Elon Musk Conquers, Then Divides

Elon Musk Conquers, Then Divides

over 1 year ago2 mins

Elon Musk reportedly laid out plans this week to cut half of Twitter’s workforce.

What does this mean?

It was back in the heady days of early spring that Elon Musk first offered to buy Twitter, and it’s taken him till past spooky season to make good on his offer. The interim’s been pretty chaotic, but a whirlwind of back-and-forths, legal challenges and defenses ultimately forced the deal through – and now the world’s richest man is on a cost-cutting crusade. Little wonder, either: markets have tumbled drastically since April, meaning it’s likely Musk seriously overpaid for the big blue bird. That’s probably only strengthening his resolve to bid adieu to 3,700 employees, half Twitter’s entire workforce.

Twitter workforce size
Source: Barron’s

Why should I care?

Zooming in: Free speech, empty pockets.

Cutting costs is just one side of the equation: Twitter needs to start bringing in more dough too, and that could prove trickier. See, Musk’s vision of Twitter as a bastion of free speech has got businesses clutching their pearls, halting ad spending left, right, and center. Interpublic – one of the world’s biggest ad groups – told its clients to postpone Twitter ads for at least a week, and companies like Carlsberg and General Motors are taking the same tack.

The bigger picture: Born to be blue.

One bright money-raising idea of Musk’s is to charge $8 a month for perks like fewer ads, boosted tweets, and the little blue verification tick that appears next to users’ handles – a badge of honor that used to be the preserve of high-falutin’ celebs, politicians, and journalists. But the plan’s not without issues: for one, it could ironically make it easier to impersonate people, with any paying, fake account suddenly rubber-stamped in blue. And for another, it could create a potentially ugly divide between those who can and can’t afford the fee, amplifying paying users’ voices over everyone else’s.



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