How Will Elon Musk Change Twitter Now That He Officially Owns It?

Elon Musk with an image of Donald Trump's suspended Twitter account

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And does his takeover spell the return of Trump?

After months of trying to wriggle out of the deal, Elon Musk is now officially the owner of Twitter. The billionaire has some big changes in mind for the social-media platform — including inviting Donald Trump back to the site and resurrecting the popular video app Vine. Here’s what Musk has said so far about his plans.

Musk makes a splash

The will they, won’t they intrigue surrounding Musk’s flirtation with Twitter has been building since March, when the Tesla CEO first floated the idea. Last week, the world’s richest man finally brought an end to the speculation. After striding into the company’s San Francisco headquarters carrying a sink (for the sake of a pun), he closed his $44 billion deal to buy the app — and he’s moving quickly to reshape the company.

Twitter’s CEO Parag Agrawal, chief financial officer Ned Segal, and its head of legal policy, trust, and safety, Vijaya Gadde, were all let go — and more heads are expected to roll. Reports say Musk is looking to shed hundreds of employees, after which he expects to bring on new talent in order to substantially grow Twitter’s user base and its revenue, according to the New York Times.

Will Trump return to Twitter?

That’s the question of the hour. 

Musk has called himself a “free speech absolutist” and has disagreed with Twitter’s stance on moderating content. He called the company’s decision to boot the former president from the platform a “mistake because it alienated a large part of the country.” 

Musk also said in May that he’d “reverse the ban” on Trump. (Trump, however, said earlier this year that even if that were the case, he wouldn’t return, opting instead to use his own flailing social media site, Truth Social. Under his agreement with the site, he’s “generally obligated to make an social media post on Truth Social and may not make the same post on any other social media site for 6 hours,” he said.) But today, Musk doesn’t seem all that certain.

Some aren’t so sure they want to see how this story ends. Musk’s acquisition has prompted some high-profile folks to weigh whether or not to leave the app, including screenwriter and producer Shonda Rhimes, who gave her Twitter farewell two days after Musk’s deal became official. Singers Toni Braxton and Sara Bareilles also said they were leaving the platform for good.

Twenty bucks for a blue check?

Anyone who’s scrolled Twitter has spotted the blue checkmarks that delineate “verified” users. Previously, this status has been reserved for celebrities, politicians, brands, or influencers with a large following, and it’s meant to indicate that these high-profile accounts are actually run by the person they claim to be.

But soon, that verification will come with a price tag. A new feature would require users to shell out $19.99 per month for a Twitter Blue subscription to get that coveted blue check. Profiles that are already verified will have 90 days to subscribe or lose their verified status. 

According to the Verge, Musk wants this launched by next week.

Will Vine be revived?

Remember Vine, the much-beloved video app? It was a precursor to TikTok that allowed users to share short videos with their followers — at a maximum of six seconds. Twitter bought the app in 2012 and shuttered it in 2016, but Axios reports Musk has ordered Twitter’s engineers to start working on a reboot.  

Musk was reportedly inquiring about Vine in the months before his takeover, and he recently polled Twitter users on whether or not he should bring it back. Axios reports that the app hasn’t been updated at all since its shutdown, and a source told the publication “it needs a lot of work.”