Elon Musk announced on Thursday that he made an offer to acquire Twitter, which caused liberals to suffer complete meltdowns. Also on Thursday, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO gave an interview during the TED2022 conference, where he explained his motivation to purchase Twitter and possible improvements he wants to bring to the social media platform.
Musk – who has a net worth of $264 billion – offered to buy Twitter for $43 billion. Musk already owns 9.2% of Twitter and was briefly the largest shareholder of the social media platform until the Vanguard group swooped in.
InvestorPlace reported, "According to an amended 13G filing, Vanguard now owns 82.40 million shares of TWTR stock, which equates to a 10.29% stake. That’s roughly 12 million shares more – or 17% – than when the firm last reported its stake in the company back in early February. Vanguard is now the largest shareholder of TWTR stock, beating out Elon Musk."
Elon Musk doesn't care about the economics of buying Twitter
Musk denied that his decision to try to acquire Twitter was done for financial gain.
"I mean, I could technically afford it," the world’s richest person joked. "This is not a way to sort of make money."
"My strong intuitive sense is that having a public platform that is maximally trusted, and broadly inclusive, is extremely important to the future of civilization, but I don't care about the economics at all," he added.
Musk wants an 'inclusive arena for free speech'
Musk described Twitter as "kind of the de facto town square," and he believes, "It's very important for there to be an inclusive arena for free speech."
The billionaire called the social media network "important to the function of democracy" and "important to the function of the United States as a free country." He noted that a free and open Twitter would "help freedom in the world more broadly than the U.S."
Musk was asked about being a self-proclaimed "free speech absolutist" and the effect it would have on Twitter. He said the social network is "bound by the laws of the country that it operates in."
When asked what he would do about hate speech and questionable content that is not direct threats on Twitter, Musk said he "would want to err on the side of in doubt" and "let it exist." He pointed out that banning accounts would actually "promote" the questionable tweet.
"I don't know if I have all the answers here, but I do think that we want to be just very reluctant to delete things and have to be very cautious with with with permanent bans," Musk declared. He said he prefers giving malicious Twitter users "timeouts" over permanent bans.
Musk conceded that the system "won't be perfect," but advocates for speech that is as "free as reasonably possible."
"And a good sign as to whether there is free speech is, is someone you don't like allowed to say something you don't like? And if that is the case, then we have free speech. And it's it's damn annoying when someone you don't like says something you don't like," the SpaceX founder explained. "That is a sign of a healthy, functioning, free speech situation."
He acknowledged that increasing the trust of Twitter as a public platform "will be somewhat painful."
Musk calls for Twitter to be more transparent
He specified that "having it be unclear who's making what changes" to accounts and "having tweets sort of mysteriously be promoted and demoted" can be "quite dangerous."
Musk offered a solution, "So the idea of opening the algorithm is a huge deal. And I think many people would welcome that, of understanding exactly how it's making the decision."
"One of the things that I believe Twitter should do is open-source the algorithm," he suggested. "Any changes to people's tweets – if they're emphasized or de-emphasized – that action should be made apparent ... so there's there's no sort of behind-the-scenes manipulation, either algorithmically or manually."
When asked about Twitter being owned by the world's richest person, Musk stressed that "it's very important that the algorithm be open-sourced" for transparency. He noted that Mark Zuckerberg owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
Musk outlines improvements he wants to make to Twitter
Musk outlined how a possible edit button could work on Twitter.
"Well, I think you'd only have the edit capability for a short period of time," Musk proposed. "And probably the thing to do add upon the edit would be to zero out or retweets and favorites," Musk stated, but added, "I'm open to ideas, though."
Musk revealed that one of his top priorities, if he takes over Twitter, is to eliminate the spam, scam bots, and bot armies. "I think these influence and make the product much worse," he said.
Musk tweets from the bathroom
When asked about his thought process for composing tweets, Musk responded that it is "more or less stream of consciousness."
"You know, it's not like, 'Let me think about some grand plan about my Twitter' or whatever," said Musk, who has over 82 million Twitter followers. "You know, I'm like, literally, on the toilet or something like, 'Oh, this is funny,' and then tweet that out."
The Tesla founder said he was apprehensive about purchasing Twitter because everyone will blame him for everything.
"I think everyone will still blame me for everything," Musk told host and head of TED Chris Anderson. " Yeah, if something goes wrong, it's my fault – 100%."
"My driving philosophy is to expand the scope and scale of consciousness so that we may better understand the nature of the universe," Musk expressed. "I love humanity, and I think that we should fight for a good future for humanity."
You can watch the entire TED2022 interview with Elon Musk below.
Elon Musk talks Twitter, Tesla and the future — live at TED2022 www.youtube.com