Elon Musk had his first online chat with Twitter Inc. employees today, and not surprisingly one thing he wanted to talk about was free speech.
Since his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, a deal still not completely ironed out, he has caused a bit of controversy – as usual – with some of his remarks. First, Musk (pictured) talked about being a “free speech absolutist” and later he aired his concerns about Twitter possibly not being honest about the number of fake accounts on the platform. In the meeting today, he addressed those matters to some extent.
“Trust is as trust does,” he said at the start of the meeting. “I tend to be extremely literal in what I say. One does not [need] to read between the lines. One can simply read the lines.” Once that was out of the way, he began to talk about some targets he has for Twitter.
They’re ambitious targets, too, with Musk telling employees he hopes to hit 1 billion daily active users. The last time Twitter did an earnings call, the company was seeing just 229 million monthly daily active users. He also said that in order to prosper, it was likely that there would be some job cuts, stating that financially the company needs to get healthy. “Right now, costs exceed revenue,” he said. “That’s not a great situation.”
Musk then got philosophical, saying that being chief executive isn’t so much of a big deal for him, but he wants to see Twitter going in what he believes is the right direction. “I want Twitter to contribute to a better, long-lasting civilization where we better understand the nature of reality,” he said, according to the New York Times. He added that he’d like the platform to help people “better understand the nature of the universe, as much as it is possible to understand.” According to other reports, he also talked about aliens, but the discussion was brief.
It’s the matter of free speech that has proved to be the most contentious of what Musk has been talking about lately, with some people thinking he’ll make Twitter a free-for-all. In the meeting, he told staff, “We should allow people to say what they want.”
Musk added that people won’t always like a certain post, but rather than be offended, they simply shouldn’t follow that person. It also doesn’t mean the post will be promoted, just because it’s not deleted. He said if 10% of the left is upset and 10% of the right is upset, then Twitter is doing its job.