How Twitter will change with Musk as boss

How Twitter will change with Musk as boss

Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, has finally realised his dream of taking over popular microblogging platform Twitter at a price of $44 billion or $54.20 per share.

And with Musk at the helm, Twitter is likely to see a sea of changes coming its way, starting from an organisation overhaul to sweeping changes in the way the social media website functions. Here is a lowdown on what is expected once the Tesla CEO takes over the reins of the company:

Employees anticipate layoffs

In a virtual meeting soon after Musk’s announcement of having bought all shares of the microblogging site, Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal briefed employees on things that are likely to change once the Tesla chief takes over.

While fears of layoff hangs in the air, Agarwal has assured employees that there are no such plan at this point of time or till the deal closes by the end of the year.

“Between now and closing…we will continue making decisions as we’ve always had, guided by the principles we’ve had,” he said.

He, however, said that there will be “positive changes,” hinting at a possible change in leadership roles.

Also read: Explainer: What’s next now that Twitter has agreed to Musk bid

“That doesn’t mean things won’t change, things have been changing…I have been talking about driving positive change at the company, and I will continue doing so because it makes us better and it makes us stronger. Once the deal closes, different decisions might be made,” he said.

A new CEO?

Agarwal has told employees that while he will continue to be the company’s CEO until the deal is finalised, uncertainty looms over the fate of managerial positions after Musk takes over.

Agarwal had been made the CEO five months ago after co-founder Jack Dorsey stepped down. As per the deal with Musk, Agarwal will get a settlement of $42 million if he is sacked within 12 months of a change in regime in the social media company.

Such a move is highly possible as Musk in a securities filing on April 14 had said that he did not have confidence in Twitter’s management.

Brett Taylor, Twitter board’s independent chair has also said that the board will dissolve once Musk becomes the company’s owner, indicating that he may hire a new CEO to run the firm.

Change in salary structure

With the public traded firm set to become a private company under Musk, a new salary structure will be worked out for employees. While employees would no longer be able to get a share in company stocks, it is yet to be know if Musk would provide equity options for them.

Fixing Twitter: Free speech, edit button and more

In a series of tweets in the past, Musk has made several suggestions to change Twitter including granting automatic verification marks to premium users and adding an edit button to tweets.

Giving his followers a peek into his list of plans to “fix” Twitter, on Monday, Musk hinted that he may start by making Twitter a platform for free speech.

“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,” he tweeted.

“I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans,” he tweeted, laying bare his plans for the newly-acquired business.

In a tweet that he has deleted now, Musk pitched for the removal of ads on Twitter. He, on the other hand, bats for a subscription model which is cheaper than the current package of Twitter Blue.

The Tesla CEO is also expected to address the issue of spam bots which he has dubbed the “single most annoying problem” on Twitter and a pathway to crypto-based scams.

Musk himself was among several high-profile Twitter users who were impersonated through fake accounts in a bitcoin scam in 2020.

While Twitter has a sophisticated mechanism to disable fake accounts, botmakers are now able to breeze past these gateways undetected. It is also difficult to detect fake accounts created by real people for defrauding purposes.

Musk’s solution to the problem is to authenticate “all real humans” or have accounts linked to personal identifiers like email address, phone numbers or photos.

Amid complaints by users about algorithms defining their browsing activity, Musk plans to open source Twitter’s algorithms or let it out in public why a particular tweet is being suggested or promoted on the site.

Also read: Musk’s idea of ‘free speech’ worries analysts about future of Twitter

A highly sought-after move that Musk is likely to make is introducing an edit button to tweets. A whopping 73 per cent of his 4.4 million followers had said yes when Musk on April 4 polled to know if they would like an edit button on their tweets.

While it may be good news for users, it would also enable nefarious users to alter records of public conversation, and encourage hackers to ransack government accounts to change information.

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