Elon Musk starts poll to ask fans if bringing back Vine could be a great idea KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt

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Sunday, October 30, 2022

Elon Musk starts poll to ask fans if bringing back Vine could be a great idea

Elon Musk has started a poll on Twitter Inc. asking users whether he should bring back short-video app Vine, which was shut down by the social media platform in 2016. (Read More Here).

Musk has previously run polls on whether he should sell 10% of his stake in Tesla Inc. and if the platform should include an edit button. While the votes did side in favor of the final outcome, it’s unclear how much of an influence they played.   

Elon Musk should bring Vine back from the dead — if not the app or the brand itself, a short-form video feature like the one pioneered by Twitter’s long-defunct and dearly departed app.

Of course, Musk has more urgent business to attend to after he finally closed the rocky $44 billion Twitter deal this week. For starters, the billionaire needs to install a new C-suite, after Musk immediately fired Twitter’s CEO, CFO, top policy exec and general counsel.

He’s also wrestling with major concerns that he’ll allow Twitter to devolve into a fetid swamp of right-wing misinformation and hate speech — and the question of whether Donald Trump will rear his head on Twitter again. Musk has alleged Twitter censors conservatives and has waved the banner of “free speech” principles. But for all his chest-thumping, Musk would be foolish to do anything that would destroy the value of the (overpriced) company he just bought by putting Twitter’s primary revenue stream in jeopardy.

GM has already said it will “pause” ad spending on Twitter as the auto-maker waits to see what happens under the Musk regime. Musk, aware of the perception problem, promised advertisers in an open letter that Twitter won’t become “a free-for-all hellscape.” He followed that up Friday by claiming the company will form a content-moderation council with “widely diverse viewpoints” and that Twitter won’t enact major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before then. Musk underscored the point later in the day: “To be super clear, we have not yet made any changes to Twitter’s content moderation policies.”

Beyond these front-burner issues, what else will Musk do with Twitter? Short-form video clearly should be on the road map.

Indeed, Musk has already suggested Twitter needs to embrace TikTok-style functionality. TikTok’s rapid ascent — it has somewhere around 1.6 billion monthly active users, according to estimates by research firm data.ai — has prompted Meta and YouTube to roll out copycats. During a Q&A with Twitter employees in June, Musk said it was key that Twitter users not see “boring” content and he opined that TikTok does a great job of keeping people “entertained.”

Twitter bought startup Vine in 2012, and it quickly became a hit after it debuted in 2013. But the social network never figured out to make money on the format and shut it down in January 2017. Twitter was facing other capital-intensive demands, namely the need to invest in making its core platform and ad-serving infrastructure more robust while also bulking up content-moderation operations. At the same time, Twitter has long wrestled with high stock-compensation costs, which have burned a big hole in its cash flows and weighed on its bottom line for years. (For the first six months of 2022, Twitter reported $459 million in stock-based comp expense.)

Vine officially launched in 2013 and quickly became one of the most popular apps available on mobile phones. It lasted until 2016 when Twitter effectively shuttered the service by no longer allowing new uploads of content, instead turning the app into an archive of videos already live. That archive survived until April 2019 when the app was brought offline for good.

Dom Hofmann, one of the service's initial founders, announced after Twitter's shuttering that he was working on a spiritual replacement. He launched Byte in 2018 which was subsequently acquired by a similar short-form video service. Now titled Huddles, the service has failed to reach the heights of Vine, especially when considering the massive surge in popularity TikTok has release in a post-pandemic world.

Even then, TikTok has found itself embroiled in controversy. As recently as June, FCC commissioners have suggested major security flaws with the app. Commissioner Brendan Carr wrote a letter to both Apple and Google this summer, asking the companies to removed TikTok from their respective app marketplaces.

"TikTok collects everything from search and browsing histories to keystroke patterns and biometric identifiers, including faceprints—which researchers have said might be used in unrelated facial recognition technology—and voice prints," Carr wrote at the time. "It collects location data as well as draft messages and metadata, plus it has collected the text, images, and videos that are stored on a device's clipboard."

TikTok remains available in virtually all mobile app stores.

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