Elon Musk explains what the ‘everything app’ plan for X is
Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter approximately a year ago has resulted in a significant transformation of the platform. Now known as “X,” the company is undergoing a substantial evolution under Musk’s direction. In a recent internal meeting, Musk revealed his vision for X, describing it as “a single application that encompasses everything.” He believes that merely being the “digital town square,” as Twitter was previously described, is no longer sufficient. Musk aims to position X as a formidable competitor to a range of platforms, including YouTube, LinkedIn, FaceTime, dating apps, and even the entire banking industry.
During the internal meeting held on October 26th, Musk, who continues to oversee X’s product and engineering teams, elaborated on the company’s transformation. The meeting was organized to coincide with the anniversary of Musk’s official acquisition of Twitter for $44 billion. It also marked his first joint all-hands meeting with Linda Yaccarino, who assumed the role of CEO in May.
In the 45-minute call, Musk took the opportunity to address a variety of topics, despite the meeting’s primary purpose being to respond to pre-submitted employee questions. He discussed matters ranging from communicating challenging news during meetings to the state of journalism. This signifies the extensive changes and ambitious plans he has in store for the rebranded company, X.
Below is the beginning of the call.
Linda Yaccarino: It’s our all-hands, and I want to say thank you to everyone on this call, and especially for everyone in acknowledging what we’ve been able to accomplish in what has been a remarkable first year since the acquisition. It would be absolutely impossible not to acknowledge all the hard work from everybody around the world who’s on this call, especially as we’ve had to come together since the terrorist attacks by Hamas in Israel. Unspeakable times we’re living through. It has been 20 days since our teams have been working around the clock to keep this platform safe and a place of connection for those most in need. So, I genuinely say thank you.
I’ve been here about 16 weeks. And that means that for about half the year, I was actually on the outside looking in. That outside view is actually what drew me here. And I have to tell you, the insider view: intoxicating. I’m grateful to be with all of you. What’s most incredible since I joined the company is the scope of our ambition. The pace of innovation at this company, seriously, nothing else like it exists. No analogue for what’s going on here. Before I came to X, I was always trying to push our customers, my company, to move faster. No worries. I don’t have to do that here. Speed is at our core. The hustle and pace is enviable, and what we’re building here is completely reshaping what our users and our clients expect of a platform.
We have to take a moment and think about what we’ve done in just a year. The advancements we’ve made in video, growing our communities, our creator program, X Hiring. I don’t know about you, but some of you may have been victims to all my video calling last night. It doesn’t stop. And with payments around the corner, I think it’s pretty exciting to say that there’s no surrogate for X, which is why everyone watches our every move—
Elon Musk: And copies us.
LY: When you’re as consequential as X is, watching every move, I guess it’s to be expected. We need to get used to it. We need to lean in and own it. And I’m intentionally using the word consequential because we’re creating something a lot more meaningful here. We’re working to protect the freedom of expression. What we’re doing here in building at X is helping humanity thrive.
Listen, I know the decisions we make are not always expected ones, not always the easy ones. Change, innovation, pushing against legacy. It’s not simple. It’s actually really hard. But this company, everyone on the call, [are] exceptional people. We’re writing history. Really creating a new playbook. And we know there are sceptics out there, but our momentum — we all know — it’s catching on. And in the process, we’re creating more and more advocates.
So, I’m long on X. I certainly am long on all of you. And I just want to say congrats on a great big year. Ready for year two. And with that, I will pass it to Elon.
EM: Thank you, Linda. Thank you for joining. A tremendous amount has been accomplished in the past year. It’s really lightning speed execution. We’re rapidly transforming the company from what it was, Twitter 1.0, to the everything app. [An] all-inclusive feature set that you can basically do anything you want on our system. Obviously, that’s not to the exclusion of other apps, but I think the fundamental thing that’s missing that would be incredibly useful is a single application that encompasses everything. You can do payments, messages, video, calling, whatever you’d like, from one single, convenient place.
They have this in China, to some degree, with WeChat. We just don’t have that. It doesn’t exist outside of China. This doesn’t mean that we just want to copy WeChat. I think we can actually create something ultimately that exceeds WeChat. We can do some pretty incredible stuff here.
So, I’ll just run through the list of all the accomplishments the team has made in this year. And I should say that we’ll try to do this every quarter as opposed to every year. A year is quite a long time. Every three months or so, we’ll do this. And the next one we will do with X live video. We’ll just livestream it to earth, basically. We’re a company that believes in transparency, so maximally transparent would be anybody who wants to watch our company talk can do so. And it’s helpful that we’re not publicly traded actually because you can say what we want to say without some sort of class action lawsuit.
EM: It’s honestly a plague. When I looked at the list, I was like, “Wow, this is really incredible.” So, most recently, we launched audio / video calling, and I had a number of people actually call me—
LY: Did you pick up, Elon?
EM: I did. I thought it was like a FaceTime or Signal call or something like that. It’s X audio / video calling. Super cool. That’s the most recent thing that’s still kind of like a beta version. But it’ll have all the functionality that people have come to expect from FaceTime or Signal.
We’ve also made radical improvements to video in general. So our live video stream is much better, dramatically better. You can now upload long videos, including an entire movie. I thought it was very cool that Apple, for example, uploaded an entire episode of the Silo show, which is actually quite a good show. I was told that it was the number one biggest social media event that Apple has done in its entire history, which is wild. Obviously, companies should do more than that.
LY: That certainly got everyone’s attention, and when you think about that, in addition to the immersive video product or vertical video product, a lot of people, or a lot of customers that I talk to, are surprised at the growth, right? Seventy percent growth in the last six months but driven by Gen Z. So, when you think about the strides we’re making so quickly in video, it’s certainly getting everyone’s attention.
EM: Yeah. Video is the highest bandwidth way to consume information. Sometimes people wonder [about] Gen Z, “Is their mind rushing or something because they’re just watching short videos over and over again?” But actually, video is the highest bandwidth means of communication. Certainly, what video you are watching, of course, that can be dubious, but obviously, that is the best way to consume information. You can think of a meme as really compressed information, where you’re conveying many different ideas in a single image with some text.
So, I’ll go through the list, which is pretty, pretty amazing. It’s a fun list, actually.
EM: We launched the ad revenue share for creators or really anyone on the platform. This has made a big difference to the lives of many people. We’ve paid over $20 million to creators, and we expect that number to rise significantly. Our number of creators has increased by more than an order of magnitude, and that’s just since the middle of this year. In less than six months, we’ve seen a 10x increase in creators.
Communities is growing fast. There’s a lot of work to do to make Communities compelling. But we’re seeing rapid percentage growth in Communities. I’m excited about some of the changes we made to Communities. One of them I think will be quite powerful is for a community administrator to be able to include any X account. You can add any @ handle that hasn’t joined the community.
Take this Diablo community, which I’m on. What you’d want to see there is obviously anything from Blizzard and maybe top video game commentators who are talking about Diablo, in addition to people who have joined that. So think about it as a community but it also includes a list of accounts, which will, I think, really bring life to Communities. I think that’s a simple change but a profound one.
LY: And Elon, think about it. When you’re talking about all of our innovation and extending to longform video or movies, all the way to Communities, it’s what’s driving time spent on the platform. With video calling, they’re showing up to do more, which will make it more enjoyable for them, more useful. And they stay longer, so there’s a lot more to experience, which is beneficial to everyone, all our partners.
EM: Yeah, absolutely. I think people will find that it’s incredibly compelling to move from a text comment or video comment to direct messages then to an audio / video call, which will include group audio and video calling, and then do payments. For payments, we’re really just waiting for all the approvals, which we should hopefully get in the next few months.
We’re at over half a billion monthly users, roughly half a billion posts per day, and over 100 billion impressions a day. These are monster numbers. We’re seeing roughly a million new users sign up per day and an increase in the amount of time each user spends on the system. So, this is all good. If there is one goal, it’s to maximize unregretted user time on the system. It’s not just maximize the time that people spend but maximize the unregretted time. We’re making good progress on that front.
We also introduced the beginnings of recruiting, kind of like a LinkedIn competitor, essentially. If you are a company that is offering jobs or you’re looking for jobs, this is going to be a good spot to find great people. Historically, I’ve done a lot of recruiting on here.
LY: And we’ve talked about it a lot, right, Elon? Just that authentic filter and how hiring just naturally, organically, emerged. I’ve actually been maybe a little surprised but really excited about our advertising partners [being] interested in X Hiring. Because you’re right, LinkedIn is overdue for some competition. Because of the filtering nature and the authenticity of our platform, they know that they’ve already started to explore that. So that’s been a really interesting kind of new stream of conversation with customers.
EM: Frankly, I would place more emphasis on what somebody has posted in the past on the X platform than anything else. Have they posted interesting material? That would be probably the single biggest indicator for whether they are excellent and someone you’d want to hire.
I think the same is true also on the romantic front. Finding someone on the platform. Obviously, I found someone and friends of mine have found people on the platform. And you can tell if you’re a good match based on what they write. So—
LY: So, X Dating around the corner then?
EM: Yeah. There’s already some stuff happening to some degree. But I think we might be able to improve the dating situation. Part of it is how do you discover interesting people? Discovery is tough.
LY: Next quarter, we’ll do a livestream. You want to share some vision on any of your streaming visions for the future? Just overall content-wise, just how you see it?
EM: I think video livestreaming is going to be incredibly important for sporting events, for political events, for people who are actually on the spot. Instead of going through the lens of media, you can actually just have people who are literally at ground zero do a livestream or upload video. And so you actually can see what’s happening in real time. My understanding is that it was actually quite helpful in Israel for helping people get to safety and highlight issues there.
There’s really, I think, a profound shift in news. When you really think about information, I sort of approach this as like the collective consciousness, where if you can think of humanity as a superorganism and all the humans are basically the eyes and ears of the collective mind of humanity, you want to have all those eyes and ears feeding information into the collective mind. Not going through the slow and often distorted lens of media but actually just directly.
People who are actually in a particular industry or in a particular region actually know what’s going on better than reporters do. I’m not saying that reporters shouldn’t write stuff, but how many reporters are there? And how many are actually on the ground? How many were really there versus [those who] read something on the internet or wrote an article? It’s really some very tiny number of actual reporters. Most of them are not at the scene, and most of them are not industry experts. Whereas that is the case for X. People are on the scene. They’re industry experts.
We’ve got one of my favourite features, which is Community Notes, that is helpful to distinguish fact from fiction. Community Notes is completely open source, including the data. As I posted, sometimes I get either blamed or I get asked, “Hey, can you take this Community Note down?” I’m like, that’s actually not possible. I don’t actually have that ability.
LY: Particular to your comments about people being force-fed certain types of media that have certain types of bias, I think we often underestimate people’s ability to seek out the real information and actually make the decisions for themselves.
LY: And that’s the beauty of how this works, right? The power of the platform, right? To be able to seek out that information. That’s when Community Notes comes in to give you a little fact-check from people on the ground. And as we’ve seen, particularly in the last 20 days, how Community Notes has become so powerful, so meaningful, and now that you have so many new readers and contributors through Community Notes, and it’s quite a unique capability that X offers.
EM: Community Notes started off as Birdwatch. It existed before the acquisition, but it was in a very nascent form and just limited to, really, the US. I put a massive emphasis on this. This is something that we need to make a top priority at the company.
LY: Forty-four countries and over 100,000 contributors. Growth has been really just explosive. So it’s great.
EM: I’m always amazed at the sort of batting average of Community Notes. Nothing’s perfect, but if a community note has been voted in and stays, the batting average is high 90s with accuracy. In fact, it’s the most accurate thing. If I want to know what’s going on, I’m going to look at the community note to figure out if it’s real or not.
LY: I think it’s really important to bring up because it’s one of the singular, most powerful pieces of feedback that we get, even from our biggest skeptics, is our approach to what we’re doing here that is completely transparent for all to see. When you’re talking about Community Notes, I think, in the last 20 days, I’ve probably posted five or six times about the evolution and the sophistication and maturation of Community Notes alone. But the way this company is innovating with complete transparency may invite some more of those skeptics. But like no other company in real time, tell them exactly what’s going on. And it’s been really powerful, positive feedback.
EM: Community Notes is infinitely better than some sort of mysterious censorship bureau where nobody knows who they are or why they make decisions or anything. That’s the kind of thing that lends itself to manipulation of information. I want to be clear, Community Notes will be the single best source of truth on the internet, period.
I want to just go through the list quickly just to acknowledge the great work that has been done. We have picture in picture for videos on web. A ton of video features. We’re rapidly reaching parity with YouTube and may exceed them. I test it with an occasional video game that’s livestreamed, and we’re also synchronizing the live video and the stored video because they really should be the same thing. A video that’s being uploaded or a video that’s live with a delay are essentially the same thing. So we’re making sure the interface is going to be the same.
I also want to acknowledge those who have deleted code. My general philosophy on software is that you get one point for adding a line of code and two points for deleting. This is a really big deal. So thank you to everyone who has worked hard to simplify the code base and delete and simplify the software.
We are working toward money transmission licenses. Hopefully, those will come through in the next few months. We’ve added ID verification, the ability to hide likes. We made it clear that we will support someone if their employer picks on them or fires them for what they post on the system. We will provide them with legal support.
We’ve encrypted DMs, and that’s also something that we will expand upon. The acid test for DMs, as with Signal, is that if somebody has a gun to my head, I still can’t tell you what somebody’s DMs are. Basically, they need to be definitively private or you really can’t trust them. The team has done a lot to reduce child exploitation material. That has gone down dramatically, I think somewhere on the order of 90 percent-plus.
LY: Not to interrupt you, Elon, certainly. But it is one of the biggest areas of support we get from the partner groups or the interest groups that we work with specifically in this area of what it was like a year ago on the platform and our philosophy of zero tolerance on the platform now. So it’s something really important that we should celebrate.
EM: Totally. There are a ton more. We’re also working to improve search dramatically. We want to have a semantic search. So if you type in search terms, it knows what you mean and then can bring up the text, pictures, and video that are what you mean. Not just strictly a text comparison. We’re seeing the beginnings of that with the “see similar posts” capability. That is sort of an AI-based system.
Really, what we need to move toward is the entire system, all the “recommended for you” posts being AI-based. Essentially, you populate a vector space around the user and then any given post would also have a vector space. You correlate the two vector spaces, and you show people what is most likely interesting to them. And that will update all of the heuristics that we currently have. We went through a similar process at Tesla with Full Self-Driving where it started off with almost entirely C++ code and then gradually became more and more a neural net. And now, the latest version of Full Self-Driving, called Rodeo, is entirely neural nets. I think that’s going to be very compelling for the recommended feed. It’s going to be a game-changer. And it will also mean that if somebody posts a very interesting reply, normally that is buried by default, that is buried with very little exposure, but sometimes the reply is more interesting than the original post. And we currently lose all that. With a purely AI-based system, whatever the reply is, if the reply is compelling, that will be shown more prominently than the original post if it’s compelling.