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Twitter mulls selling user names to rake in more revenue

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Twitter has considered selling user names to generate new revenue as its owner, Elon Musk, tries to resuscitate the company’s business, two people with knowledge of the plan said.

Twitter employees have held conversations about selling some user names for the service since at least December, the people said. Engineers have discussed running online auctions where people can bid for the user names, which are the words, numbers or string of characters that follow the @ sign by which accounts are identified on the platform. Musk’s user name, for example, is @elonmusk.

It’s unclear if the project will move forward and if the plan affects all user names or only a subset, the people said. But Musk said last month that he wanted to start eliminating inactive accounts on Twitter and free up 1.5 billion user names. Only certain user names — such as those of well-known people, brands and popular names — may have value.

The social media company has been in turmoil since Musk bought it for $44 billion in October. Given the deal’s high price tag, the billionaire is under pressure to make the purchase a success.

READ ALSO: Ghana inflation rises 54% in Dec, a 22-year high

Musk has since slashed expenses at Twitter, ordering layoffs, cutting other costs and stopping vendor payments. At the same time, he has tried finding new avenues to make money as Twitter experiences a sharp downturn in ad revenue. He has come up with a revamped subscription plan so users pay for verification badges, and the company has filed paperwork with the Treasury Department to process payments.

Musk has said he has visions of creating “an everything app,” similar to China’s WeChat, which more than a billion people use to find news, connect to friends, make payments and order food.

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