Musk addresses Twitter staff for the first time since his takeover bid

Elon Musk discussed his stance on the types of content that should be allowed on Twitter Inc.’s social network, saying people should be allowed to say “pretty outrageous things” but the platform hasn’t to give these messages a reach.

Musk explained his beliefs Thursday during a bare-knuckle rally on Twitter, according to staff who attended the virtual meeting. It was the first time the billionaire, CEO of Tesla Inc., has addressed Twitter employees since agreeing in late April to buy the company for $44 billion.

Twitter needs to give people more space to say what they want, Musk said, as long as it doesn’t break the law. But he added that the company needs to balance that with making sure people “feel comfortable” about the service or they won’t use it, according to people familiar with the discussion. His goal is to expand Twitter’s user base to 1 billion users, he said. The company had around 229 million daily active users in March.

Employees who attended the meeting said Musk — who attended the video call wearing a white button-up shirt and appeared to be joining from his phone — also talked about possible product changes, including the idea that users should pay to be verified as a real human user, through a tool like the Twitter Blue subscription service. He also proposed that Twitter use verification as a way to rank content on the platform. Its goal is to “maximize the usefulness of the service,” Musk said.

Asked about the potential layoffs, Musk didn’t dismiss the idea, saying Twitter “must be healthy.”

“Anyone who is a major contributor shouldn’t have to worry,” he added.

Twitter began allowing full-time remote work more than two years ago, and Musk was asked several questions during the meeting about staff’s future ability to continue working from home. Musk said the priority would be for people to work together in person, but if someone is “outstanding at their job” then it’s possible for those people to continue working remotely.

Many employees posted to an internal Slack channel as the conversation unfolded, and Musk’s comments about remote work being reserved for ‘exceptional’ workers elicited a number of heated responses, according to people with knowledge. the situation.

Musk was not directly questioned and did not respond to a question about whether he would commit to buying Twitter. He has raised concerns in recent weeks that he is no longer interested in acquiring Twitter, or that he may want to lower the price per share. He first said he wanted to put the deal on hold while he investigated the number of bots on the service, then he sent a formal letter to Twitter executives saying he could walk away from the deal if the company did not do more. to prove the size of its user base.

The Tesla CEO, who is also the world’s richest person, has publicly criticized Twitter’s products, executives and policies since the deal was struck, frustrating some employees who fear he doesn’t understand the complexities of running a large social media company.

Musk reiterated that he’s not against advertising as a model, noting that it’s very important to Twitter’s business, but that ads and following are both essential to growing revenue. He said the ads should be entertaining and he didn’t want to let companies advertise “bad products”. He shared how he recently purchased a “fraudulent product” from a YouTube ad and it didn’t work as advertised.

“It’s absolutely not cool,” Musk told employees.

Musk was also asked if he plans to take on the role of CEO of Twitter. He didn’t give a clear answer, saying he wasn’t hooked on titles, but wanted to “drive the product in a particular direction.”

“There are a lot of chores if you’re the CEO,” he said. “I don’t care about the title, but obviously people have to listen to me.”

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