Elon Musk, who is in the process of acquiring Twitter, has announced the latest changes he envisions for the platform: some users will have to pay to use the service.
“Ultimately, the fall of the Freemasons meant giving away their stone-cutting services for nothing,” Musk tweeted Tuesday.
“Twitter will always be free for general users, but possibly a small fee for commercial/government users,” he continued.
Twitter is currently free for users, but also offers a subscription-based product called Twitter Blue in four countries.: USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The cost for US users is $2.99 per month.
In tweets that were later deleted, Musk called for changes to Twitter Blue, including lowering the cost of followers and removing ads. according to The Guardian.
Twitter board last month accepted Musk’s offer to buy the company about $44 billion. The agreement includes a $1 billion termination fee that Musk will have to pay if he backs out of the deal. according to Bloomberg.
“Free speech is the foundation of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is a digital town square where issues vital to the future of humanity are discussed,” Musk said in a press release announcing the agreement. He also said he would change the algorithms and get rid of social media spam bots.
Critics of Musk’s free speech absolutism note that Twitter is already a platform for women, racial minorities and other marginalized groups to be targeted, and the hands-off approach it offers can only exacerbate the problem.
The billionaire also tweeted in support end-to-end encryption of direct messagesas well as polled his over 90 million followers about creating an edit button.
Musk spoke about his vision for Twitter while attending the Met Gala on Monday. His goal for the platform is “to have the widest possible service, where ideally most of America is present and speaking,” Musk told reporters on the red carpet.
Despite its cultural significance, Twitter is a smaller business compared to some of its well-known competitors.
The company is ranked No. 1 in the ranking. 15 in monthly active users as of January 2022, according to statistics. According to these figures, Twitter has 436 million monthly active users, while Facebook, which tops the list, has more than 2 billion users.