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Twitter: between moderation and paid subscription Elon Musk on the branch to get rid of advertisers

Between the creation of a moderation committee and the creation of a paid certification, the billionaire owner of the network within a week seems to have launched a dual strategy towards advertisers: first to appease them, and then it is better to remove them.

But what happens to the “absolutist of free speech”? Since April, Elon Musk has been multiplying the effect of announcing how he intends to “liberate” Twitter from censorship. During the seven-month saga of his $44 billion takeover, the Tesla boss raised the expectations of his supporters and the fears of his detractors. However, a week after he became the owner of the network, the billionaire was confused. After announcing the creation of a “moderation committee,” Elon Musk is now cashing in on his “freedom of expression” at $8 a month to get a certified online account.

The fly that stung the Tesla boss is the advertisers. Despite the fact that Elon Musk managed to remove several executives from his company, he still has to play by the rules of advertisers. Reason? They provide Twitter with 90% of its income. And the businessman’s unceremonious speeches frightened many of them, not very enthusiastic about the idea of ​​​​seeing their ads side by side with possible sexist, racist, transphobic messages … Thus, The New York Times reports that IPG, one of the world’s largest advertising groups on this last week advised their clients to temporarily suspend spending on Twitter. Tesla rival automotive group General Motors was quick to announce the news and announced on Saturday that it was withdrawing its announcements while it “understands the direction of the platform under the leadership of the new owner.”

So to prevent others from following the movement, Elon Musk needs to reassure. At the same time trying not to betray their original promises. The $224 billion man, according to Forbes, spent a week shaking hands with advertising executives and community groups. A seduction operation that he launched on the eve of the official takeover of the network. In a press release addressed to advertisers, he reiterated that he wants to make the site “a public place on the web.” But he acknowledged that the platform should not become “a hellish place where you can say anything without consequences.”

To do this, the entrepreneur, who called the expulsion of Donald Trump from the site a “mistake”, took an unprecedented step after the takeover. Therefore, in a tweet, he announced the creation of a “multi-viewpoint content moderation board” responsible for reviewing suspended accounts. “No major decisions regarding the maintenance or recovery of accounts will be made prior to this council meeting,” he wrote.

But hug therapy sessions can’t last forever. So in the long run, Elon Musk has an opportunity to free himself from advertisers: change the economic model of Twitter by increasing the proportion of revenue associated with “Twitter Blue”, the basic subscription is currently available for $4.99 per month. With a turnover of $1.18 billion in the second quarter of 2022 — 28 times less than Meta — the company is struggling to generate cash with this formula. To remedy this, the pompous multi-billionaire announced the end of the “current system of lords and peasants”, which meant that some – politicians, journalists, companies … – received certification by putting a blue checkmark next to their name. To do this, he announced that from now on, it will be enough to pay to get a certified account, a guarantee of authenticity and potential visibility.

Thus, for eight dollars a month (modulo the purchasing power of each country), “everyone” can put a little blue checkmark on their profile. But also sharing long videos, appearing in search priority, commenting… Elon Musk would have other projects of the same kind in his inboxes. According to Numerama, he also toyed with the idea of ​​allowing tweets to be sold individually, or to send a private message to a star for a few dollars.

Rekindling the discussion about “free” social media, the entrepreneur’s move has since caused an uproar. Starting with US Democrat-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, “The billionaire is seriously trying to sell people the idea that ‘freedom of expression’ is actually a subscription plan,” she tweeted. Before accusing Elon Musk on Thursday of “banning” his app after criticizing it. “It’s not really ‘freedom of expression’,” she jokes.

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