Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive planning to acquire Twitter, suggested Wednesday that it is possible that the social network may charge fees to certain users in the future.
“Twitter will always be free for casual users, but perhaps a slight cost for commercial / government users,” he wrote in a tweet.
Mr. Musk does not yet own Twitter, but has reached a deal to buy the company about 44 billion dollars last week, and he publicly shared his ideas on how the company could change from before the deal was reached.
Mr. Musk has previously commented on Twitter’s revenue model, which is based on ad dollars, and suggested changes. In April, he said that users of Twitter’s premium subscription service, Twitter Blue, should pay $ 3 a month and immediately get a verified account.
So Mr. Musk suggested get rid of advertisements on the sitein a tweet that he has since deleted. “Everyone who signs up for Twitter Blue (ie, pays $ 3 per month) should get an authentication checkmark,” she wrote in April. “And no advertising. The power of companies to dictate policy is greatly enhanced if Twitter depends on advertising for money to survive. “
The financing plan for the acquisition, which includes a mix of loans from banks and billions of dollars in cash – will increase tons of debt on Twitter. It’s unclear whether the service can handle more debt on its balance sheet or find other major sources of revenue to replace advertising.
Mr. Musk is also pushing to reduce restrictions on the platform, after the company spent years stepping up its content moderation efforts to combat disinformation and hate speech.
For now, Twitter is still dependent on advertising money, and advertisers are often wary of associating with polarizing content. A much freer Twitter could have financial consequences.