Author: Brianna Coppola, Contributor
Elon Musk has officially bit the bullet in the purchase of Twitter for 44 billion dollars. Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors and now sole owner of Twitter, has some changes and plans in mind for the social media platform. Students around Manhattan College were asked their thoughts and opinions on Musk and Twitter.
Money and profits are Musk’s biggest priorities right now, according to The New York Times. By 2028, Musk is hoping to increase average revenue of users by $5.39 and increase revenue from payments businesses like PayPal by $15 million which will eventually grow to $1.4 billion by 2028. One of Musk’s notable financial plans is the subscription to get or keep the verified blue check.
Philip Umeadi, a freshman double major in finance and economics, shared thoughts on the new owner of Twitter and Musk’s financial plans for the platform. Umeadi was mostly concerned with how the company would be run.
“I believe he plans to add a subscription service for the verification check,” Umeadi said. “So definitely, he’s looking to make the company more profitable. He also plans to turn it private. So I think that’ll have some implication on how the company is run.”
Some concerns also stem from the fact that Musk has terminated many employees, those of who include some high profile names at the company, according to The Hill. Musk did this to avoid paying severance payouts. On Nov. 1, employees were supposed to receive stock grants. Many were fired Saturday.
“I think one thing that’s already concerning is that I think he’s cut like 75 percent of Twitter’s staff,” Umeadi said. “So just figuring out how all those guys are going to find new jobs. That’d be interesting.”
In looking at Musk’s plans for Twitter, a prominent one was unbanning those who have been banned recently, like Donald Trump, according to CNN. Many users on the platform are bracing themselves for a possible return of the former president.
Jazi Riley, sophomore at MC, discussed the probability of high profile names like Trump returning to Twitter. Riley doesn’t see it becoming an issue for the platform and its users to worry about, but also wouldn’t put it past Trump and others to do so.
“Yes, I think it’s a possibility,” Riley said. “For the Trump’s of the world, they’ve kind of moved on to new platforms like creating their own from scratch. We see this with Trump’s Truth Social. So I don’t know if Trump would necessarily leave Truth Social because of the financials that he’s invested into it, but could other people make Twitter a worse platform? Obviously, but someone like Trump, I don’t see him moving back to Twitter.”
Musk has also made a promise to restore free speech without allowing the platform to become too hectic. Many users have taken that message as an excuse to spread hate and misinformation throughout Twitter. Hate speech has skyrocketed after Musk took over, according to ABC News.
“Musk has said that he’s going to make a task force of people with different viewpoints, a number of people who don’t all think the same. He’s going to hire people like that. So I think if he sticks by that, then no, it might get better. But I think it does also have the possibility of just getting worse,” Riley said.
Musk has big dreams for the future of Twitter, those of which include cutting Twitter’s dependence on advertisers, according to CNN. Advertisers are the majority of Twitter’s revenue but Musk has made it clear that they can’t rely on them anymore.
Lorna Sheppard, a sophomore at MC, isn’t too concerned about Twitter changing drastically. Sheppard discussed some potential reasoning behind Musk’s plans, much of it being related to Musk being able to make a profit.
“I think he’s trying to change the business model of Twitter,” Sheppard said. “Maybe it sounded like he was trying to make it more like not subscription based, but like, use more payment methods like PayPal and stuff. I guess he’s trying to change the business model of Twitter so they don’t rely on advertising I guess.”
The future of Twitter is in the hands of the richest man in the world and how it’s all going to play out is still left unknown. Musk’s plans could be beneficial to the company and its users or it could be detrimental.
“I think at first it was concerning because he’s just a little controversial, but the more I looked into it, I think he just wants to make money off of Twitter,” Sheppard said. “So it’s not really that concerning. I don’t think he’s going to do anything.”
Students at MC are curious to see how Musk’s plans and ideas work out for better or for worse. Many hope for Musk to stick by his word and become a positive change for the platform. As Musk tweeted, “the bird is freed.” Many will hope so.