New Twitter executive Elon Musk wants no ads, more authenticated users

Elon Musk and Twitter
He also ran a poll asking if the homeless should get the company's headquarters. Photo credit: Getty Images

Twitter's biggest shareholder Elon Musk has wasted no time in trying to influence the future of the social media platform since his recent elevation to its board.

The controversial billionaire, who revealed last week he had purchased just over nine percent of the company, has already suggested a major overhaul of the Twitter Blue subscription service.

The Tesla CEO also asked his 81.2 million followers whether the company should remove the letter 'w' from its name and whether its headquarters in San Francisco should be converted into a homeless shelter "since no one shows up anyway".

The polls have attracted a staggering 3.4 million votes between them, with 91.4 percent of respondents supporting the suggestion to turn Twitter's main office over to those without shelter.

While it appears flippant alongside the poll about the letter 'w', in another tweet Musk said he was "serious about this one".

Regardless, his comments over Twitter Blue do appear grounded in beliefs on how the service can be improved. 

He suggested that anyone who signs up for a subscription - currently only available in New Zealand and a handful of other countries - should get an authentication checkmark.

It should be different from the 'public figure' or 'official account' checkmark, Musk tweeted.

That would expand the verified pool and make bot armies too expensive to maintain, he said.

It should also be significantly cheaper than the current US$2.99 or NZ$4.99 monthly charge, he said, with the option to pay in his favoured dogecoin cryptocurrency.

"And no ads. The power of corporations to dictate policy is greatly enhanced if Twitter depends on advertising money to survive," Musk continued.

Musk's purchase of his stake in Twitter is already under the spotlight with the Washington Post reporting he had earned an extra US$156 million by not disclosing his purchases as quickly as is legally required.

The billionaire spent US$2.64 billion on shares split over numerous days between January and April of this year.

Investors are legally obligated to tell the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US when they own more than five percent of a company, which happened on March 14.

However, Musk didn't declare until 11 days later during which the price stayed low, allowing him to buy more shares at a reduced price.

Once the disclosure went public, shares jumped by over 28 percent, trading above US$50.