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Elon Musk Outlines His Vision for Twitter at Morgan Stanley Tech Conference

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Elon Musk Outlines His Vision for Twitter at Morgan Stanley Tech Conference

So what is Elon Musk’s long term vision for Twitter, and how does he plan to convert the app into a billion-user, money-making machine, as he’s repeatedly stated in interviews?

Today, we got a look at Elon’s broader strategic thinking around the app, along with some new updates on how Twitter 2.0 is progressing on various elements.

Musk made a new presentation on Twitter, and his other businesses, to the Morgan Stanley Tech, Media and Telecommunications Conference in San Francisco, where Musk offered insight into several key aspects, including their work on mitigating hate speech, the growth in usage of the app, and the grander vision to convert Twitter into a key payments and commerce app.

First off, Musk outlined his general vision for Twitter, and making it the ‘global town square’ once again.

Twitter has always had this as a defining goal, of sorts, though it moved away from the ‘town square’ framing in the latter years under former CEO Jack Dorsey, who became disillusioned with the inevitable calls that had to be made by Twitter management on what could and could not be shared in the app.

That’s been a defining element of Musk’s push to reform Twitter’s approach, by allowing more free and open speech, and ideally, letting the users decide what should be allowed, with Community Notes set to play a bigger role in enabling Twitter users themselves to police misinformation and untruths by adding contextual explainers to individual tweets.

Elon Twitter plan

Musk also laid out Twitter 2.0’s core principles, which he hopes will eventually make Twitter a source of truth, by empowering input from all people.

Elon Twitter plan

As per Musk:

“So the goal is to have Twitter be the best source of truth, the most timely and accurate source of truth, even if the truth is something we don’t want to hear or unpleasant or whatever, but have it be timely and accurate and where you can really understand what’s going on.”

Musk further explained that the media is currently able to control key narratives by choosing what to cover, and what gets top priority. But Twitter enables all people to decide what’s relevant faster, by facilitating more inputs. Which is why, in Musk’s view, it’s critical that Twitter allows free and open speech, as much as possible.

“The bedrock of a functioning democracy has to be free speech and a level playing field. That’s why it’s the first amendment. It was the first thing they did, like we’ve got to ensure freedom of speech. And why did they do that? Because where they came from there wasn’t freedom of speech, and once you lose freedom of speech, you don’t get it back. So that’s why we must protect it at all costs.”

This has been a key element of Musk’s broader push at the app, which he’s reinforced with his own tweets on various controversial topics.

Which then leads to concerns around what people might actually say in the app, and how that could lead to harm and negative behaviors. On this front, Musk also outlined Twitter’s progress in addressing hate speech, which Musk says is now down 50% from when he took over at the app.

Elon Musk Twitter Plan

Some experts have questioned Twitter’s metrics on this, and we don’t have access to exactly what this data means – but based on the key elements that the Twitter 2.0 team is measuring, it is working to address potentially harmful elements, which should lead to an improved user experience.

Of course, letting tens of thousands of previously banned users back on the app seems to work counter to this goal, but again, based on the metrics that Musk and his team are tracking, it’s seemingly seeing improvement.

The same can also be said for child exploitation content.

Elon Musk Twitter Plan

Musk has repeatedly claimed, as this graph shows, that Twitter is doing more to address CSE content than Twitter has ever done in the past. Experts have refuted these figures as well, but Twitter is seemingly, by at least some measures, taking more action to address this element, which Musk says will always be priority number one at the app.

Though larger changes remain problematic. As we saw earlier this week, Twitter does seem to be becoming increasingly unstable, leading to larger outages and impacts, likely due to reduced oversight as a result of staff cuts.

Musk admitted that this is a problem, noting that the current code base is prone to failure when making even the slightest change.

Elon Twitter plan

But still, even with increased error rates, Musk says that Twitter usage is at an all-time high, with more than 250 million daily active users.

Elon Twitter plan

It’s worth noting that this chart measures up to Q4, and reports have suggested that Twitter usage has declined significantly since then. But even so, Twitter’s popularity has increased under Musk – not to the levels that Musk would obviously like (in regards to that billion-user target), but it is on track to see improvement, if it can get all of its elements into line.

On that front, Musk briefly discussed his plans to improve Twitter’s ad relevance, and drive better performance through various targeting measures.

Elon Musk Twitter Plan

Some of this revolved around simple measures, like keyword targeting, which Twitter has previously moved away from due to reduced advertiser performance. Elon is now looking to implement more direct targeting options like this, with advertisers able to highlight their content within related discussions in the app.

Finally, Musk discussed his longer-term vision for Twitter, and making it into the ‘everything app’, which mostly revolves around integrating payments.

Elon Musk Twitter Plan

“I think it’s possible to create a very powerful finance experience. Basically, PayPal is kind of like a halfway version of what I think could be done in payments and finance. So, let’s say you want to be able to send money easily from one account on Twitter to another account effortlessly, with one click, you want to be able to earn interest on that money, you want to be able to have debt, so you can let your interest can go negative. Basically, I think it’s possible to become the biggest financial institution in the world, just by providing people with convenient payment options. We don’t have the time to go into it in detail here, but if we just make the app more and more useful, people will use it more and it’ll be great.”

The vision is that, eventually, by enabling payments via tweet, Twitter will be able to facilitate more types of transactions, which will make it a more useful app, for all different purposes, similar to how Chinese messaging apps like WeChat have become essential utilities in that region.

Of course, Meta’s also trying to facilitate the same thing, and just recently got approval to expand WhatsApp payments usage in Brazil, while it’s also gaining traction with WhatsApp payments in India, likely the key market for such a shift.

But success in this area will not come easy, especially amid ongoing regulatory scrutiny, and given Musk’s defiant attitude to other regulatory groups, like the SEC, it’s hard to see Twitter ever gaining the approval required to facilitate such.

Still, that’s the longer-term vision, that Twitter will become a key source of truth in journalism, and a key utility in facilitating more types of payments, which will then make it a critical app for many more people. It’s an optimistic strategy, which requires many things to go right, but Musk says that, after massive cost-cutting, the app is, potentially, on track to be cash positive by the end of this year.

That, at the least, gives him firmer footing to build from, and maybe, Elon’s vision is beyond what others can yet see for the app.

You can check out Elon’s full presentation to the Morgan Stanley TMT Conference here.

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Solar Flares Or Sabotage? Internet Theories On Today’s Massive Cell Phone Outage

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Solar Flares Or Sabotage? Internet Theories On Today's Massive Cell Phone Outage

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Massive cell phone outages across America are being reported today by customers of AT&T, Cricket Wireless, Verizon, T-Mobile, Consumer Cellular, Boost Mobile, US Cellular, and Straight Talk Wireless, according to data from Downdetector, an online platform that monitors connectivity. That story and more news you need to read today, inside.

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Meta Expands Access to Instagram’s Creator Marketplace

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Meta Expands Access to Instagram’s Creator Marketplace

Meta has announced that it’s finally expanding access to its Creator Marketplace tool, which will give more businesses the capacity to search for creators to work with on their Instagram campaigns.

Meta first launched its Creator Marketplace back in 2022, enabling U.S.-based brands to search and connect with relevant platform influencers based on a range of qualifiers, including focus topics, follower counts, location, etc.

And now, businesses in the following regions will also be able to access the tool:

  • Canada
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • Japan
  • India
  • Brazil

In addition to this, Meta also says that Chinese export brands will also be invited to connect with onboarded creators in countries outside of China.

Which is interesting, considering Meta’s tenuous history with the CCP’s “Great Firewall”, but the deal here relates to Chinese businesses operating in regions outside of their homeland, which is somewhat separate to Meta’s internal dealings.

In addition to expanding access, Meta’s also rolling new machine learning-based recommendations within Creator Marketplace, which will use Instagram data to help brands more easily discover creators who are the best fit for their campaigns.

Instagram Creator Marketplace

As you can see in this example, the new recommendations will highlight accounts that have strong engagement rates in your niche, have mentioned your brand in the past, or have produced good results for similar businesses.

That could make it easier to find the right fit, or at the least, to give you more options to consider in your process.

Branded Content collaborations can be highly effective on IG, by using the established expertise and experience of creators who have already built a following in the app, and know what works, to boost your promotions.

By working with the right creators, with connection to your target audience, you can secure valuable endorsement within key communities, which can help to germinate your branding in the right communities.

Brands can check out Instagram’s creator marketplace in Meta Business Suite, with access coming to these new regions shortly.



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X Faces Restrictions in India and Pakistan Amid Government Orders for Content Removals

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New Report Finds That X May Be Inflating its Ad Performance Results

X is facing new challenges in both India and neighboring Pakistan, with the Indian Government calling on X to censor specified accounts to counter unrest, and Pakistani officials seemingly blocking access to X altogether, amid accusations of vote rigging in its recent election.

Firstly, in India. As confirmed by X, the Indian Government has issued a new order for X to ban users that it has identified as prompting civil disobedience.

As per X:

“The Indian government has issued executive orders requiring X to act on specific accounts and posts, subject to potential penalties including significant fines and imprisonment. In compliance with the orders, we will withhold these accounts and posts in India alone; however, we disagree with these actions and maintain that freedom of expression should extend to these posts.”

X says that even though it is moving to fulfill these orders, it will also continue to challenge the Indian Government’s bans through whatever legal means it has available.

It’s not the first time that the Indian Government has demanded specific censorship from the platform, with both X and previous Twitter management being called upon to remove certain comments and users who’ve gone against official rulings.

Last year, X was forced to remove a BBC documentary that was critical of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after it was banned in the nation, which many used as an example to highlight X’s inability to uphold its own free speech approach.  

Twitter, meanwhile, was served with a non-compliance notice in 2021 for refusing to action similar account takedown demands from the Indian Government. In that instance, which directly related to civil unrest, India threatened to shut down Twitter entirely in response, while it also suggested that the company’s Indian staff could face up to seven years jail time for failing to comply.

As such, Twitter was effectively forced to action India’s requests, in order to protect its staff (note: The Indian Government has denied that any such threats occurred).

Both incidents serve as reminders of how authoritarian regimes will look to control mass communication platforms, like Twitter and X, in order to manage messaging, and combat noncompliance.

Pakistan, too, has a long history of seeking to control social platforms, though more notably due to “inappropriate content”, as opposed to what users are saying. Pakistan, which is a Muslim country, has banned various apps, at different times, in response to concerns about content, though in this latest instance, it does seem to be taking a leaf out of India’s book in using bans to quell civil unrest.

X will now have to find a way to maintain an adequate balance between adhering to such requests, while upholding its own “free speech” ethos, though X owner Elon Musk has been clear from the start that his free speech push will not go beyond the bounds of local laws in each region.

So while Twitter has challenged India’s requests in the past, and X has vowed to seek further legal clarification around the same, it will be aligning with the Indian government’s requests, and removing users and content in line with their requirements.

Does that mean that X isn’t willing to stand its ground on its much lauded open speech approach?

No, not when the alternative is to see X banned entirely, which would eliminate all speech for the impacted individuals, and reduce all protests against government action.

And no matter what your opinion of X may be, it is still a highly influential platform, in many ways, which is why officials are still looking to control the discussion in the app.

Though the bigger for question for Elon specifically is how such actions could impact his other businesses.

Tesla is still working to get into the emerging Indian market, which could become a huge sales opportunity for the company. Tesla’s been working with the Indian Government to enact new concessions on import duties, in order to bring its vehicles to market, and it’d be interesting to know whether Indian officials have used such as a lever to pressure action at X.

Based on what we know, it does seem like X would have little choice either way, but it’s another consideration in this instance, which could cause some uncomfortable internal discussions around the same.



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