Elon Musk reportedly wants to start charging for tweets

Plan is reportedly ‘thin on detail’ as Musk looks to attract lenders to buy the social media giant

Adam Smith
Friday 29 April 2022 23:05
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Elon Musk buys Twitter for $44bn

Elon Musk has reportedly suggested that websites should pay Twitter for embedding tweets in order to increase revenue for the social media service.

The billionaire made the suggestion to banks as a way to attract lenders, according to Reuters. Mr Musk reportedly secured $13 billion in loans secured against Twitter and a $12.5 billion margin loan tied to his Tesla stock. The rest of the $44 billion purchase would be paid in cash.

These promises are a ‘vision’ rather than a firm commitment, and the exact decisions that will be taken to cut Twitter’s costs are unclear. The plan was reportedly “thin on detail”.

In now-deleted tweets, Mr Musk suggested features for Twitter’s Blue subscription service – including a lower price and banning advertising.

It was also reported that the billionaire would also reduce executive and board pay in a way to cut costs.

Musk has also lined a up a new chief executive for Twitter, one of the sources added, but would not say who the new head would be.

Such a move would be controversial after former head of Twitter Jack Dorsey praised Parag Agrawal, the current chief executive, and said that both Mr Musk and Mr Agrawal were aligned on the goals of the platform.

“In principle, I don’t believe anyone should own or run Twitter,” Mr Dorsey tweeted on 26 April. “It wants to be a public good at a protocol level, not a company. Solving for the problem of it being a company however, Elon is the singular solution I trust. I trust his mission to extend the light of consciousness.

“Elon’s goal of creating a platform that is ‘maximally trusted and broadly inclusive’ is the right one. This is also [Mr Agrawal’s] goal, and why I chose him. Thank you both for getting the company out of an impossible situation. This is the right path...I believe it with all my heart.”

Mr Dorsey did not respond to The Independent’s request for comment before time of publication. Mr Musk and Twitter did not respond to The Independent’s request for comment before time of publication.

The deal for Mr Musk to buy Twitter may yet not go through. Either party could pull out of the deal by paying a $1 billion penalty.

A potential contender could also approach Twitter – at which point they would have to give Mr Musk four days to make a better offer. If Twitter accepts a superior offer from another person or company, they would have to pay the penalty to Mr Musk.

In a statement after the deal was announced, the Tesla chief called free speech “the bedrock of a functioning democracy”, and that Twitter is the “digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated”.

Human rights groups have raised hate-speech concerns on Twitter after Mr Musk’s deal to buy out the company.

“The last thing we need is a Twitter that wilfully turns a blind eye to violent and abusive speech against users, particularly those most disproportionately impacted, including women, non-binary persons, and others,” Michael Kleinman, director of technology and human rights at Amnesty International USA, has said.

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