Elon Musk faced Twitter employees for the first time on Thursday since striking a deal to acquire the ubiquitous social network for $44 billion.
Musk attended the meeting remotely. Twitter’s chief marketing officer, Leslie Berland, asked a selection of questions submitted by employees during the internally live streamed meeting.
Musk’s comments about how he would run the company rattled some employees.
Asked about his vision for the tech giant, Musk said he wanted a billion people a day to use Twitter. Currently, 229 million people use Twitter daily.
He side-stepped a question on whether he planned to become the CEO, saying he doesn’t care about titles, but plans to give plenty of inputs about the platform’s direction.
He mentioned ideas on how to further expand the platform’s business beyond its current dependence on advertising, and suggested charging people to get “verified” with those blue check marks to confirm their identities.
The billionaire, however, did not address whether he remains committed to acquiring Twitter.
In recent weeks, Musk said that the deal was “on hold” while he further investigated the prevalence of fake accounts and automated bots on the social media platform. He reportedly is also seeking to lower the price for the planned acquisition.
When asked about Twitter’s speech rules, Musk reiterated his belief that the platform should allow all legal speech – a definition that critics claim would open the platform to hate speech, spam and propaganda.
However, Musk also seemed to acknowledge that some content moderation is needed, opining that people won’t want to use Twitter for fear of being harassed.
The future of the company with Musk at the helm was at the centre of the livestream.
Musk implied that layoffs were likely, claiming Twitter’s costs currently exceed its revenues. He also mentioned that he would focus on employees’ performance.
He was also asked about remote work at Twitter, which was one of the first tech giants to allow staff to work remotely permanently. Musk replied that Twitter is a different company from Tesla, and while he mandated onsite work for the latter, he is open to allowing exceptional employees to work remotely for the former.