Elon Musk In Twitter Town Hall Says He Wants At Least A Billion Users, Hints At Layoffs

Tesla and SpaceX founder and would-be Twitter owner Elon Musk fielded questions from employees of the social media company today in a virtual town hall where he said he’d like to see at least a billion people on the platform and was a bit ominous when it came to questions on job cuts.

Twitter reported 229 million daily active users for the first quarter of 2022.

According to press reports and tweets emerging from the gathering, when asked about content moderation he seemed more concerned about “boring content.” He gave a shout out to TikTok for being entertaining, as well as to China’s WeChat for keeping people engaged.

On layoffs, Musk said, “Right now, costs exceed revenue. That’s not a great situation,” according to a long Twitter thread curated by the New York Times. However, he took less off a hard line on remote work than he’s done for his other businesses, where he created a stir recently by saying employees unwilling to return to a 40-hour, in-office work week should leave. Those businesses are more physically hands on, Twitter is a bit different, he said.

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Must first announced plans in April to buy Twitter for $44 billion in cash and take it private. He promised to make a freer town square with less content moderation. Musk recently switched parties to become a Republican.

But he appeared to balk suddenly at what he called a lack of reliable data on fake accounts, and announced that the deal was on hold. It’s not been clear that’s legally an option for him and, in any case, it appears based on today’s meeting that he’s planning to move ahead with the purchase.

Musk in the past has expressed disdain for Twitter taking advertising, its main source of revenue. Today he said. “I think advertising is very important for Twitter.”

“I’m not against advertising. I would probably talk to the advertisers and say, like, ‘hey, let’s just make sure the ads are as entertaining as possible.,” he said according to Reuters.

Twitter stock was among the only gainers in a ravaged market this morning ahead of Musk’s powwow. It’s since lost ground, changing hands down 2.5% at $37.04 — well below Musk’s purchase price of $54.20.

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