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Elon Musk Isn’t Popular, But He’s Good for Twitter.

Elon Musk Isn’t Popular, But He’s Good for Twitter.

Elon Musk Isn’t Popular, But He’s Good for Twitter.


Daniel Gilbane '24

Elon Musk has never been my favorite person. However, his management style and his actions in the start of his time as Twitter CEO have the potential to revive the ‘sick man of the social media giants’ back to its old, dominant market position. There are several important actions that Musk has taken so far that may just have a massive impact on the company - and the world.

The first important action to look at is the massive cuts to Twitter’s workforce. This move is by far the most controversial decision, with Musk firing almost half of Twitter’s workforce in the first few months of ownership (NYT). Yet, contrary to many initial projections, Twitter remains functional even with its workforce cut in half, indicating that a reduction in labor did not reduce productivity, but rather increased the efficiency of each employee. This frees up capital for Twitter to use either to pay off its debts, reach profitability, or fund research for other avenues of income.

Generating new avenues of income has also been an area of Musk’s success. His recent idea to revive Twitter Blue with a subscription based verification model will have a strong impact on the company. This move has been especially controversial among journalists and public figures who believe that the subscription-based model is too expensive or it allows bad actors to buy credibility. In reality, it is a move that distances Twitter from advertisers and allows Twitter to keep controversial figures on the site. In the past, Twitter verification was arbitrarily assigned based on whether the Twitter moderators thought that you were important enough for a blue checkmark. This process allowed some who are hardly public figures to be verified, while other bona fide celebrities were unable to gain verification. This new system, though with its hiccups, allows anyone who can prove they are who they say they are and are willing to pay $8 to subscribe access to all of the features of Twitter Blue and receive verification on their profile. Public figures who are deemed important enough still get an additional level of verification through the old system. This increase in revenue allows Twitter to maintain free and independent speech on the site.

As a self-proclaimed ‘champion of free speech’, Musk’s focus on restoring free and independent speech has been a particular point of contention. One action that has been especially outrageous to some is Musk’s restoration of controversial figures to the site. Twitter is not a newspaper. It does not have an editorial stance; it only facilitates a platform for discussion. While there are certainly bad actors who must not be allowed to disseminate any misinformation on Twitter (think white supremacists, terrorists, and criminals), it does not help Twitter as a platform to ban figures like former President Trump. Adding Trump back to the site rebuilds credibility with the right, gives more credibility to Twitter’s fact-checkers, and truthfully increases the number of users site wide. By adding back these already known figures and simply implementing stricter policies and fact-checking, Twitter can gain more users and credibility when it decides to fact-check misinformation.

Although these decisions have been a boon for Twitter, Musk has also made some errors in judgment in recent weeks. His largest misstep has been the removal of the Board of Directors, who serve as advisors to the CEO. Removing the board indicates to the general public that Musk might not care about feedback or any appearance of oversight. This removal, while allowing him to move quickly and take drastic measures, might leave him without anyone to challenge his decision-making and give him critical feedback.

In general, while I think Musk’s acquisition of Twitter is odd, the executive moves he has made thus far are good for the company and for its bottom line. Elon Musk is a multi-billionaire founder of three Fortune 500 companies. ( later PayPal, SpaceX, and Tesla) He understands how to run a company and I am excited to see what steps he makes to help Twitter rise to prominence yet again.

Benjamin Who is an editor-in-chief of The Record.

February 1st

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Editor's Note: This article was recovered from The Record's online archive. There may be stylistic and visual errors that interrupt the reading experience, as well as missing photos. To read this article as it appeared in print, view our print archives.

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Editorials are written by members of The Record's Executive Board. They typically center on issues related to the school or student life on campus.

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