One of the popular social media platforms, Twitter has a new owner to the tune of $44B.
It’s Elon Musk, Tesla Inc Chief Executive. Now the challenge for Musk is to prove why he believes that Twitter is worth 10 times that amount and turn around a social media platform that he has spent months poking fun at.
Musk said, “For the past months, myself and the other investors are obviously overpaying for Twitter right now. The long term potential for Twitter in my view is an order of magnitude greater than its current value”.
Musk’s plan reportedly is to create ‘X’, an all around application. The billionaire said that buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating ‘X’.
The idea of an everything app, also referred to as a super app, originated in Asia with companies like WeChat, which lets users not only send messages but also make payments, shop online or hail a taxi.
The all-in-one service appealed to users who had fewer choices in a region where Google, Facebook and others were blocked.
Musk apparently revealed to his investors that he plans to build one that will sell premium subscriptions to reduce reliance on ads, allow content creators to make money and enable payments, according to a source briefed on the matter.
Scott Galloway, co-host of tech podcast Pivot and a professor of marketing at New York University, said there are no super-apps in the United States because the barrier is high and there are plenty app choices.
Galloway also said Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google, which control the app stores on iPhones and Android phones, see themselves as super apps and would be unlikely to allow other super apps to develop.
Such a barrier act was the recent rejection of Apple’s of Spotify’s plan to sell audiobooks.
“It’s not possible at this point in the evolution of the mobile internet, assaid by Jason Goldman, a former board member at Twitter,” Galloway said.
Reports that current and former employees have claimed that Musk is planning to lower the guard rails that are common across all social media platforms and would lead to a deluge of hateful, harmful and potentially illegal content on Twitter.
It has struggled already identifying and removing child porn.
This means, part of those who will be on the chopping board would be members of Twitter’s trust and safety team, which includes content moderators.
“Imagine a world where all those people are gone, it’s going to be a hellscape” one employee said.
Despite Musk going against advertising which he shared on Twitter in 2019, he then appealed directly to advertisers in an open letter tweet on the eve of the closing of the expected deal.
But, advertisers are not buying his appeal, pointing out his attempt to allow the reactivation of former US Pres. Download Trumps’ now permanently deactivated account due to the January 2021 U.S Capital riot.
Mark DiMassimo, founder of ad agency DiMassimo Goldstein said that “Welcoming back Trump could alienate moderate and liberal-leaning users, and as a result push away major household brands who aim to market products and appeal to people across the political spectrum”.
The billionaire entrepreneur had promised to preserve free speech of all kinds, but has also struck a more conciliatory tone with global leaders who aim to rein in Big Tech.
Last May, Musk said, in a Twitter video, he agreed with the European Union’s new digital media regulation, which will force Big Tech to do more to tackle illegal content or risk fines of up to 6% of global revenue, in one of the world’s most severe approaches to regulating content online.
All across Asia, regulators are also toughening legal stances against social media platforms and ordering the removal of content they deem illegal, which includes speech by political dissidents.
Such case, in India, Twitter has waged a “sophisticated battle” with the government to protect free speech online, and this battle would be at risk with Musk in charge.
Tesla’s expanding business in China, where it generated $14 billion last year, could also put Twitter at risk.
Musk’s idea that he’s going to be the one liaising with the Chinese government and potentially turning over information on users.
Twitter is staffed with experts who review data requests from governments, but Musk has shown his contempt for these experts.