() — With the drama of the deal to buy Twitter out of the way, attention now turns to the plans of Elon Musk for social network.
Beyond the ouster of Twitter’s CEO and other executives, Musk’s inauguration could also usher in some influence over the company by its founder Jack Dorsey, who stepped down as CEO in November and his board in May. While Dorsey has said he will not formally return to Twitter, he has privately discussed the acquisition with Musk and offered advice.
Musk also reportedly told potential investors in the deal that he planned to ditch nearly 75% of the company’s staff, in a move that could upend every aspect of how Twitter operates. He previously discussed Twitter’s drastic workforce reduction in personal texts with friends about the deal, which were revealed in court documents, and did not rule out the possibility of layoffs in a call with Twitter employees in June.
Under Musk, Twitter may not find many of its current employees useful. Musk has repeatedly made it clear that he would review Twitter’s content moderation policies and tighten what he calls “free speech,” which could undo years of the company’s efforts to address misinformation and harassment and create conversations. “healthier” on the platform.
Such a move could also have a domino effect on the social media landscape. Twitter, though smaller than many of its social media rivals, has at times acted as a model for how the industry handles problematic content, including when it was the first to ban access to then-US President Donald Trump, then of the January 6 riots on Capitol Hill.
And in recent years, a number of alternative social networks have been launched primarily targeting conservatives who claim that more mainstream services unduly restrict their expression. These services include Trump’s own Truth Social and Parler, which Kanye West recently said he would acquire.
While it’s unclear how far Musk could go to fulfill his free speech dreams, any relaxation of existing content moderation policies could make Twitter, which reaches a much larger audience, a more attractive service for some. of users who have fled to the smallest marginal services. (However, Musk could run into regulatory trouble, especially in Europe, depending on how far he goes in his efforts to loosen content restrictions.)
In addition to content moderation, Musk has also ruled out a wide range of other possible changes to the platform, from enabling end-to-end encryption for Twitter’s direct messaging feature to recently suggesting that Twitter become part of an app. of “everything” called X, possibly in the style of the popular Chinese application WeChat.
Despite his months-long attempt not to buy the company and his own recent comments that he is “obviously overpaying” for it, Musk has tried to sound optimistic about Twitter’s potential.
“Twitter’s long-term potential, in my opinion, is an order of magnitude greater than its current value,” he said on Tesla’s earnings conference call last week.