Musk: My Twitter would be a great app with payments

Tesla CEO and world’s richest man Elon Musk doesn’t want to fix Twitter, he wants to fix social media. And that means adding payments.

More broadly, Musk said he would like to turn Twitter into a super app that would merge its public forum with features like chat, photo and video messaging, Facebook-like news feeds and a variety of other functions. social media – including payments as a primary function.

See also: Musk wants to take Twitter public, report says

During the All-In podcast on May 16, Musk pointed to Chinese social media giant WeChat as a role model for his social media ambitions. Like Twitter, it started as a social platform, but then found its true success when it added a mobile wallet and payment features.

“If you’re in China, you kind of live on WeChat,” he said. “It does everything – a bit 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 the China.

And, Musk suggested, he might not need Twitter to create an American version.

The great app

Musk’s ideal super app, he said, would be “a spam-free thing where you can comment, you can post videos…an all-encompassing app that’s all about a digital city where important ideas are debated”.

Payments are a key part of this, Musk added. “When you kind of have a high trust situation, payments, whether crypto or fiat, can make a lot of sense,” he said.

The super-Twitter would be ‘maximally trusted and inclusive’, he added, after spending several minutes criticizing Twitter for banning and shading users, what Musk calls a threat to freedom of expression.

“It doesn’t need to be done on Twitter,” he added. “It could be made from something that was created from scratch, it can be something new. I think this thing has to exist.”

Twitter is currently missing the “high trust” part, at least as far as Musk is concerned. He expanded on public comments he made about the number of fake accounts – while Twitter said around 5% of accounts are spam bots and other non-real users, Musk said he believed that the actual number was much higher.

Read more: Twitter CEO Musk disagrees on the number of spambots on the platform

Asked about backing out of the sale, Musk said: “It’s a material inaccuracy if they actually falsely claimed less than 5% of more vague spam accounts, but in fact it’s is four or five times that number, or maybe 10 times that number. This is a big deal.”

Asked directly about the choice between rebuilding and expanding Twitter or starting his own social media company, Musk said, “My default inclination is definitely to start fresh.”

Payments are important

Musk said earlier in the conversation that “it’s important for content creators to have a share of the revenue,” it was clear the payouts would be much more than that.

Although it would include a PayPal- or Venmo-style peer-to-peer payment tool, this comparison with WeChat Pay is telling. With over a billion users in China, WeChat Pay and rival Alipay control 90% or more of China’s mobile payments market. WeChat Pay owner Tencent has already started integrating China’s central bank’s new digital currency as a payment method.

To be fair, at least in terms of payments, it’s a path Twitter has taken before with payments on its ticket spaces and super followings for content creators. In April, the company announced that it had added cryptocurrency payment options with Twitter as the first customer for the service.

See more: Stripe rolls out crypto payments capabilities and signs Twitter as first user

“Twitter is where people go to discuss what’s going on,” said Esther Crawford, the social media giant’s chief product officer for creators, at the time. “We’re focused on helping the creators who host these conversations earn money and connect with their audiences in new ways.”

These cryptocurrency payments are handled behind the scenes, with no code changes or new application programming interfaces required from users, who will never hold cryptocurrency.

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