Elon Musk thinks he can fix Twitter after screwing up its advertising business


(CNN) Elon Musk on Tuesday offered a broader picture of how Twitter will improve its advertising business and boost its bottom line, while acknowledging that running the social network is challenging after several rounds of layoffs.

In remarks at a Morgan Stanley conference, Musk laid out his vision for growing Twitter’s core advertising business by following the standard strategy of most of the company’s peers: improving the value of the ads it serves.

“Ad relevance is a huge thing,” Musk said. “And this is going to sound completely weird, but Twitter didn’t consider the importance of advertising three months ago.”

With that change and major cost cuts across the company, Musk said he believes Twitter “has a shot at being cash flow positive next quarter.”

“Going forward, Twitter will have very important and relevant advertising,” Musk said. “And because it’s important, because it’s relevant, there will be a huge increase in income, because it’s important now. So I’m very optimistic about the future. It’s been a very difficult four months, but I’m optimistic. About the future.”

Since taking over the platform in late October, Twitter has come under fire from several prominent brands for relaxing some of its content moderation policies, reviving incendiary accounts and making a number of misguided opinions on politics and world affairs. Musk, who has previously tweeted about his aversion to advertising, has instead made a quick bet to bolster paid subscriptions, but has reportedly struggled to reap the benefits.

He also took a moment to thank advertisers who have stuck with Twitter throughout its remarkable run, including Disney and Apple.

But even as Musk looks to grow Twitter’s ad business, which accounts for nearly all of the company’s revenue, there are sincere doubts about whether the platform can even stay online.

Twitter has been plagued by outages, including Monday’s massive service outage and other user headaches since Musk took over. On Tuesday, he blamed “overly complex” technology for some of the recent outages.

“The base of the code is like the Rube Goldberg machine, and when you show one part of the Rube Goldberg machine, there’s another Rube Goldberg machine, and then there’s another one,” he said at the event on Tuesday. “So it’s very difficult to make this thing work, and it’s difficult to promote the product, because it’s very complicated to say the least.”

“We make what seems like a small change in one place and then it creates a big disruption,” he said. Musk said Monday’s outage was a result of “a slight change in Twitter’s user base of about 1%.” [that] It was a drastic change to 100% of Twitter’s user base.

At the same time, Musk continues to make controversial comments that could give brands pause about returning to the platform or increasing their spending. Musk has come under fire from some after publicly mocking a disabled Twitter employee for asking whether the owner of Twitter should be fired.

At Tuesday’s event, Musk went on a series of nonsensical tangents, including repeatedly targeting legacy media firms. “What I say to advertisers and brands is, you know, use Twitter yourself and believe what you see on Twitter, not what you read in the newspapers,” Mook said. Because what you see on Twitter is the real thing, but what you read in the newspapers is not.


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