What Elon Musk said publicly and privately about X App

  • Elon Musk discussed his plans for X, an “app for everything”, on Twitter and in private messages.
  • The billionaire drew inspiration for the idea from the popular Chinese super-app WeChat.
  • Here’s everything we know about Musk’s plans for X and Twitter.

If Elon Musk’s deal to buy Twitter ends, the billionaire will have taken the first step towards something he calls “X,” his vision for a new type of social media platform that most of the United States he has never experienced before.

An “all app”, as Musk says.

Tesla CEO has She said the acquisition will act as an “accelerator” for the creation of X, accelerating the process over three to five years.

Musk has been talking for months about building X. In August, when a Twitter user asked him if he had considered building his own social platform, he he answered, “X.com” – a web domain that he purchased over five years ago. At Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting that same month, Musk said he had “a pretty grand vision” for X as “something that would be very useful for the world.”

While it’s unclear whether Musk plans to turn Twitter into X or use it to build an entirely new platform, the billionaire left several tips on his plans to shake up the social media world.

Here’s what he said publicly – and privately, via recently released text messages – about the idea.

A new super app

X wouldn’t be the first app to try to do a little bit of everything. In fact, Musk indicated in May that he may be seeking inspiration from Tencent’s WeChat, a Chinese social media giant that is one of the biggest super-apps in the world.

WeChat serves as an all-encompassing service: from messaging and video chat to video games, photo sharing, driving services, food delivery, banking and shopping.

In this photo illustration, the WeChat app is displayed in the App Store on an Apple iPhone on August 7, 2020 in Washington, DC.

In this photo illustration, the WeChat app is displayed in the App Store on an Apple iPhone on August 7, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Photo illustration by Drew Angerer / Getty Images

“If you’re in China, you live on WeChat,” he said. “It does everything, kind of like Twitter, plus PayPal, plus a lot of stuff, and all in one, with a great interface. It’s really an excellent app and we don’t have anything like that outside of China.”

At his first town hall with Twitter staff, the billionaire said there is a “real opportunity” to create a similar app outside of China.

“I think if we could achieve this, or even get close to that with Twitter, it would be an immense success,” he said.

Matt Navarra, a leading social media consultant, told Insider that it wouldn’t make sense to gut Twitter and turn it into a super-app, but it could become a kind of “mini-app” within Musk’s broader platform.

Sha Zhu, of Washington, displays the WeChat app on his phone, which he uses to keep in touch with family and friends in the US and China, Tuesday, August 18, 2020, in Washington.

Sha Zhu, of Washington, displays the WeChat app on his phone, which he uses to keep in touch with family and friends in the US and China, Tuesday, August 18, 2020, in Washington.

Photo by AP / Jacquelyn Martin

Private texts on a blockchain-based platform

Musk also discussed building a blockchain-based social media platform. The billionaire is known for his love of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Dogecoin.

In April, the billionaire privately outlined his idea for a “Doge” social media platform in text messages to his younger brother, Kimbal Musk. The messages were made public as part of Musk’s judicial battle with Twitter.

“I have an idea for a blockchain social media system that runs both payments and short text / link messages like Twitter,” Musk wrote. “You have to pay a small fee to post your message on the chain, which will eliminate most of the spam and bots.”

Musk said the site would have a “huge real-time database” that would keep permanent copies of messages and followers and a “Twitter-like app on the phone” that could access the database in the cloud.

A subscription model

Musk’s idea for a blockchain-based platform fuels some of his discussions of Twitter’s revenue model.

The billionaire has it several times expressed his aversion to advertising, but advertising accounts for the vast majority of Twitter’s revenue. In a deleted tweet since April, Musk said the company should exist ad-free.

Twitter Blue subscription page, where you can subscribe for 4.99 per month

Click the Subscribe button below to join Twitter Blue.

Will Fischer

Instead, Musk has talked about make money from Twitter through alternative methods, including charging some users to be on the site. While Twitter has already begun charging some users for special features via Twitter Blue, Tesla’s CEO has been critical of it. In April, he said that users of the premium subscription service should pay $ 3 per month and get a verified account immediately.

The billionaire also noted that the app could help promote payments directly to users, although Twitter launched a “Tips” feature last year that includes an option to pay users with Bitcoin.

“It is important for content creators to have a revenue share,” Musk said at a May event for the “All-In” podcast.

The billionaire also discussed tweaking Twitter’s algorithm and making its code open source, as well as adding an edit button, a feature the site recently enabled for Twitter Blue subscribers.

Emphasis on free speech

Whatever Musk builds, expect him to have a much looser free speech policy than Twitter today.

Moss often refers to Twitter as a “town square” and has She said it is against censorship that it “goes far beyond the law”.

President Donald Trump speaks with Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, center, and White House chief strategist Steve Bannon during a meeting with business leaders in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington on Friday, February 3, 2017.

Donald Trump on Tuesday escalated his feud with Elon Musk in a series of posts on Truth Social belittling the billionaire.

Evan Vucci / AP Photo

The billionaire has been critical of Twitter’s ban on some users, including the permanent ban on former President Donald Trump following the uprising on the US Capitol. Musk said he will reinstate Trump if he goes through with the purchase.

Social media expert Navarro said businesses are unlikely to want to advertise alongside posts that might be labeled objectionable, but noted it might be a good move for Twitter to diversify its revenue sources.

A battle against bots

One thing is clear in all of Musk’s dealings with Twitter: the billionaire’s social media platform will be tasked with deleting scam accounts.

Musk called the bots on Twitter “single most annoying problem“and made the number of scam accounts on the site the focus of his attempts to wriggle out of the purchase months ago.

In an April 14 interview with TED 2022, Musk cited this issue as the first thing he would change as a new Twitter owner – it’s fair to expect that whatever X ends up being focused on killing bots as well.

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