Elon Musk responds to Twitter staff about free speech, remote work, dismissal and aliens: NPR

Elon Musk attended the 2022 Met Gala in New York City. The billionaire spoke to Twitter staff for the first time since negotiating to buy the social network.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum

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Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum

Elon Musk attended the 2022 Met Gala in New York City. The billionaire spoke to Twitter staff for the first time since negotiating to buy the social network.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum

Elon Musk spoke to Twitter employees on Thursday for the first time since entering into a deal to buy the social network for $ 44 billion.

The billionaire Tesla CEO has touched on a wide range of topics, from his ideas for improving Twitter’s finances to the platform’s rules on language to reflections on life, the universe and the existence of aliens. , according to someone who listened.

Musk dialed away from the meeting, which was livestreamed inside. Twitter’s chief marketing officer, Leslie Berland, posted a selection of questions submitted by staff.

Asked about his vision for the company, Musk said he wants a billion people a day to use Twitter. Ambitious kana. 229 million people use Twitter every day today.

He dismissed a question as to whether he plans to become CEO, saying he doesn’t care about titles, but plans to provide a lot of input about the direction of the platform. (Musk is already CEO of two companies: Tesla and SpaceX.)

He’s coming up with ideas for Twitter’s expansion business beyond its current reliance on advertising, suggesting that it can pay people to take “confirmed” with blue check marks – a way to confirm their identities.

What is not directly addressed, either to Musk or to the questions Berland asked, is whether the billionaire businessman remains committed to buying on Twitter.

In recent weeks Musk has been skeptical of the deal, tweeting that it is “we hold” as he watched the spread of fake accounts and automated bots on the platform. He also suggested that he might wish to lower the price he agreed to pay. (World markets have fallen sharply since Musk agreed to buy Twitter for $ 54.20 a share, and some observers say Musk may feel like he’s overpaying.)

Last week he threatened to walk away completely, saying Twitter did not provide information on the issue. Since then, Twitter has agreed to give Musk access to its so-called firehose, a real-time stream of more than 500 million tweets posted per day.

At Thursday’s meeting, Musk reiterated that bots were a big concern for him – but gave no indication that he could change his mind about buying.

Since Musk broke his deal to buy Twitter in April, his comments on how he tackles the company’s most difficult challenges have shocked some employees.

Musk put his interest in Twitter as part protection of freedom of speech. He criticized the company’s rules against misinformation and other legal but harmful content. And he said he was bring back former President Donald Trump, which was banned on Twitter after Jan. 6 attacks on the US Capitol.

Asked on Thursday about his views on Twitter’s language rules, Musk reiterated his stance that the platform should allow all legal language – a definition that critics say will open up avenues for hate speech, spam and propaganda.

But Musk also seems to recognize the need for some moderation on the inside, saying people don’t want to use Twitter if they fear they’re being harassed.

He said Twitter should not promote harmful language, and users should be able to filter their own feeds. He said people want to see the “fun” content, pointing to the popularity of the short video app TikTok.

Asked how his political views impacted his leadership on Twitter, Musk described himself as a moderate voting in the past for Democrats. He said he was voted for a Republican for the first time this week in a special election for a Texas congressional seat. (The candidate he voted for, Mayra Flores, won the race, but drew how for social media posts using Qanon hashtags and doubting the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, according to Texas Grandstand.)

The future of the company under Musk’s leadership is a big focus. Asked about the deletions, Musk explained that they are likely, saying that Twitter’s costs now exceed its revenues. The company needs to be “healthy,” he said, adding that he will focus on employee performance.

He was also asked about the future of remote work on Twitter, which was one of the first technology companies to allow staff to avoid the office at the start of the pandemic, and has since been told that employees can choose where they want to work. . “forever.” Earlier this month, Musk told Tesla employees they needed to back to the office full time or leave.

Musk said Twitter is a different company than Tesla and while he favors personal work, he is open to allowing “exceptional” employees to work remotely.

Near the end of the meeting, Musk maintained a tangent about Twitter’s role in promoting civilization and consciousness, according to the person who listened.

When Berland scoffed at a joke about extraterrestrial life, Musk said he saw no evidence that there were aliens.

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