still to limit the reach of hateful content.
“There’s a big difference between freedom of speech and freedom of reach,” Musk said. “If you’re just worried about a time square right now, there’s gonna be something somebody’s saying something crazy, but we don’t throw them in prison for that. We also don’t give them up and put them on a gigantic billboard in Times Square.”
In addition, the CEO formerly known as “Chief Twit” (Musk is now “Twitter complaint hotline operator”) told advertisers that the company would suspend accounts that “engaged in trickery” or deception.
Overall, Musk believes that “the content is actually improving, not getting worse.”
The Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO touched upon a content moderation entity, informing everyone that an advisory council will be put together in a few months. Its main goal is to hear what individuals have to say and “make sure that it’s good enough that we’re not sort of being numb to the pain of what people are feeling.”
In the end, the “responsibility is mine,” and if something goes wrong, “it’s my fault, so the buck stops with me.”
When asked about some of his own tweets that have irked advertisers this year, he purported that the website must be “as neutral as possible,” but “that doesn’t mean I’m completely neutral.”
“But obviously Twitter cannot simply be some extension of me, because then anyone who doesn’t agree with me will be put off,” he added.
The $8 Subscription
During the Spaces session, which was moderated by Robin Wheeler, Twitter’s client solutions leader, Musk addressed his $8-per-month Twitter Blue subscription service. While he agreed that, in theory, it would be cheap to create a fake account, Musk noted that it would be difficult because subscribers will need to be verified by a telephone number and a credit card.
“Wouldn’t a state actor have $8 million a day to create a million fake accounts?” Musk asked. “Well, yes, they’ve got the budget. But here’s the problem. They don’t have a million credit cards, and they don’t have a million phones. That’s the actual kicker. There’s no way to overcome that. And we will be vigorously pursuing any impersonation.”
Musk also noted that the website would default to displaying tweets from Twitter Blue subscribers. This means that users who choose not to subscribe would see their content on a separate page and buried unless users searched for the information.
“Over time, maybe not that long of time, when you look at mentions and replies and whatnot, the default will be to look at verified. You can still look at unverified, just as in your Gmail or whatever, you can still look at the probable spam folder,” Musk said. “You can still look at all the others, but it will be defaulted to the highly, highly relevant category, which will be verified.”
He reiterated his position that the present verification system is a “lords and peasants situation,” comparing it to the American Revolutionary War. “In the United States, we fought a war to get rid of that stuff,” Musk averred. “Maybe this is a dumb decision, but we’ll see.”
Meanwhile, Musk entertained several ideas that would advance the Twitter platform. Some of the ideas include introducing the monetization of content creators, relevant ads, peer-to-peer payments, money market accounts, and a debit card.
From The Epoch Times