What Elon Musk said publicly – and in private texts – about X, his idea of ​​an “everything app”

Patrick Pleul/Getty Images; Twitter; Vicky Leta / Insider

  • Elon Musk has discussed his plans for X, an “everything app”, on Twitter and in private texts.
  • The billionaire was inspired by the idea of ​​the popular Chinese super app WeChat.
  • Here’s everything we know about Musk’s plans for X and Twitter.
  • For more stories, visit Business Insider.

If Elon Musk’s deal to buy Twitter goes through, the billionaire will have taken the first step toward something he calls “X,” his vision for a new kind of social media platform that most of the states- United have never known before.

An “everything app,” as Musk puts it.

The CEO of Tesla has said the acquisition will act as an “accelerator” for the creation of X — jump-starting the three- to five-year process.

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

While it’s unclear whether Musk plans to turn Twitter into an X or use it to create an entirely new platform, the billionaire has dropped several clues regarding his plans to shake up the social media world.

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

A great new app

X wouldn’t be the first app to try to do a bit of everything. In fact, Musk indicated in May could take inspiration from Tencent’s WeChat, a Chinese social media juggernaut that’s one of the biggest super apps in the world.

WeChat acts as a complete service – from messaging and video chat to video games, photo sharing, transportation 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.

“If you’re in China, you kind of live on WeChat,” he said. “It does it all – kind of like Twitter, plus PayPal, plus a whole bunch of stuff, and all in one, with a great interface. It really is a great app, and we don’t have anything like it outside of China. “

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

“I think if we could achieve that, or even come close to it with Twitter, that would be a huge success,” he said.

Matt Navarra, one of the top social media consultants, told Insider that it wouldn’t make sense to gut Twitter and turn it into a super app, but it could become something of a “mini app” at the moment. within Musk’s larger platform.

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 pitched his idea for a “Doge” social media platform in texts to his younger brother, Kimbal Musk. The posts were made public as part of Musk’s legal battle with Twitter.

“I have an idea for a blockchain social media system that does both payments and short text messages/links like Twitter,” Musk wrote. “You have to pay a nominal fee to register your post on the channel, which will eliminate the majority of spam and bots.”

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

A subscription model

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

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

What Elon Musk said publicly - and in private texts - about X, his idea of ​​a

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

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

“It’s important for content creators to have revenue sharing,” Musk said. said during a May event for the “All-In” podcast.

The billionaire also discussed changing 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 followers.

A focus on freedom of expression

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

Musk often refers to Twitter as a “town square” and has said he is against censorship which “goes far beyond the law”.

The billionaire criticized Twitter’s banning of certain users, including its permanent ban of former President Donald Trump following the uprising at the US Capitol. Musk has said he will reinstate Trump if he makes the purchase.

Social media expert Navarro said companies are unlikely to want to advertise alongside posts that might qualify as disreputable, but noted that it could be a good move for Twitter to diversify its sources of income.

A battle against the bots

One thing is clear about Musk’s dealings with Twitter: the billionaire’s social media platform will be tasked with weeding out fraudulent accounts.

Musk called bots on Twitter “most annoying problem” and made the number of fraudulent accounts on the site the centerpiece of its attempts to evade the purchase months ago.

In an April 14 interview at TED 2022, Musk cited this issue as the first thing he would change as the new owner of Twitter – it’s fair to expect that X will eventually focus on eliminating bots.

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