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During an all-hands meeting with Twitter employees on Monday, the world’s richest man addressed whether he would move the firm’s headquarters from San Francisco, California, noting that a “dual-headquartered” company would accurately reflect the motive behind his acquisition, according to a report from The Verge.
“If we want to move the headquarters to Texas I think it would play into the idea that Twitter has gone from being left-wing to right-wing, which is not the case,” he told employees. “This is not a right-wing takeover of Twitter. It is a moderate-wing takeover of Twitter.”
Musk has previously warned that social media censorship worsens ideological silo effects. “The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” he explained in a statement addressed to advertisers.
Musk, who also leads publicly-traded automaker Tesla and private rocket venture SpaceX, added during the meeting that “to be the digital town square, we must represent people with a wide array of views even if we disagree with those views.” He expects that the social media company will “have a lot of mistakes” and “stabilize over time.”
The multibillionaire previously moved Tesla’s headquarters to the Lone Star State after antagonism from officials in California, the electric car manufacturer’s former home. He said he grew increasingly frustrated as government lockdowns prevented the reopening of his companies during the spring of 2020, calling the phenomenon “the final straw.” Democratic lawmakers and other leftists have balked amid the Twitter acquisition and Musk’s plans to revise the platform’s content moderation policies to promote free expression for all viewpoints.
While a factory for Tesla opened near Austin several months ago, SpaceX has major launch facilities in the region. Brain machine startup Neuralink and tunnel construction venture The Boring Company, both projects initiated by Musk, also have operations in Austin.
Some investors had already forecasted that Musk would consider Texas as a new home for Twitter. Dan Ives, an analyst from investment firm Wedbush Securities, said during an interview with Fox Business that central Texas “has become the foundation of the Musk ecosystem” and predicted that “it’s a matter of when, not if, Musk opens up a Twitter Austin office.”
Technology companies are known to establish headquarters near robust talent pools. Austin already has a significant presence from leaders in the industry because of a large student population, the absence of individual income taxes and corporate income taxes, and economic zoning opportunities, according to a report from the Austin Chamber. Firms such as Apple, Dell, Meta, General Motors, and Oracle have major corporate and regional headquarters in the area.
Beyond the discussion about relocating the company, Musk told employees that mass dismissals at Twitter would cease. Although he reduced payroll by half and fired several executives in the days after he purchased the company, Musk encouraged workers to refer individuals skilled in engineering and sales. “In terms of critical hires, I would say people who are great at writing software are the highest priority,” he said during the meeting.