Tesla and SpaceX founder and future Twitter owner Elon Musk answered questions from employees of the social media company in a virtual town hall today where he said he’d like to see at least a billion people on the platform and was a little ominous when it came to questions about job loss.
Twitter reported 229 million daily active users for the first quarter of 2022.
According to press releases and tweets that emerged from the meeting, he seemed to be more concerned about “boring content” when asked about content moderation. He yelled at TikTok for entertaining, and WeChat in China for keeping people engaged.
Speaking of layoffs, Musk said: “Right now, costs are higher than revenues. That’s not a great situation,” according to a lengthy Twitter thread compiled by the New York Times. However, he took a less hard line on remote work. than he has for his other companies, where he recently caused a stir by saying that employees who were not willing to return to a 40-hour work week in the office should leave.Those companies are more physically practical, Twitter is a bit otherwise, he said.
Must first announce plans in April to buy Twitter for $44 billion in cash and take it private. He promised to create a freer town square with less substantive moderation. Musk recently switched sides to become a Republican.
But he suddenly seemed to object to what he called a lack of reliable data on fake accounts, announcing that the deal was on hold. It has not been clear that this is an option for him legally and in any case based on today’s meeting it appears that he intends to go ahead with the purchase.
Musk has in the past expressed disdain for Twitter taking on ads, its main source of income. Today he said. “I think advertising is very important to Twitter.”
“I am not against advertising. I’d probably talk to the advertisers and say, ‘Hey, let’s make sure the ads are as entertaining as possible,’ he said, according to Reuters.
Twitter stocks were one of the only winners in a devastated market this morning, ahead of Musk’s powwow. Since then, it has lost ground, falling 2.5% cheaper at $37.04 – well below Musk’s purchase price of $54.20.