After recovery plans
Elon Musk considering charges for Twitter
Elon Musk has previously indicated that he thinks a subscription model would be better for Twitter. Now he promises business users could be asked to pay. Musk would like to bring the service back to the stock market in a few years.
Tech billionaire Elon Musk has confirmed that after taking over Twitter he wants to rely more on a subscription model for the online service. “Twitter will still be free for casual users, but may cost a little for commercial/government users,” he tweeted late Wednesday.
The 50-year-old boss of electric car maker Tesla wants to take over Twitter and accuses the short message service of restricting freedom of expression too much on the platform. Musk has struck a deal worth around $44 billion with Twitter’s board, but is dependent on enough shareholders donating their shares to him. Twitter and Musk aim to complete the acquisition by the end of the year.
The proposed takeover by the entrepreneur had caused some emotion last week, especially within the group itself. Last Friday, the CEO of Twitter, Parag Agrawal, had to appease his employees during a meeting at the company wide. In the background, the fear that the takeover announced by the boss of Tesla will lead to layoffs and wage cuts. Twitter has always taken care of its employees and will continue to do so, reassured the CEO.
Twitter is already testing subscription models
Currently, Twitter makes its money almost exclusively from advertising, mostly in the form of tweets, which companies can inject into users’ news feeds for money. Musk had already written before his takeover attack began that he had found better subscription models for services like Twitter and that the direction was wrong because it gave too much power to big companies. There are always tensions between advertisers and online platforms, for example when extreme posts appear next to which they do not want their products placed.
Twitter is already experimenting with subscription business models in its Blue offer, available in the United States, among others. Among other things, Twitter Blue customers can edit finished tweets for up to 30 seconds. Series of tweets are also displayed in a more readable way and it is possible to organize saved tweets into folders. The subscription costs $2.99 per month in the United States. There was also evidence that Twitter could charge for its Tweetdeck software, which makes using the service more convenient and ad-free.
In e-commerce, free services such as Facebook and Google, which deal with advertising based on user information, have clearly prevailed against subscription models. Years ago, the paid alternative to Twitter, App.net, failed.
Musk plans to drop Twitter from the list after the takeover. He argued that this was the only way for the service to realize its full potential as a platform for free speech. According to the Wall Street Journal, he announced to potential investors that Twitter could return to the stock market in a few years. Musk referred to a three-year period, the newspaper wrote on Tuesday, citing informed people.
Can Donald Trump return to the platform?
Musk presented $46.5 billion in funding for the deal. Of that amount, $25.5 billion are loans, some of which must be secured by its Tesla stock. He wants to raise up to $21 billion himself. According to the media, Musk is trying to win partners such as financial investors. They could cash in later if Twitter goes public again.
One of the big questions surrounding Musk’s free speech pledge is whether former President Donald Trump could return to the platform. He was banned after expressing sympathy for his supporters who stormed the Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021. In previous weeks, Trump had fueled sentiment with baseless claims that an election victory against Joe Biden had been robbed by fraud. Trump said he didn’t want to return to Twitter, although he could. The presence on the platform, where he once had more than 80 million followers, could be important for a possible presidential bid in 2024.