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Elon Musk to advertisers: Twitter ‘cannot become a free-for-all hellscape’

- via Getty Images

One day before Elon Musk is expected to finalize his deal to buy Twitter, he’s attempting to reassure the platform’s advertisers that he won’t turn the platform into a “free-for-all hellscape.” In a message posted Thursday, Musk tried to explain why he wanted to buy the company, and that he doesn’t intend to blow up its advertising business.

“There had been much speculation about why I bought Twitter and what I think about advertising,” he wrote. “Most of it has been wrong. Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!”

Musk has previously said that he would like to loosen Twitter’s content moderation rules, and do away with permanent bans in most cases. But that stance has upset many Twitter employees, and worried the company’s advertisers. The Wall Street Journal reported that some advertisers have even threatened to “pause all their ads” if the company gives Donald Trump his account back — something Musk has said he would likely do.

While Musk didn’t walk back those comments, he said he wanted Twitter to “be warm and welcoming to all.” He added that people should be able to “choose your desired experience according to your preferences, just as you can choose, for example, to see movies or play video games ranging from all ages to mature.”

Musk’s comments come just after he visited Twitter’s office and reportedly told employees that he won’t be axing 75 percent of its staff as earlier reports had suggested. He also apparently met with Twitter COO Sarah Personette, who tweeted that she had a “great discussion” with the Tesla CEO. “Our continued commitment to brand safety for advertisers remains unchanged,” she wrote.

Notably, Musk’s stance on advertising is very different from former CEO Jack Dorsey, who privately told Musk that Twitter “can’t have an advertising model” and suggested it should be a “foundation of sorts” like the messaging app Signal. But though Musk responded favorably to the idea at the time, his message to advertisers now sounds very different.

“I also very much believe that advertising, when done right, can delight, entertain and inform you,” Musk wrote. "For this to be true, it is essential to show Twitter users advertising that is as relevant as possible to their needs. Low relevancy ads are spam, but highly relevant ads are actually content."

“Fundamentally, Twitter aspires to be the most respected advertising platform in the world that strengthens your brand and grows your enterprise.”