Today, Elon Musk hosted a question and answer session on Twitter Spaces, open to the public. The session was hosted by Twitter Client Solutions Leader Robin Wheeler, who was joined by Musk, Twitter Trust and Safety Director Yoel Roth, and International Advertising Bureau CEO David Cohen.
—Robin Wheeler (@robinw) November 9, 2022
Journalists and listeners on Twitter reported that the session was fairly unstructured, wandering between the big topics Musk has been talking about since he began working to buy the platform: his desire for Twitter to be “a force for good in civilization “, your thoughts on monetization and user verification.
Some conclusions, transcribed in the Tech Crunch and Twitter coverage:
On his goals for the platform
We really want to be, as I mentioned publicly before, a kind of digital public square, where that’s as inclusive as possible… For example, can we have 80% of humanity on Twitter and talking, and maybe, ideally, on a positive way? Can we exchange… instead of having violence, have words, and maybe from time to time people change their minds? The overall goal here is, how can we make Twitter a force for good in civilization?
Someone has to have a phone, a credit card, and $8 a month. That’s the bar.
On the control of spam, trolls and fake accounts
The thing is that creating a fake account is extremely cheap, maybe it’s a tenth of a penny,” he said. “By charging $8 a month, you increase the cost of a bot or troll between 1,000 and 10,000.
Wouldn’t a state actor have $8 million a day to create a million fake accounts? Well, yes, they have the budget. But here’s the problem. They don’t have a million credit cards and they don’t have a million phones. That’s the real trick. There is no way to beat that. And we will vigorously pursue any phishing.
On the reach of tweets from different users
Over time, maybe not that long, when you look at mentions and replies and whatnot, the default will be to check. You can still look at it without verifying, just like in your gmail or whatever, you can still look at the probable spam folder,” Musk said. “You can still see all the others, but it will default to the highly, very relevant category to be checked.
Mega billionaire Elon Musk is hosting a live Q&A on Twitter right now about advertising on the platform he recently took over.
He says he sees a paywall as the best way to mitigate ‘loud’ hateful behavior on the platform
— Ellie Sennett (@EllieMSennett) November 9, 2022
Elon Musk currently speaking on Twitter explaining the goal of having peer to peer payments and money market accounts https://t.co/x2w7mru5jg
—Jimmy Lovaas (@jimmylovaas) November 9, 2022
“If things go wrong, it’s my fault. The ball stops with me,” @Elon Musk
“The best way to see how things evolve is to use Twitter”
“The content is actually getting better”
— Chandra R. Srikanth (@chandrarsrikant) November 9, 2022
Reactions to what Musk said ranged from optimistic to critical. In terms of positive reactions, people seemed to appreciate that the meeting was held in an open forum and that Musk seemed genuinely interested in answering questions and thinking things out loud.
Over 110,000 people listening to Elon explain and answer questions about: The future of Twitter in Spaces is already a massive change from the previous management style. https://t.co/o5sHrYmdqO
— markopohlo.eth (@marko_pohlo) November 9, 2022
The one where Elon is clear, consistent, a bit of a joker, and it doesn’t work. So far so good. He still doesn’t pay $8 as he’s not specific about value and he’s still all lords and peasants waving – Twitter set it up this way, not us. https://t.co/kSJeSq8Q1z
— Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) November 9, 2022
On the other hand, other people found Musk’s unfocused talk and ideas troubling. People are doubtful of one particular claim that Musk seems very sure of: that if people have to pay to use Twitter, they’ll behave better on it.
Elon: “In America we made a war to get rid of these things”
[this stuff = how some people don’t have checkmarks]https://t.co/3gUfKrJ3zx
— Katie Notopoulos (@katienotopoulos) November 9, 2022
—Scott Monty (@ScottMonty) November 9, 2022
wow listening @Elon Musk Speaking during this Twitter slot makes it clearer than ever that his goal with the verification changes is essentially to end anonymous speech on Twitter… possibly one of the most anti-free speech things you could do.
— Evan Greer is in Mastodon (@evan_greer) November 9, 2022
Elon arguing that people won’t pay $8 and engage in hateful content. So let’s bookmark that claim for later. https://t.co/hFZS8sT8E8
—Jason Goldman (@goldman) November 9, 2022
Musk has yet to make a decision about charging users for Twitter accounts, and it’s unclear how he will accomplish his goal of making Twitter a place for free speech while also suspending accounts that make jokes about Twitter. the. We will be looking forward to the next session of Twitter Spaces.
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