Elon Musk says Twitter can charge businesses and governments

In this illustration, the Twitter account of Elon Musk is seen on a smartphone screen and the Twitter logo in the background.

Pavlo Gonchar | LightRocket | Getty Images

Elon Musk has said businesses and governments may soon be required to pay a “modest cost” to use Twitter, just weeks after he announced it was buying the social media platform for $44 billion.

The tech billionaire, who is also the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, said in a post late Tuesday that the platform would remain free to “casual users.”

It’s unclear how much Musk would like businesses and governments to charge, or whether certain groups such as nonprofits and journalists would be exempt from any imposed fees.

Twitter declined to comment when contacted by CNBC.

Over the years, Twitter has failed to make as much money as other social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Musk, who has 90.7 million Twitter followers, previously said he wants to “make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features.”

Twitter is already experimenting with a paid-for subscription service in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand called Twitter Blue that offers additional features.

premium offer, which costs $2.99 ​​per month in the US, gives users access to features like undoing tweets and bookmarking tweets. Musk said last month that he wanted to cut Twitter Blue’s price and make changes to the service, including banning ads.

Elsewhere, Musk has also said that all Twitter direct messages must be end-to-end encrypted so that no one can spy on or hack into user messages.

Musk said Monday at the annual Met Gala that Twitter also needs to get rid of bots and trolls and scams on the platform.

“We don’t want people to be tricked into their money and things like that,” he said.

IPO plan?

Twitter is currently listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York but Musk hopes to take it private.

However, Musk has told investors that he may choose to return Twitter to the public stock market in at least three years. Monday’s report in The Wall Street Journal cited people familiar with the matter.

Assuming the acquisition deal closes and Musk takes ownership of Twitter, the company will be controlled by the world’s richest man and someone who has been a heavy critic of the platform for using it in legally controversial ways. Is, mostly through sensitive posts about Tesla.

Although Musk has indicated that his primary interest in Twitter is in the form of the company’s censorship of free speech, Musk critics worry that the billionaire’s control over the platform will result in his voice and the voices of others he may be with. Might disagree, given that he often blocks critics from his personal account.

Last month at the TED2022 conference in Vancouver, Musk shared how he wants to transform the platform under his ownership.

“I think it’s very important for free speech to be an inclusive zone,” he said at the time, acknowledging that some content moderation will be needed to deal with explicit calls for violence and ensure compliance with laws in the country. Service will be required to do so. in which it operates.

He also said he would generally prefer a “time-out” to permanent sanctions, which could suggest a way for former President Donald Trump to rejoin the platform under Musk’s control. Twitter banned Trump from the platform, citing “the risk of further inciting violence” following his tweets around the uprising at the US Capitol on January 6.

, Additional reporting by CNBC’s Lauren Feiner.

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