Musk Says He Wants One Billion Users on Twitter

SAN FRANCISCO — For weeks, Elon Musk has trashed Twitter in public. On Thursday, he acted like he would lastly personal the corporate.

In an hourlong question-and-answer session within the morning with Twitter’s 8,000 or so workers — the primary time Mr. Musk has spoken with them since he struck a $44 billion deal to purchase the social media firm in April — the world’s richest man opened up about his plans for the service. In an effusive and at instances rambling handle, he touched on progress, potential layoffs, points like anonymity, Chinese language apps and even the cosmic nature of Twitter.

“I need Twitter to contribute to a greater, long-lasting civilization the place we higher perceive the character of actuality,” Mr. Musk stated within the digital assembly, which was dwell streamed to Twitter workers and which The New York Occasions listened to. He added that he hoped the service might assist humankind “higher perceive the character of the universe, as a lot as it’s attainable to know.”

The assembly, which Mr. Musk participated in from his cellphone in what gave the impression to be a resort room, steered that he was set on closing the blockbuster deal. In latest weeks, his intentions towards Twitter have been unsure. The billionaire, who additionally runs the electrical carmaker Tesla and the rocket firm SpaceX, has repeatedly raised questions on Twitter’s pretend accounts. This month, his legal professionals stated the corporate was refusing to provide him info, an obvious pretext for doubtlessly attempting to finish or renegotiate the acquisition.

Mr. Musk, who provided $54.20 a share to purchase Twitter, might have had a change of coronary heart after world markets tumbled. Twitter’s inventory is now buying and selling round $38. And shares of Tesla, that are Mr. Musk’s foremost supply of wealth, have additionally plummeted.

In April, Mr. Musk had agreed to purchase Twitter with out doing any due diligence. He’s on the hook for a breakup payment of $1 billion if he walks away. Below the phrases of the deal, Twitter additionally has the correct to sue him to power a completion of the acquisition, if his debt financing for the acquisition stays intact.

Twitter has insisted that the deal stays on monitor and that it has been sharing info with Mr. Musk.

In his remarks on Thursday, Mr. Musk didn’t immediately handle whether or not he would shut the cope with Twitter. However he stated he had grand plans for the service.

Within the dialog, which was moderated by Twitter’s chief advertising officer, Leslie Berland, Mr. Musk stated he hoped to develop the service in order that it might be utilized by a couple of billion folks the world over. That may be almost 4 instances the quantity of people that use Twitter at present. He added that he was hands-on at Tesla and anticipated to be so at Twitter, and can be particularly concerned within the social media service’s options.

“I do anticipate that they’ll take heed to me on this regard,” Mr. Musk stated.

Mr. Musk answered questions collected from Twitter workers on the interior Slack messaging system prior to now week.

A number of the questions had been about office tradition, together with distant work. This month, Mr. Musk despatched memos to staff at Tesla and SpaceX, saying he anticipated them to be within the workplace for 40 hours every week. Twitter’s workers have largely labored remotely within the coronavirus pandemic.

Within the assembly, Mr. Musk stated he was open to Twitter workers who labored remotely, provided that creating software program was totally different from exhibiting up each day to construct automobiles. However he famous {that a} broad lack of in-office participation might contribute to a dwindling “esprit de corps” and stated he hoped that folks can be keen to come back into the workplace extra sooner or later.

Mr. Musk dodged immediately answering whether or not there can be layoffs at Twitter below his watch, although his reply was ominous.

“Proper now, prices exceed income,” he stated. “That’s not an awesome scenario.”

Mr. Musk, a longtime energy person of Twitter with greater than 98 million followers, has lengthy stated he believes the corporate’s potential is underutilized. He has added that he hopes to rejuvenate the service outdoors the attention of the general public markets by taking the corporate non-public and making vital modifications to how Twitter operates.

Inside Twitter, some workers have had blended emotions about Mr. Musk. Some have stated they’re involved by his Twitter habits and murky politics, and are fearful by how he has stated he would like to take a laissez-faire strategy to policing the platform. That has stoked questions, given the years that Twitter spent increase its coverage division.

Others level to Mr. Musk’s repute as an innovator. After previous Twitter executives set however failed to achieve excessive monetary and person efficiency targets, some workers have stated Mr. Musk might reinvigorate the corporate.