Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams created Twitter in March 2006. The social media platform launched in July of that year. Since that time, Twitter has grown to have hundreds of millions of active users.
Twitter users have become accustomed to Tweeting and re-Tweeting on a whim. Additionally, writers have become accustomed to utilizing Tweets to support their stories. All of this has always been free to the user. Twitter made its money by selling advertising services, data licensing and other services.
Elon Musk, however, may have some other ideas for revenue. His biggest stated reason for purchasing Twitter is to transform it into a place where speech isn’t censored. As the richest man in the world, he certainly didn’t need it to make money. His investors, however, do.
In order to acquire the liquid cash to purchase the company and privatize it, Musk had to convince banks that his version of Twitter would make money. He reportedly told the banks that he could cut executive salaries and monetize Tweets.
Musk has Tweeted that he could start charging governments and commercial businesses a “slight” cost to use Twitter. He said it will always be free for casual users.
According to Rolling Stone, Musk is also “mulling over monetizing tweets ‘that contain important information or go viral,’… as well as charging websites a fee to quote or embed tweets from verified accounts.”
In since deleted Tweets from Musk, he suggested not allowing advertising on the platform once it is his. Here was his rational: “The power of corporations to dictate policy is greatly enhanced if Twitter depends on advertising money to survive.” That’s certainly true.
Most of us are aware that, for a site to be free to us, we must put up with some advertising. Afterall, most businesses operate to make money, and advertising is one way to achieve that goal. It’s too bad Musk wasn’t able to just outright purchase Twitter with his own cash. Then he wouldn’t have to find ways to monetize it, if he didn’t want to. But alas, that is not the case.
What would you prefer Musk do to make money from Twitter?