Barely a week has passed since Elon Musk took control of Twitter, after a long and gruesome soap opera that we have been telling you about in a timely manner. And it was evident, given the more than particular personality of the billionaire, that his landing on the social network would not be… let’s say calm. If anyone expected Musk to behave like a “traditional” CEO after the transition was complete, it must be because it was the first time he had heard of him. Making a lot of noise is part of his personality, as he has been showing for years.
A) Yes, it was to be expected that he would start making decisions and making changes from the very beginning, but I think that even for those of us who were already expecting something like this, the level reached in the last few days has exceeded what one might have thought would happen. And it is that, for example, it was public and notorious, for months, that the board of directors headed by Parag Agrawal would be fired immediately, but not so much that Elon Musk would try to propose his departure, that of all, as justified dismissals, to thus avoid the payment of compensation to which they would have the right to be considered inadmissible. Thus, a possible claim for unfair dismissal is in the air.
It was also to be expected that there would be adjustments among the rest of the staff, but not that the volume of these would be as high as we have learned this morning, let alone that would be carried out so exhaustively. According to some sources, in some cases the layoffs would be completely emptying certain departments that, we understand, Elon Musk considers expendable. And as in what he was commenting on earlier, the possibility of a class action lawsuit by the laid-off employees is also beginning to float in the air.
On the other hand, we have seen movements such as trying to monetize the verification system, first for an amount of 20 dollars a month, which, shortly after, and after an exchange of messages with Stephen King, dropped to eight dollars a month. The reasons given by Elon Musk for it? Return power to the people, fight trolls and spam… and pay the bills. Probably the third point is the one that weighs the most in this plan to monetize the badges.
On the other hand, it has also transpired that the social network is considering the possibility of charge for sending direct messages to celebrities present on Twitter. Of course, this function would be optional and, if used, the celebrities could set the price, which would be shared between both parties (the percentage that would go to each is unknown). Pay to talk to a celebrity, you could call this function which, as an appendix, should indicate that the price does not necessarily include the right of reply. And I have some doubts about whether the celebrities, whom he now wants to checkout to keep their verified, want to help the platform make money.
And the thing does not end there, because today Elon Musk has published a tweet in which he states the following: «Twitter has seen a massive drop in revenue as activist groups put pressure on advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and we did everything we could to appease activists«. He ends the message stating that “Is it so [los activistas] trying to destroy free speech in america«.
Evidently, Elon Musk’s main concern right now is not free speech, power to the people or diversity on Twitter, no. What really focuses his concerns (and beware, I understand perfectly, in his place I would act the same) are advertising revenue, the main source of monetization of the social network. It is not surprising that even before he took control of Twitter, he was already concerned with trying to reassure them. A message that, as can be deduced from the tweet that I just quoted, would not have finished penetrating.
And this, of course, is also understandable because, as it became quite public and many Twitter users could see at the time, Musk’s arrival at the head of Twitter had, as an immediate effect, that the use of the word that cannot be pronounced, the n-word, grew by 500% in a few hours. And on this point I also agree with Musk when he states that «nothing has changed with content moderation«. The problem is that as a public personality who has not hesitated to join the polarization of Twitter, sometimes giving rise to conspiracy theories and being critical of certain social positions, he now faces the consequences of having been identified with their detractors. .
Thus, with a potential exodus of advertisers, which account for about 90% of Twitter’s revenue, Musk must be trying to square some numbers that, with each passing hour, seem more complex. And this was also somewhat predictable. We already told you in April that, due to the credits you have used to make the purchase, from 2023 you will have to start paying interest payments that, in all probability, will make a good “break” in your finances. And yes, Elon Musk is the richest man in the world, but the price of having bought Twitter can greatly compromise that position.
With the interest rates indicated in the April commitment letters, between 6% and 11% of the debt, in these documents that define the conditions of the loans, Elon Musk will have to face the payment of around 1,000 million dollars in interest next year. This makes it seem no coincidence that, as we also told you this morning, that precisely this is the amount that Musk has mandated to be saved on infrastructure costs. Those that enter through those that leave, as they say popularly.
Why is Elon Musk acting like this?
The answer seems pretty clear: for money.. You need to raise the level of Twitter monetization to levels never seen before, otherwise your own finances are in jeopardy. And again, I understand your concern and your need for action. However, seeing his behavior in recent days, it seems that he is missing a lot of reflection in this process. Something that, and he should be more aware of it than anyone else, is further complicating his situation.
Never, until this week, had I seen messages (and there have been many, really) wondering how much time Twitter has left to live. And, contrary to what some may think, I am not talking so much about profiles with a clearly critical profile of Musk, but about more neutral people who, objectively, see that Twitter has never been so on edge as it is now. And what is crossed this is, you can imagine, the abyss.
Personally, I hope that Musk is able to square the circle and make Twitter sustainable. I have had an account on this social network since October 2008 (14 years now, how time flies) and, with its pros and cons, it has long been the social network that I use the most. A) Yes, the key is that Elon Musk is able to guarantee his persistence… or that Twitter is able to survive Musk.