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Elon Musk wants 1 billion Twitter users within 18 months

Updated Dec 21st, 2022 1:25PM EST
Twitter smartphone app
Image: Davide Bonaldo/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

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The Elon Musk Twitter carnival continues with a strange new development many people might not have had on their Twitter disaster bingo card. The newly minted CEO of Twitter shared a lofty goal for a company that some fear is struggling to keep on the lights. Elon Musk wants Twitter to have 1 billion monthly users in 12 to 18 months.

To put things in perspective, WhatsApp has more than 2 billion users per month, according to the latest figures available. And Twitter certainly doesn’t look like the company that can turn things around that quickly. No matter how “hardcore” Musk will be about it.

Elon Musk shared on Twitter slides he previously used in his recent company talk. The slides show that in the seven-day period ending November 16th, Twitter averaged 2 million signups per day. That’s 66% growth compared to last year, the slide says.

The exec said that Twitter recorded 8 billion active user minutes per day in the week leading to November 15th, up 30%.

Then again, signing up for Twitter to witness the circus might be an attractive prospect to some people.

“I think I see a path to Twitter exceeding a billion monthly users in 12 to 18 months,” Musk replied to a tweet reacting to his slides.

Citing Reuters, The Register notes that Twitter reached 238 million users in the second quarter. Elon Musk would need to more than quadruple that figure in 18 months to get that 1 billion users mark.

Musk still needs to explain how he plans to reach this seemingly unreasonable goal. For starters, he has been firing many employees since he took over the social network. Others left on their own or when prompted to embrace a hardcore work mentality. The slides do say that Twitter is recruiting. That’s apparently what you do after letting talented people go.

Secondly, Twitter needs must-have features to make people sign up. Actual features that go beyond inviting people to witness this tech giant potentially sink. And you need skilled employees for that.

Also, you need money to pay for said qualified workforce, the infrastructure that would support 1 billion users, and all the presumably sophisticated features.

If we are to entertain this crazy Elon Musk goal, we can consider some valuable features that could help Twitter become more like WeChat. That’s China’s most important app, a platform that supports various features on top of the actual chat. Musk’s slides refer to Twitter as “Twitter 2.0, The Everything App.”

End-to-end encryption could turn Twitter into an iMessage, Signal, and WhatsApp chat alternative. Especially if you add video and voice calls to it.

Similarly, adding payments to the platform could further convince people to sign up. And Musk’s slides do mention payments.

Finally, the same slides mention “advertising as entertainment,” long-form content, and video content support. And yes, the Twitter Blue relaunch is also a feature of this Twitter app that would convince more than 750 million people to sign up in the coming 18 months.

In short, Elon Musk’s ideal Twitter app would offer sophisticated chat support, lots of entertainment including a YouTube competitor, and support for safe payments. And all of this will be done in less than a year to fuel massive growth. What’s certain is that we’ll be entertained during the next year and a half, so grab the popcorn.

The only thing that would rival the Twitter chaos would be a real-time account of Meta’s massive metaverse mess. Too bad Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t provide real-time updates like Musk.

More Twitter news: Elon Musk begins reinstating suspended Twitter accounts.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.