In an all-hands Twitter call, Elon Musk answers questions about free speech and bots

When Elon Musk first addressed Twitter employees in a question-and-answer meeting, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX provided more details about his plans for the social platform. When Musk first announced his offer to buy Twitter for $44 billion, he proposed the idea of ​​”authenticating all humans” on Twitter. As we well know, one of his biggest complaints with the platform is his bots and fake accounts. Today, Musk explained what this plan might entail, and clarified that he doesn’t believe human authentication is a requirement to use Twitter. He added that anonymity can be useful for people to freely express their political opinions, which is a priority for him. According to Bloomberg, Musk proposed the idea that users could pay to be authenticated as humans through a tool like the subscription product Twitter Blue, and that those users’ tweets could be ranked above others. Regarding content moderation, Musk stuck to his earlier statements that people should be able to say “pretty outrageous things” as long as those statements are legal. Musk has routinely referred to himself as a “free speech absolutist” (despite endorsing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for president, who supported and signed legislation limiting discussions of racial and LGBTQ issues in state public schools). But Twitter’s existing platform guidelines aren’t as strict. In addition to prohibiting illegal actions, the platform prohibits hateful conduct (attacking or threatening people based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, etc.), depictions of graphic violence, and promotion of suicide or self-harm. On the business side, Musk said he wants Twitter to have more than a billion users. As of its latest quarterly report, Twitter has 229 million monetizable daily active users. User growth would directly support Musk’s other ideas for Twitter: He wants the company to make more money through advertising, in-app payments and more features for creators. Although Twitter has launched some products for creators, such as super followers, ticket slots and tips, creators do not depend on Twitter for income, while having a successful YouTube account can be a viable career. Musk said he wants Twitter to be more like China’s WeChat, noting that its users “basically live off” the app, as it combines social networking, messaging, calling, gaming and payments into one app. He also praised TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, for keeping users entertained. It’s unclear how, when, or if this deal could be finalized, as Musk demands more information from Twitter about how many accounts aren’t actually real humans. At the same time, the stock market has suffered, sending shares of Twitter and Tesla alike down, putting Musk in a bind as Twitter expects him to accept its $44 billion offer. Still, Musk claims to love Twitter and is at least engaged enough to answer employee questions. “Some people use their hair to express themselves. I use Twitter,” he said.


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