Musk lays out his vision for Twitter in a public meeting on the site

Musk lays out his vision for Twitter in a public meeting on the site


Elon Musk held a town hall meeting with some of Twitter’s biggest advertisers and marketing partners on Wednesday, airing his vision for the company and seeking to stop the organizations that provide him with most of his revenue from abandoning the platform.

The move comes days after Musk – who acquired Twitter in a $44 billion deal last month – threatened to launch a “thermonuclear name and shame” campaign against advertisers who leave the site out of concern. of its approach to content moderation.

At a Twitter investor conference in New York on Nov. 4, Elon Musk said the pressure exerted on advertisers by anonymous activists was “an attack on the First Amendment.” (Video: Reuters)

Musk spoke with a group of vetted advertisers on “Twitter Spaces,” a live audio chat feature on the site that’s open to everyone. Over 50,000 people were listening within minutes of the session starting.

He started his speech by saying his goal was to make Twitter a “force for good.”

Elon Musk woos Twitter advertisers as he seeks new revenue streams

Last week, Musk said Twitter was facing a “massive drop in income” as advertisers paused campaigns on the platform. A coterie of major advertisers and marketing agencies have said they will slow or suspend spending on the site while they assess how Musk operates it.

The day before the deal was struck, Musk tweeted a statement pledging to prevent the site from becoming a “free-for-all hellscape.” But soon after, he himself bolstered a conspiracy theory about the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, shaking advertisers’ faith that he would uphold rules against misinformation and hate speech.

Musk has worked to shore up the company’s revenue streams, cut costs by laying off people, and find new ways to make money as he faces the reality of having to pay around $1. billion a year in interest on the debt he racked up buying Twitter. The vast majority of Twitter’s revenue comes from advertising. A potential recession and rising inflation have already drastically reduced advertising budgets, which now makes for a particularly difficult time for the entire digital advertising industry.

At the same time, advertisers are hypersensitive to the type of content their ads may appear alongside. Musk has repeatedly said he wants to maintain content moderation standards, but by cutting half of the company’s employee activist groups and advertisers have become questionable the company will be able to maintain its standards. when it comes to keeping hate speech and violent and sexual content out of people’s feeds.

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NAACP President Derrick Johnson called on companies to drop their ads on Twitter “until steps are taken to make Twitter a safe space.” Musk, a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist,” accused companies participating in the boycott of “attempting to destroy free speech in America.”

Automakers Ford, General Motors and Volkswagen have all pulled their Twitter ads, along with cereal and snack companies General Mills and Mondelez, the company behind Oreo cookies, Ritz crackers and Sour Patch Kids candy. International advertising and consulting firm Interpublic Group, which represents American Express, Coca-Cola, Fitbit, Spotify and dozens of other big companies, has also advised its clients to suspend purchases of Twitter ads for now. .

“A thermonuclear name and disgrace is exactly what will happen if this continues,” Musk tweeted on Friday as more companies began their publicity releases, threatening to unleash its rambunctious online fans on companies and executives deserting the platform.

During his brief tenure, Musk laid off about half of Twitter’s workforce, decimating content moderation and engineering teams days before Tuesday’s midterm elections. As the company’s remaining staff struggled to cope with complex infrastructure challenges, the company decided to rehire some of these displaced employees.

Elon Musk’s Twitter is working on a ‘high’ risk paid video feature

Musk intends to sell Twitter’s blue verification badge for $8 a month, he said, but without actually verifying users’ identities. Critics fear the change will wreak havoc on a platform that is already battling the proliferation of misinformation, bots and scammers.

The company said it will instead give officially verified accounts a new badge to indicate that they have been confirmed to be who they claim to be. It began rolling out to government officials, celebrities, news outlets and businesses on Wednesday, but some people later lost the new badges. Musk soon tweeted that he had “killed him” and a Twitter executive clarified later the company focused on their use for “governmental and commercial entities” rather than individuals.

Since taking office, Musk has taunted politicians – including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) — on the platform, made jokes about masturbation, spread misinformation about the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) husband, and imposed draconian restrictions on parody accounts.

These and other moves by Musk spooked advertisers.

“Advertisers are not manipulated by activist groups, they are constrained by established principles regarding the types of companies they can do business with. These principles include an assessment of the platforms’ commitment to brand safety and appropriateness,” said Lou Paskalis, president of leading marketing firm MMA Global, tweeted at Musk.

Musk blocked Paskalis — then unblocked him — after the trade.

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