Elon Musk is aiming to significantly transform Twitter, according to him during a meeting with the platform's employees on Thursday. He plans to purge it of bot/fake accounts, increase the number of real users, and allow free speech to flourish while boosting profitability. Employees who do their job responsibly will not be fired.
Elon Musk met with Twitter employees on Thursday to answer their questions, clarifying the future of the platform that will become his if the purchase will be completed. He spoke about some plans, and also explained his views on remote work and layoffs, which employees are afraid of.
During the meeting, Musk made it clear that freedom of speech is a priority for him. Speaking about his stance on content moderation, he said, “We should allow people to say what they want.” Musk emphasized that “it's essential to have free speech and for people to be able to communicate freely.” To be very clear, he said that Twitter should work to prevent the spread of potentially harmful or offensive content in order for users to feel comfortable using the platform.
“There's freedom of speech and freedom of reach,” Musk said. He explained that anyone can go to Times Square and say whatever they want, but this does not mean that it needs to be advertised to millions of people. Therefore, Musk believes that people should be allowed to say whatever they want that is within the law, but they should not be amplified and widely spread.
“Anyone could just go into the middle of Times Square right now and say anything they want. They can just walk into the middle of Times Square and deny the Holocaust ... but that doesn't mean that needs to be promoted to millions of people. So I think people should be allowed to say pretty outrageous things that are in the bounds of the law but that don't get amplified and don't get a ton of reach.”
In addition, Musk said that he has a plan to attract hundreds of thousands of new users to the platform, bringing their total to a billion or more. To date, the platform has just over 200 million accounts, although it is difficult to say for sure how many of them are bots/fake.
“I think an important goal for Twitter would be to try to include as much of the country, as much of the world, as possible," Musk said. He said the platform needs to change to attract wider attention, and cited China's WeChat as an example. "You basically live on WeChat in China because it's so usable and helpful to daily life, and I think if we can achieve that, or even get close to that at Twitter, it would be an immense success.”
Musk also answered a number of questions that worried employees the most. After he called on all Tesla employees to return to the office, many Twitter employees worried about whether they could continue to work remotely. Musk clarified the situation by saying that the preferred form of work would be for employees to work in an office, however his requirements would have flexibility in some individual cases. “There is a hit one takes remotely, because it does reduce esprit de corps... Even if someone is working remotely, they've got to come in sometimes so they recognize their colleagues... The bias for me may be strongly towards working in person, but if somebody is exceptional then remote work can be okay.”
Another issue of particular concern to Twitter employees was the alleged layoffs. Musk has made it clear that while Twitter's costs are now higher than its revenue, valuable employees who genuinely care about the company and deliver value will keep their jobs. “The company does need to get healthy. Right now the costs exceed the revenue,” he said, adding: “If someone is getting stuff done, great, I love them. If they're not, why are they at the company?”
© 2022, Eva Fox | Tesmanian. All rights reserved.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.