Twitter won’t become a ‘hell’ platform, says Elon Musk

(New York) On his way to becoming Twitter chief, Elon Musk tried to placate advertisers on Thursday by saying he wanted to allow all opinions to be expressed on the social network, but he didn’t want to do it. a hellish” platform where everything would be allowed.

Posted at 10:11 am
Updated at 1:18 p.m

Juliet Michel
French media agency

“It is important for the future of civilization to have an online public square where a wide range of opinions can be debated in a healthy way without resorting to violence,” he wrote in a memo specifically addressed to companies that buy advertising on the social network.

“That said, Twitter clearly cannot be an open-for-anyone hellish place where anything can be said without consequence,” he added.

Elon Musk has yet to officially complete the acquisition of Twitter, but there are several signs that a deal is in the works, and barring another twist, the months-old soap opera between the entrepreneur and the social network should end soon. .

The multi-billionaire went to Twitter headquarters on Wednesday and renamed himself “Chief Twit” on his profile – “twit” means “moron” in English.

According to The Wall Street Journalthe banks participating in the financing of the operation also started sending money.

In addition, the New York Stock Exchange, where Twitter is listed, said in an announcement that the platform’s shares would be suspended before the start of trading on Friday.

Elon Musk is pressed for time: the judge responsible for settling the dispute between the two parties has given them until Friday to settle or the trial will be held in November.

The operation has dragged on since the announcement in late April of a $44 billion acquisition that Twitter reluctantly accepted.

The businessman tried to get out unilaterally in early July, accusing the company of lying to him, but the company’s board of directors took legal action.

A few days before the start of the lawsuit that seemed to be won by Twitter, Elon Musk finally offered to close the transaction at the price originally agreed.

“We help humanity”

The businessman, who has presented himself as a staunch defender of free speech, has already signaled his intention to loosen content moderation, reigniting fears of a possible resurgence of abuse and misinformation on the platform. For example, he opened the door to the return of Donald Trump, who was expelled from Twitter shortly after the attack on the Capitol in January 2021.

Which has deterred advertisers who often look for consensual content. However, advertising revenue, which accounted for around 90% of the company’s revenue in 2021, has already fallen significantly this year amid takeover uncertainty, a slowing economy and changes from Apple.

In his message to advertisers on Thursday, Elon Musk assures that he did not initiate the buyout because it was “easy” or “to make money”, but to “try to help humanity”.

There is a “big danger” of increasing polarization on social media, with an emphasis on far-right and far-left content, he notes.

“In addition to complying with the law, our platform must be warm and welcoming to everyone,” says the entrepreneur.

Users must be able to choose what they see on the network “according to their preferences, just as you can, for example, watch movies or play video games for all ages.”

According to Mr. Musk, it is also essential to show ads that match the “needs” of Internet users as much as possible.

According to Insider Intelligence analyst Jasmine Enberg, delivering more relevant ads is a “noble” but “difficult” goal.

Elon Musk is buying Twitter at a time when “data is already scarce and users are very skeptical about giving even more personal information to social networks,” he notes in a note.

Users seem to be increasingly gravitating towards content that brands don’t want to be associated with “and Musk’s promise [de ne pas faire de Twitter une plateforme « infernale »] probably won’t be enough to prevent “this development, the specialist believes.

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