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Wednesday, May 18, 2022
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Elon Musk to fire 1,000 Twitter staff, 5x revenue, 69m pay $3 a month

Elon Musk to fire 1,000 Twitter staff, 5x revenue, 69m pay $3 a month

Elon Musk is planning to fire 1,000 staffers at Twitter as soon as his purchase of the social media platform is complete.

It's believed he will fire many of the firm's woke staff following the transfer of ownership which will take around six months, after which Musk is likely to wield the ax.

But then within the next three years, Musk anticipates making thousands of new hires, swelling the ranks to around 11,000 employees, up from 7,500 currently.

Much of the new talent is likely to be in the field of engineering.

Numbers at the company would fluctuate rising to 9,225 employees this year before falling to 8,332 in 2023. Then adding a further 2,700 workers by 2025.

Most of the jobs being shelved would occur during the takeover period, according to a pitch deck Musk presented this week to investors and seen by the New York Times

The changes Musk will make are part of his plan to increase Twitter 's annual revenue by five times current levels to $26.4 billion by 2028, up from $5 billion last year

Advertising on the platform is set to fall to 45% of total revenue by 2028 under Musk, down from about 90% in 2020


On a company level, Musk has previously floated the idea of closing down the San Francisco headquarters in order to save money and that board members may also not receive a salary, shaving off another $3 million in expenses.

The changes Musk makes are part of his plan to increase Twitter's annual revenue by five times current levels to $26.4 billion by 2028, up from $5 billion last year.

Advertising on the platform is set to fall to 45% of total revenue under Musk, down from about 90% in 2020.

By 2028, he plans for ads to generate $12 billion in revenue in 2028, while subscriptions are expected to pull in another $10 billion, according to the report.

Musk is said to favor a subscription-based model over advertiser funding, as it would make Twitter less beholden to advertiser pressure. He has even suggested users could pay with cryptocurrency, including joke currency Dogecoin which Musk has long had an affection for.

Other revenue would come from businesses such as data licensing.

Musk has also tweeted about potentially monetizing tweets, although he has not provided specific details.

Musk also plans to see Twitter's cash flow rise to $3.2 billion in 2025 and $9.4 billion in 2028.

Numbers at the company would fluctuate rising to 9,225 employees this year before falling to 8,332 in 2023. Then adding a further 2,700 workers by 2025.

Musk anticipates Twitter’s total number of users will grow from 217 million at the end of last year to nearly 600 million in 2025 and 931 million six years from now

Elon Musk plans to quintuple Twitter's revenue to $26.4 billion by 2028 In a pitch deck Musk claimed he would increase Twitter’s annual revenue to $26.4 billion by 2028, up from $5 billion last year


Twitter's cash flow with be increased by taking on $13 billion of debt as part of Musk's buyout of the company.

However he plans to pay down the debt and increase the company's cash's flow.

Last month, Musk started a poll on his Twitter account - which has more than 81 million followers - asking whether the firm's San Francisco headquarters should be converted to a homeless shelter as 'no-one shows up (to work there)'.

The poll got more 300,000 votes in an hour, with 90% answering yes.

It comes weeks after Twitter brass - who offered staffers the option of working from home 'forever' during the pandemic - reopened its offices March 15, with remote work remaining an option for staffers.

Musk clinched a deal in April to buy Twitter for $44 billion in cash, in a move that will shift control of the social media platform populated by millions of users and global leaders to the Tesla chief.

The billionaire has promised to revitalize the company and expand the number of users by cracking down on spam bots and reducing the amount of moderation to facilitate more 'free speech'.

After the closure of the deal, Musk is expected to become Twitter's temporary CEO it was revealed on Thursday.

Among his other goals, Musk expects the social media company to bring in $15 million from a payments business in 2023 that will grow to about $1.3 billion by 2028.

As one of the founders of PayPal, Musk is familiar with the world of digital payments.

Twitter's payments business today, which includes tipping and shopping, is negligible.

It's believed Musk may also want to introduce payment abilities to Twitter.

Musk also said he'd cut Twitter’s reliance on ads to less than 50% percent of revenue

On March 25, Musk tweeted a poll: 'Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?'

A top priority for Musk is to eliminate 'bots' which frequently generate spam and run scams

Musk said that his take over of Twitter would lead to the take down of spam bots and provide all human users with blue check marks to verify their identities


Musk anticipates he can increase Twitter's average revenue per user to $30.22 in 2028 from $24.83 last year, it added.

Revenue from Twitter Blue, the company's premium subscription service launched last year, is expected to have 69 million users by 2025.

Users currently pay $3 a month to customize their experience on the app.

Musk hopes that plans to boost Twitter’s user numbers will also see more taking out subscriptions to Twitter Blue.

Twitter's board members may also not receive a salary, shaving off another $3 million in expenses

Earlier in April, Musk took aim at the company's lax remote working policies, saying he came up with the plan 'since no one shows up anyway.'


Musk, in a now deleted tweet last month, suggested a raft of changes to the social media giant's Twitter Blue premium subscription service, including slashing its price.

Other mooted changes include blue verification checkmarks for anyone who subscribes to Twitter's premium Blue service, which costs $2.99 a month.

Twitter Blue, launched in June 2021, is said to offer 'exclusive access to premium features' on a monthly subscription basis, Twitter says. It is available in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

'Price should probably be ~$2/month, but paid 12 months up front; account doesn't get checkmark for 60 days (watch for credit card chargebacks) & suspended with no refund if used for scam/spam,' Musk said in a tweet from last month.

'And no ads,' Musk suggested. 'The power of corporations to dictate policy is greatly enhanced if Twitter depends on advertising money to survive.'

Dogecoin is widely seen as a joke cryptocurrency, with one Dogecoin worth $0.127 as of May 7


Musk also proposed an option to pay with dogecoin and asked Twitter users for their views.

On Thursday, Musk listed a group of high-profile investors who are ready to provide funding of $7.14 billion for his Twitter bid, including Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and Sequoia Capital.

Musk has increased the financing commitment to $27.25 billion, which includes commitments from 19 investors, and reduced a margin loan from Morgan Stanley tied to his Tesla stock to $6.25 billion.

Musk, the world's richest man, is worth $255 billion - but much of that money is tied up in Tesla stock. He is believed to have 'only' $3 billion in cash, Bloomberg reported last month.

He has already secured commitments for $13 billion in loans against Twitter shares.

Last week, Musk disclosed he sold $8.5 billion worth of Tesla stock following his agreement to buy the platform.

Musk has also pledged some of his Tesla shares to banks to arrange a $12.5 billion margin loan to help fund the deal.



Throughout April, Musk has been suggesting further changes to Twitter's business model including tweaks to the platform's premium Blue service, including a cheaper subscription price, banning ads and offering the option to pay in cryptocurrency

Twitter Blue, launched in June 2021, is Twitter's first subscription service and offers 'exclusive access to premium features' on a monthly subscription basis


Musk has vowed to let everyone say whatever they want on Twitter after his takeover of the social media giant.

He is said to favor temporary 'timeouts' for users who break the new rules, rather than permanent bans such as those given to Donald Trump.

Musk has also teased at other new features including an 'edit' button to adjust previously posted tweets and also making the platforms algorithms 'open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots and authenticating all humans.'

That would enable people to see exactly why Twitter had chosen to make some tweets more visible to users than others.

A top priority for Musk is to eliminate 'bots' which frequently generate spam and run scams.

On Monday, at the Met Gala - his first public appearance since the deal was agreed - he was asked about his plans for Twitter.

'My goal, assuming everything gets done, is to make Twitter as inclusive as possible and to have as broad a swathe of people on Twitter as possible,' he said.

'And that it is entertaining and funny and they have as much fun as possible.'

Twitter shares ended trading down 1.11 percent at $49.79 in New York on Friday.

Musk would have to pay a $1 billion termination fee to Twitter if he walked away, and the social media company could also sue him to complete the deal.



Last month, he spoke during an interview at a TED conference where he outlined how he might change the company which has more than 200 million users around the globe.

Musk reiterated his push to relax Twitter's policy on the moderating of content.

Twitter takes its content moderation seriously arguing that it is good for business but if Musk follows through it could put the onus on users to combat bullying and misinformation on the platform.

'Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,' Musk said in a news release announcing the deal.

Musk has made it clear that he is not keen on the permanent banning of users and prefers timeouts instead.

It is well known that an edit button would be widely welcomed by users.

Musk polled Twitter users to see if they wanted one. It resulted in four million people responding with 70% voting in favor.

Twitter said at the time that it had been working on such a feature since last year.

It doesn't necessarily mean that tweets would become shorter. On the contrary, Musk has told of his desire for Twitter to allow 'long-form' tweets.

In most cases, tweets can contain up to 280 characters which is double the previous limit of 140.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted earlier this month asking his followers whether they would like Twitter to have an edit button


The company clarified that it was already working on adding an edit button before Musk's poll, pointing to an April 1 tweet announcing their plans

Twitter also shared a mock-up of what an edit button would look like, giving users the ability to change their posts after sharing


Elon Musk's big plans for Twitter: What we know so far


FREE SPEECH TOWN SQUARE

Musk's feistiest priority - but also the one with the vaguest roadmap - is to make Twitter a 'politically neutral' digital town square for the world's discourse that allows as much free speech as each country's laws allow.

He's acknowledged that his plans to reshape Twitter could anger the political left and mostly please the right. He hasn't specified exactly what he'll do about former President Donald Trump's permanently banned account or other right-wing leaders whose tweets have run afoul of the company's restrictions against hate speech, violent threats or harmful misinformation.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduces the Cybertruck at Tesla's design studio Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, in Hawthorne, Calif. Musk has laid out some bold, if still vague, plans for transforming Twitter into a place of 'maximum fun!' once he buys the social media platform for $44 billion and takes it private


Should Musk go this direction, it could mean bringing back not only Trump, but 'many, many others that were removed as a result of QAnon conspiracies, targeted harassment of journalists and activists, and of course all of the accounts that were removed after Jan. 6,' said Joan Donovan, who studies misinformation at Harvard University. 'That could potentially be hundreds of thousands of people.'

Musk hasn't ruled out suspending some accounts, but says such bans should be temporary. His latest criticism has centered around what he described as Twitter´s 'incredibly inappropriate' 2020 blocking of a New York Post article on Hunter Biden, which the company has said was a mistake and corrected within 24 hours.

OPEN-SOURCED ALGORITHMS


Musk's longstanding interest in AI is reflected in one of the most specific proposals he outlined in his merger announcement - the promise of 'making the algorithms open source to increase trust.' He's talking about the systems that rank content to decide what shows up on users´ feeds.

Partly driving the distrust, at least for Musk supporters, is lore among U.S. political conservatives about 'shadow banning' on social media. This is a supposed invisible feature for reducing the reach of badly behaving users without disabling their accounts. There has been no evidence that Twitter's platform is biased against conservatives; studies have found the opposite when it comes to conservative media in particular.

Musk has called for posting the underlying computer code powering Twitter's news feed for public inspection on the coder hangout GitHub. But such 'code-level transparency' gives users little insight into how Twitter is working for them without the data the algorithms are processing, said Nick Diakopoulos, a Northwestern University computer scientist.

Diakopoulos said there are good intentions in Musk's broader goal to help people find out why their tweets get promoted or demoted and whether human moderators or automated systems are making those choices. But that's no easy task. Too much transparency about how individual tweets are ranked, for instance, can make it easier for 'disingenuous people' to game the system and manipulate an algorithm to get maximum exposure for their cause, Diakopoulos said.

`DEFEATING THE SPAM BOTS´


'Spam bots' that mimic real people have been a personal nuisance to Musk, whose popularity on Twitter has inspired countless impersonator accounts that use his image and name - often to promote cryptocurrency scams that look as if they're coming from the Tesla CEO.

Sure, Twitter users, among them Musk, 'don´t want spam,' said David Greene, civil liberties director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. But who defines what counts as a spam bot?

'Do you mean all bots like, you know, if I follow a Twitter bot that just pulls up historic photos of fruits? I choose to follow that. Is that not allowed to exist?' he said.

There are also plenty of spam-filled Twitter accounts at least partially run by real people that run the gamut from ones that hawk products to those promoting polarizing political content to meddle in other countries' elections.

`AUTHENTICATE ALL HUMANS'


Musk has repeatedly said he wants Twitter to 'authenticate all humans,' an ambiguous proposal that could be related to his desire to rid the website of spam accounts.

Ramping up mundane identity checks - such as two-factor authentication or popups that ask which of six photos shows a school bus - could discourage anyone from trying to amass an army of bogus accounts.

Musk might also be considering offering more people a 'blue check' - the verification checkmark sported on notable Twitter accounts - like Musk's - to show they're who they say they are. Musk has suggested users could buy the checkmarks as part of a premium service.

But some digital rights activists are concerned these measures could lead to a 'real-name' policy resembling Facebook's approach of forcing people to validate their full names and use them in their profiles. That would seem to contradict Musk's free speech focus by muzzling anonymous whistleblowers or people living under authoritarian regimes where it can be dangerous if a dissident message is attributable to a particular person.

AD-FREE TWITTER?


Musk has floated the idea of an ad-free Twitter, though it wasn't one of the priorities outlined in the official merger announcement. That may be because cutting off the company's chief way of making money would be a tall order, even for the world's richest person.

Advertisements accounted for more than 92% of Twitter's revenue in the January-March fiscal quarter. The company did last year launch a premium subscription service - known as Twitter Blue - but doesn't appear to have made much headway in getting people to pay for it.

Musk has made clear he favors a stronger subscription-based model for Twitter that gives more people an ad-free option. That would also fit into his push to relax Twitter's content restrictions - which brands largely favor because they don't want their ads surrounded by offensive and hate-filled tweets.

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