between moderation and paid subscriptions, Elon Musk in a thread to get rid of advertisers – Liberation

Between the establishment of a moderation committee and a paid certification, the billionaire, the owner of the network for a week, seems to have launched a double strategy in front of advertisers: first to give certainty them, and then it is better to remove them.

But what happens to“free speech absolutist” ? Since April, Elon Musk has multiplied the effects of the announcement on how he counts “release” Censorship Twitter. During the seven-month saga of his $44 billion acquisition, the Tesla boss raised the expectations of his supporters and the fears of his detractors. However, a week after becoming the owner of the network, the billionaire was confused. After announcing the establishment of a “moderation committee”, now Elon Musk monetizes his “freedom of speech” for the price of eight dollars a month to get a certified account on the network.

The fly that stung the Tesla boss was the advertisers. Even though Elon Musk has managed to fire some executives from his company, he still has to play by the advertisers’ rules. The reason ? They provide Twitter with 90% of its revenue. And the entrepreneur’s bold words scared many of them, not too enthusiastic about the idea of ​​seeing their ads with possible sexist, racist, transphobic messages… New York Times reported that IPG, one of the world’s largest advertising groups, this week recommended that its customers temporarily suspend their spending on Twitter. The General Motors automotive group, a competitor of Tesla, did not need to be asked and announced on Saturday that it will remove its ads until “understand the direction of the platform under its new owner“.

So to prevent others from following the movement, Elon Musk must make sure. While trying not to betray its initial promises. The man with 224 billion dollars of wealth according to Forbes so spent the week shaking hands with advertising executives and civic advocacy groups. A seduction operation he started on the eve of the official takeover of the network. In a statement to advertisers, he repeated wanting to do the site “an online public space”. But conceded that the platform should not be “a hellish place where anything can be said without consequence.”

To do this, the businessman – who qualified as“mistake” ousting Donald Trump from the site – unveiled an unprecedented move after the takeover. In a tweet, he therefore announced the creation of a “Content moderation board made up of very diverse perspectives” responsible for viewing suspended accounts. “No major decisions regarding the content or reinstatement of accounts will be made prior to this council meeting”he wrote.

But cuddle therapy sessions can’t last forever. In the long term, Elon Musk has an option to free himself from advertisers: change the economic model of Twitter, by increasing the share of revenue associated with “Twitter Blue”, the basic subscription currently available for at 4.99 dollars per month. With a turnover of 1.18 billion dollars in the second quarter of 2022 – 28 times smaller than Meta – the company is struggling to generate money through this formula. To remedy this, the bombastic multi-billionaire announced the end of “current system of lords and peasants” which means that some – politicians, journalists, companies… – have benefited from the certification by displaying a blue tick next to their name. To do this, he announced that from now on it is enough to pay to get a certified account, a guarantee of credibility and potential visibility.

For eight dollars per month (modulo the purchasing power of each country), “everyone” will therefore have a little blue tick on their profile. But also sharing long videos, which appear as a priority in searches, comments… Elon Musk will have other projects of the same type in his boxes. According to Numbershe also toyed with the idea of ​​allowing the sale of individual tweets or the sending of a private message to a star for a few dollars.

The debate was revived at “Free” social networks, the entrepreneur’s steps were met with outcry. Starting with elected American Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “Billionaire Is Seriously Trying To Sell People The Idea That ‘Free Speech’ Is Really A Subscription Plan”, he tweeted. Before Elon Musk was accused on Thursday of having “blocked” its application following its criticisms. “It’s not quite ‘freedom of expression'”she quips.

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