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May 28, 2024

Elon Musk tells X employees YouTube and LinkedIn will be closer rivals as company expands business lines

Elon Musk tells X employees YouTube and LinkedIn will be closer rivals as company expands business lines

Executives at X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter, said they see YouTube and LinkedIn as future competitors while pursuing new business lines in video and hiring.

Owner Elon Musk and Chief Executive Officer Linda Yaccarino called out the two sites during an all-company meeting Thursday to commemorate one year since Musk’s takeover of Twitter Inc., according to a person familiar with the matter. The duo also referenced ambitions to create a news wire service called XWire, which would rival Cision’s PR Newswire, the person said, asking not to be identified as the discussion was private.

The meeting was the first time Musk and Yaccarino have addressed the entire company together, the person said. Yaccarino was hired as X’s CEO in May and joined from NBCUniversal, where she was in charge of advertising and partnerships.

Musk, the world’s richest man, closed a $44 billion deal to take Twitter private on Oct. 27, a year ago. He quickly fired most of the social platform’s executives and cut or sparked resignations from most of the staff. Advertisers fled the platform and have showed reluctance to come back. Both Musk and Yaccarino have touted record amounts of time being spent on the platform, and count 500 million users — though by some third-party estimates, there are fewer people logging in than this time last year.

While Yaccarino has focused on relationships with advertisers, Musk has concentrated on overhauling the product by touting premium subscriptions, changing the meaning of account “verification” and relying on a crowd-sourced fact-checking system called Community Notes.

Revenue at X is still largely coming from advertising, which accounts for about 75% of total sales compared with 25% from subscriptions and data, the person said. Subscriptions have grown 25% to 30% on a quarterly basis, the person said.

But subscriptions still remain a small fraction of X’s users. Data from independent researcher Travis Brown shows that subscriptions account for less than 1% of the total user base. X will target small-and medium-sized businesses in 2024 to increase advertising revenue, the person said.

It’s unclear what X’s YouTube, LinkedIn and PR Newswire competitors will look like, and the executives provided scant details.

In a joint internal memo sent to X staff, seen by Bloomberg News, Musk and Yaccarino said the company is “now positioned for growth” and cited a “decade’s worth of innovation in just 12 months” on the platform.

The executives also discussed X’s payments ambitions during the talk with staff, adding in the memo that financial tools will “give people and businesses more opportunities.”

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