Potential takeover: Musk wants to have his say in Twitter’s actions

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possible takeover

Musk wants to have a say in Twitter features

Tech icon Elon Musk wants Twitter to reach 1 billion users.

Photo: DPA

Until recently, nobody could be sure if Elon Musk even wanted to buy Twitter. But now the tech billionaire is talking to Twitter employees about his ideas.

Tech billionaire Elon Musk from San Francisco also wants to be involved in the product development of the service after the takeover of Twitter. In a video conference call with Twitter employees, Musk said he believes employees would listen to his suggestions for the facilities.

For example, among the product ideas Musk mentioned is charging for user verification, which is free today. He also confirmed his intention to fight against automated bot accounts.

Musk also described how he once bought a bad product based on an ad on video sharing platform YouTube and did a web search and discovered it was a scam. Musk said he wanted to stop something like this on Twitter.

Musk’s previous criticism that Twitter over-restricted free speech also raised concerns that more disinformation or offensive tweets could remain on the platform under his leadership. In the video conference, he acknowledged that users will leave Twitter if they are attacked or feel uncomfortable on the platform. But he also reiterated that while users should be allowed to post “rather abusive” things, Twitter can block the distribution of such tweets.

High user numbers as the goal

Musk said he wants Twitter to reach 1 billion users. According to the latest available data, Twitter had about 230 million daily active users, for whom the service can show ads when using its in-house app or web version. In a possible nod to the future direction, Musk praised Chinese video app TikTok for finding amusing clips for users.

While Thursday’s conversation with Musk was reserved for employees only, Twitter employees shared the information so freely that several major US media outlets were able to blog about it live.

Musk prepares Twitter employees for possible job cuts. Twitter needs to be financially healthy — and right now, costs outweigh revenue, he stressed. However, those who make significant contributions have nothing to fear. According to Musk, valued employees are also more likely to work from home. The online service had previously promised staff that they would not be forced to return to offices even after the pandemic had passed. But Musk recently mandated universal attendance for the companies he runs — electric carmaker Tesla and aerospace company SpaceX.

It is also unclear whether Musk will eventually become the owner of Twitter. Although he approved the acquisition with Twitter’s board of directors, it is subject to majority shareholder approval. He also declared the deal on hold as he had doubts about the number of fake accounts. Twitter countered that Musk could not stop the unilateral agreement and was determined to implement it.

While Musk is offering shareholders $54.20 per share, the stock closed at $37.36 on Thursday, down about 1.7 percent. So Musk has an incentive to renegotiate the price, while many former shareholders are interested in reselling his current offering. The appearance in front of employees was taken as a sign that Musk is still fundamentally interested in buying Twitter. He did not comment directly on this in the interview.

© dpa-infocom, dpa:220617-99-695680/2

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