Elon Musk buys Twitter at last

马云想吃外卖,所以买了肯德基;马斯克想吐槽,所以买了推特。 这告诉我们一个道理,管住嘴就能省很多钱。


“The bird is freed,” tweeted Elon Musk late on October 27th, after at last completing his acquisition of Twitter. The world’s richest man (and third-most followed tweeter, fast closing in on Justin Bieber) now owns arguably the world’s most influential news platform. He has already reportedly sacked Twitter’s chief executive and has changed his own Twitter profile to “Chief Twit”.

“是肉就要烂在锅里,” Elon Musk 在 10 月 27 日完成了对 Twitter 的收购之后发表了这则 Tweeter。这位世界首富(在 Tweeter 上关注量排行第三,且直逼(第二名)Justin Bieber 的人)现在拥有了(当今)世界上最具影响力的新媒体平台。据传言,他已经炒了现任 Twitter CEO,并且已经将自己的 Twitter 描述改成了 Twit 之主。

Mr Musk spent most of the past six months trying unsuccessfully to wriggle out of the deal. In April he agreed to pay $44bn for the company, just as tech stocks started to slide. By July Twitter’s market value had fallen below $25bn. Since then the climate has only soured. This week Alphabet, Amazon and Meta all saw double-digit percentage drops in their share price. Twitter’s much-criticised board has in the end extracted what looks like a sweet deal for shareholders.

Musk 在过去 6 个月中尝试摆脱这个交易,但失败了。在 4 月时,(趁着)科技股下跌(的时机),他同意给公司支付 440 亿美元。到了 7 月,Twitter 的市值已经跌破了 250 亿美元。之后,行情一路走跌。在这个星期,Alphabet、Amazon、Meta 等公司的股价下跌都达到了两位数。Twitter 的饱受诟病的懂事会最终接受了(这次收购),作为一个对于股东的甜蜜的交易。

Is it a good deal for Twitter’s 240m daily users? Mr Musk has promised a more relaxed approach to content moderation on the platform, describing himself earlier this year as a “free-speech absolutist” and suggesting that only tweets that violate the law should be taken down. Like most social-media platforms, Twitter currently bans some posts that are undesirable but legal: it recently suspended Kanye West, a singer, for a string of anti-Semitic remarks, for instance.

对于 Twitter 的 2400 万日活(用户)来说,这是一个(足够)好的交易吗? Musk (向他们)许诺一个更加宽松的内容监管环境,在今年早此时候他称自己为“绝对自由言论者”,并且(他)认为只有违反法律的 tweets 才能被下架(禁止)。与大多数社交媒体平台一样,Twitter 现在禁止了许多 posts,它们并不违法,但不被(当权者所)希望:举个例子,它近期封禁了一名歌手 Kanye West (的账号),因为(他有)反 Semitic 的语言。

Yet Mr Musk seems to be cooling on this idea. On the day the deal was closed, he tweeted a message addressed to Twitter advertisers promising that “Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!” Other social-media bosses have watered down their free speech absolutism in recent years, following Donald Trump’s presidency and the covid-19 pandemic, both of which sparked online waves of misinformation. Mark Zuckerberg, who had previously defended the principle of “everyone having a voice” banned once-permitted content including anti-vaccination material, Holocaust denial and QAnon conspiracies from Facebook in 2020.

但 Musk 的这个想法好像开始冷静下来了。在交易关闭的当天,他向 Twitter 的广告商发消息承诺,Twitter 显然不会变成一家盲目自由的地狱,(不会允许)不带任何后果的随便乱喷。近年来,其他社交媒体大佬们对于他们的绝对言论自由的观点也开始退水,(尤其是)在 Donald Trump 的总统任期(结束后)和新冠(来临后),(都出现了)线上流言潮。Mark Zuckerberg ,曾经坚决维护”每个人都有发声(的权力)“,就在 2020 年的 Facebook 禁止了一度受到允许的言论,包括反疫苗、洗白集中营和外星人阴谋论等(脑残言论)。

The other niggle is digital ads, which is currently how Twitter makes nearly all its money. Mr Musk has said that he “hates advertising”. There has been speculation that he might try to turn Twitter into a subscription product instead.

另一个棘手的问题是电子广告,(这些广告)是现在 Twitter 营收的几乎全部来源。Musk 曾说他”憎恨广告“。有传言说他可能会试图将 Twitter 转变为订阅制产品。

Making this pay would be difficult. Twitter has a modest subscription option called Twitter Blue, costing 6 a month in ad revenue. Would people pay? Some might, but Twitter needs plenty of tweeters to keep its content coming. Mr Musk seems to be backpedalling here, too. He proclaimed on October 27th that “I also very much believe that advertisng, when done right, can delight, entertain and inform you…low-relevancy ads are spam, but highly relevant ads are actually content!”

(让用户)支付(订阅的钱)将是困难的。Twitter 现在有一个轻量的订阅选项称为 Twitter Blue,费用是 4.99 美元每月。但 Twitter 的账户表明每均每名美国用户(为 Twitter)每个月带来超过 6 美元的广告收入。那么,用户会付钱吗?有些会,但 Twitter 需要大量的用户(都付钱)才能保持内容收入。Musk 在这方面似乎也有点打退堂鼓。他在 10 月 27 日表示说,”我非常相信广告,在正确使用的条件下,能够取阅、娱乐用户,并且能够提供(必要的)信息……低相关度的广告(才)是垃圾,而高相关度的广告是绝对的内容!“

Any meaningful changes will be made harder by the immediate need to contain costs. Twitter is probably overstaffed: last year it had 1.5 employees for every $1m in revenue, compared with 0.6 at Meta. At the same time, if reports are true that the company is losing 75% of its workforce—either because they get the boot or are repelled by Mr Musk—getting anything done, let alone anything big, may prove harder.

任何实质性改变都会由于受到现实支出的压力而变得艰难。Twitter 现在可能有点船大难调头:去年,它的营收数据是每收入 1 百万美元占用 1.5 名雇员,而 Meta 的数值是 0.6 (名雇员)。(马云当年吹牛说是加一个人,营收多一个亿,格局啊,同志们)。在同期(指去年),如果报告属实的话,(Twitter)公司离职率达到了 75%,其中有自己润的,也有 Musk 赶走的。(在这种情况下),把事情做起来已经很难,更别说要干大事了。

Mr Musk may not be in it for the money. But the private backers he brings along, including a few fellow billionaires and a Qatari sovereign-wealth fund, probably fancy a return on their investment. Twitter may be freed, but its owner may find himself in a $44bn cage.

Musk 入局可能不是(纯粹)为了赚钱。但和他一起入场的私有银行,包括一些亿万富翁和卡塔尔主权债务基金,可能(不是可能,是绝对)是需要投资回报的。 Twitter 是自由飞翔了,但它的主人可能正困在一个造价 440 亿美元的笼子里。