Elon Musk is trying, once again, to sell his vision of Twitter’s future to the company’s advertisers. Musk, who by all accounts has yet to address Twitter’s remaining staff as a group, joined an hour-long “town hall” to take questions from advertisers and share more about his plans for the platform.
The company’s advertising business has taken a significant hit in recent days as a number of major brands have pulled back from the platform and activists have called for a boycott. Musk said last week that these actions had caused a “massive drop in revenue” for Twitter.
In his talk on Twitter Spaces, Musk tried again to reassure advertisers that their brands would be safe on the platform. He said that ads appearing next to hate speech “isn’t great” and pitched the newly launched Twitter Blue as a way to decrease hate speech on the platform. Under the new Twitter Blue, brands will need to pay for the blue check like all other accounts, Musk said. He added that anyone impersonating a brand would be permanently banned from the service.
He also said that he hopes to make Twitter ads a lot more relevant, and wants to integrate ads into recommended tweets. The goal, he said, was to “drive sales in the short term and protect the demand in the long term.”
Notably, he struck a much different tone than in recent tweets when he threatened “a thermonuclear name and shame” for advertisers boycotting the platform. “I understand if people kind of want to give it a minute and see how things are evolving,” he said. “We've been more rigorous about clamping down on bad content and bots and trolls, not less. So my observation of Twitter over the past few weeks is that the content is actually improving, not getting worse.” He added that brands and advertisers should be more active on the platform and that if they see something they don’t like they should “reply to one of my tweets and I’ll do my best to respond.”
Musk also talked more about his philosophy on content moderation, though he didn’t share any concrete changes to Twitter’s policies or how its moderation council might function. "We have to be, I think, tolerant of views we don't agree with, but those views don't need to be amplified," he said.
He also stated that he has plans to make Community Notes, the crowd-sourced fact checking feature that used to be known as Birdwatch, a more central part of the platform. “This is really gonna help in improving the accuracy of what's said in the system.” He also suggested that Community Notes would have an impact on the visibility of content on Twitter. “It's analogous to the way sort of Page Rank works in Google, where the the prominence of a webpage is proportionate to how much weight other prominent web pages give that web page. I think it’s a game changer.”