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New Twitter CEO Elon Musk floats charging $8 a month for Twitter verification – CBC News

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Elon Musk, the newly minted owner, chair and CEO of Twitter, says he wants to let anyone get verified on the platform for $8 a month, in exchange for being able to post longer messages and videos, and receiving fewer ads.

In a Twitter thread on Tuesday, Musk called the current system of verification a “lords & peasants system,” where prominent individuals have their identities verified by the platform and are acknowledged with a blue checkmark by their name.

The system was designed as a way to ensure that users could see if certain accounts were in fact who they were claiming to be, but the company has never been explicitly clear about what qualifications are needed in order to get verified.

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Last year, Twitter launched an expanded version of its service called Twitter Blue, which comes with a monthly fee but adds the ability to edit tweets, and allows some users to charge for their own content.

On Tuesday, Musk tweeted that he wants to change the system so that anyone can get verified, as long as they are willing to pay $8 a month, with the “price adjusted by country proportionate to purchasing power parity.”

In exchange, verified users will be prioritized in searches and mentions, which Musk believes is essential to defeat spam/scam” that he says plagues the system.

He also said verified users would be able to post longer tweets, which are currently limited to 280 characters, and videos, which are currently limited to a little over two minutes.

In exchange, Musk said, verified users will be subjected to fewer ads, and he suggested that he was open to the idea of paying some users for the content they produce on the platform.

“Power to the people!,” he said.

The idea is just the latest in an eventful week at the company. Last Friday, Musk’s long and winding road to take over Twitter finally came to fruition. Once he got control of the company, his first move was to fire most of the existing management team.

Filings with regulators on Monday indicate that he has named himself CEO and the sole member of the company’s board of directors.

Musk has since spent most of his time talking about what he wants to change on the platform, but Tuesday’s Twitter thread was the first time he has offered anything approaching concrete details.

WATCH | Musk’s Twitter takeover has many users threatening to leave:

Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover has some users considering leaving site

21 hours ago

Duration 2:06

Some Twitter users say they’re worried Elon Musk’s plans to loosen moderation rules on the site will make it a hotbed of hate speech and abuse, and are considering leaving the social media platform before it goes sideways.

In addition to Twitter, Musk is currently the head of four other companies: electric car maker Tesla, rocket company SpaceX, brain-chip startup Neuralink and the Boring Company, a tunnelling firm.

Jack Dorsey — who founded Twitter and was CEO before Parag Agrawal, who was among those recently fired — was pushed to step down from the top post at the company because investors believed he couldn’t do the job while also being CEO of Block Inc., which runs the Square payment platform.

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Musk: Apple wants to block Twitter from its app store – Al Jazeera English

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The billionaire CEO of Twitter and Tesla said on Monday that Apple was pressuring Twitter over content moderation demands.

Elon Musk has accused Apple Inc of threatening to block Twitter Inc from its app store without saying why in a series of tweets that also said the iPhone maker had stopped advertising on the social media platform.

The billionaire CEO of Twitter and Tesla said on Monday that Apple was pressuring Twitter over content moderation demands.

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The action, unconfirmed by Apple, would not be unusual as the company has routinely enforced its rules and previously removed apps such as Gab and Parler.

Parler, which is popular with conservatives in the United States, was restored by Apple in 2021 after the app updated its content and moderation practices, the companies said at the time.

“Apple has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter. Do they hate free speech in America?” Musk, who took Twitter private for $44bn last month, said in a tweet.

He later tagged Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook’s Twitter account in another tweet, asking, “What’s going on here?”

Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“It wasn’t clear to me how far up the Apple food chain that idea went internally and without knowing that, it isn’t clear how seriously to take any of this,” said Randal Picker, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School.

The world’s most valuable firm spent an estimated $131,600 on Twitter ads between November 10 and November 16, down from $220,800 between October 16 and October 22, the week before Musk closed the Twitter deal, according to ad measurement firm Pathmatics.

In the first quarter of 2022, Apple was the top advertiser on Twitter, spending $48m and accounting for more than 4 percent of total revenue for the period, the Washington Post reported, citing an internal Twitter document.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a Reuters news agency request for comment on the report.

‘Go to war’

Among the list of grievances tweeted by Musk was the up to 30 percent fee Apple charges software developers for in-app purchases, with Musk posting a meme suggesting he was willing to “go to war” with Apple rather than paying the commission.

The fee has drawn criticism and lawsuits from companies such as Fortnite-maker Epic Games while attracting the scrutiny of regulators globally.

The commission could weigh on Musk’s attempts to boost subscription revenue at Twitter, in part to make up for the exodus of advertisers over content moderation concerns.

Companies from General Mills Inc to luxury automaker Audi of America have stopped or paused advertising on Twitter since the acquisition, and Musk said earlier this month that the company had seen a “massive” drop in revenue.

Advertisement sales account for about 90 percent of Twitter’s revenue.

The self-described free speech absolutist, whose company has in the past few days reinstated several Twitter accounts including that of former US President Donald Trump, has blamed activist groups for pressuring advertisers.

Ben Bajarin, the head of consumer technologies at research firm Creative Strategies, said that Musk may be reading too much into a regular process Apple goes through for app reviews.

“App review from Apple is not perfect by any means and a consistently frustrating process for developers but from what I hear it is a two-way conversation,” he said.

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Oil: Why Goldman Sachs is still bullish despite headwinds

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Goldman Sachs strategists say the supply situation for oil will “inevitably” require “much higher prices.” (GETTY)
Goldman Sachs strategists say the supply situation for oil will “inevitably” require “much higher prices.” (GETTY)

Goldman Sachs is holding on to its bullish 2023 call on the global oil benchmark as prices test new year-to-date lows.

Strategists at the New York-based investment bank see Brent crude (BZ=F) averaging US$110 per barrel next year, due in large part to supply overshadowing headwinds for demand.

Oil prices danced around positive territory on Monday as investors responded to news of street protests in China over government efforts to halt the spread of COVID-19 amid record case counts. At the same time, investors are awaiting final details of the G7 nations’ price ceiling on Russian oil, set to take effect on Dec. 5.

Brent crude was down 0.18 per cent to US$83.45 as at 1:09 p.m. ET on Monday, largely erasing 2022 gains fuelled by Russia’s war in Ukraine. Meanwhile, U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate gained 1.25 per cent to US$77.23 per barrel, after trading near its lowest level of the year.

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Goldman Sachs predicts a strong U.S. dollar and weaker demand expectations will remain a “powerful headwind to prices.” However, the bank says the supply situation will “inevitably” require “much higher prices,” due to lack of investment in the industry, as well as low spare capacity and inventories.

“We are tactically cautious, structurally bullish,” Goldman Sachs strategists wrote in a wide-ranging outlook for next year. “We reiterate our bullish price view, and expect Brent crude oil prices to average US$110 per barrel in 2023.”

Goldman Sachs says seasonal demand from heating is likely to pick up as temperatures drop during the winter months. The strategists also note the impact of so-called gas-to-oil switching, where certain utilities and industrial consumers swap more expensive natural gas for refined oil products like diesel or gasoline.

“At the same time, we believe the EU embargo on Russian oil will demand an unachievable redirection of flows, causing Russian production to fall by 0.6 million barrels per day, at the same time as OPEC+ has agreed to an effective cut of 1.2 million barrels per day,” the strategists wrote.

They add that it would also take a “hard landing” for the U.S. economy to justify sustained lower prices.

Goldman Sachs’ structural bullishness echoes comments from RBC Capital Markets in June.

“The supply-side shock absorbers have been removed from the market,” analyst Micheal Tran wrote in a note to clients.

Tran described the oil market at the time as caught between “the strongest fundamental oil market set up in decades, maybe ever,” and a deteriorating macroeconomic backdrop threatening the outlook for demand.

Jeff Lagerquist is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jefflagerquist.

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Apple threatening to pull Twitter from its app store, Elon Musk alleges

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Elon Musk accused Apple of threatening to block Twitter Inc. from its app store and says the iPhone maker has stopped advertising on the social media platform because it is afraid of free speech.

In a series of tweets on Monday, the billionaire CEO of Twitter and Tesla accused the smartphone maker of no longer advertising on Twitter, insinuating it is because the company is trying to censor content on the internet.

“Apple has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter. Do they hate free speech in America?” Musk said.

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Later in the day, he also said Apple is considering removing Twitter from its app store, without providing any evidence of that.

He later tagged Apple CEO Tim Cook’s Twitter account in another tweet, asking “What’s going on here?”

Although Apple has said nothing about any such plan, it would not be without precedent. The company routinely enforced its rules on to third-party apps in its app store, a policy that led to the removal of apps such as Gab and Parler, which is popular with U.S. conservatives.

Parler was restored by Apple in 2021 after the app updated its content and moderation practices, the companies said at the time.

War of words

Musk also said “yes” in response to a user question on whether Apple was threatening Twitter’s presence in the app store or making moderation demands.

Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The company spent an estimated $131,600 US on Twitter ads between Nov. 10 and Nov. 16, down from $220,800 US between Oct. 16 and Oct. 22, the week before Musk closed the Twitter deal, according to ad measurement firm Pathmatics.

A rising list of firms from General Mills Inc. to luxury automaker Audi of America have stopped or paused advertising on Twitter since the acquisition.

Musk, a self-described free speech absolutist, said earlier this month that Twitter had seen a “massive” drop in revenue and blamed activist groups for pressuring advertisers. Ad sales account for about 90 per cent of Twitter’s revenue.

The platform has in the past few days reinstated the account of former U.S. President Donald Trump, as well as comedian Kathy Griffin and U.S. House Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene.

The Trump reinstatement prompted a coalition of civil rights activists to say last week that they were urging Twitter’s advertisers to issue statements about pulling their ads off the platform.

At a presentation for advertisers in May, some ad agencies and brands were already skeptical on concerns that Musk would scale back content moderation and security protection on the platform.

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