Musk makes his mark

Less than a week into his tenure as “Chief Twit” turned “Twitter Complaint Hotline Operator,” Elon Musk is moving quickly to make his mark on Twitter by revamping its business model. 

What happened: Musk wants to diversify Twitter’s revenue stream away from advertising by focusing on subscriptions and user fees, including a revamped “Twitter Blue” product. 

  • The subscription will cost $8 a month (down from $20 after an intervention by author Stephen King) and include a checkmark badge, fewer ads, and priority placement in the platform’s feed.
  • Other ideas from Musk and his lieutenants: Letting users charge for video views, bringing back the short-form video platform Vine, and launching an enterprise product

Yes, but: Those ideas may turn into revenue down the road, but right now advertising makes up ~90% of Twitter’s revenue—and that part of the business is experiencing some turbulence.

  • The company’s chief marketing officer and head of ad sales have left the company.
  • Ad businesses are advising clients to suspend their Twitter campaigns over worries that promotions may appear next to offensive content if Musk loosens moderation. 

Why it matters: Twitter is a small fish in a big social media pond (Facebook has six times as many active users) but the reach of the platform’s most prominent personalities means the changes Musk makes will have an outsized impact on what the future of social looks like.