During an all-hands meeting with Twitter employees on Thursday, Elon Musk explained that users should be able to post “pretty outrageous things.”
Musk, who serves as CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, is attempting to buy the social media platform for $44 billion. The meeting is the first time he has addressed all employees, according to Bloomberg, likely signaling that the acquisition arrangement is nearing completion.
New York Times technology correspondent Mike Isaac reported that Twitter employees had the opportunity to submit questions to Musk over the past few days. Musk reportedly said during the meeting, which Twitter Chief Marketing Officer Leslie Berland moderated, that he wants to prioritize “freedom of speech,” but not necessarily “freedom of reach.”
Musk has frequently commented on the need for Twitter — and mainstream Americans at large — to reaffirm their commitments to freedom of speech.
“I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans,” Musk said in April, adding that the “extreme antibody reaction from those who fear free speech says it all.”
During the meeting, Musk expressed concern about costs exceeding revenues and signaled a willingness to dismiss unproductive employees. “If somebody is getting useful things done, that’s great,” he said, according to The New York Times. “If they aren’t getting useful things done, then why are they at the company?”
Several employees also asked Musk about remote work — likely because the entrepreneur recently told Tesla staff that “remote work is no longer” acceptable at the automaker. “If there are particularly exceptional contributors for whom this is impossible, I will review and approve those exceptions directly,” he said to Tesla executives, remarking that the workplace “must be a main Tesla office, not a remote branch office unrelated to the job duties, for example being responsible for Fremont factory human relations, but having your office in another state.”
Likewise, Musk told Twitter employees that it is “much better if you are on location physically.”
The multibillionaire said two weeks ago that he has a “super bad feeling” about the global economy and told Tesla executives that they should prepare to lay off 10% of staff and “pause all hiring worldwide.”
In the days after Musk purchased a substantial share in Twitter, several employees voiced fear that Musk would alter Twitter’s “corporate culture” of “inclusivity.” Musk “has faced widespread criticism for posting memes that mocked transgender people and efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19,” according to Reuters.
When asked on Thursday if he is committed to a diverse workplace at Twitter, Musk replied that he wants “at least a billion people on Twitter,” according to The New York Times, which is the “most explicit definition of inclusiveness.”
Musk noted that he is “extremely literal with what he says,” meaning that Twitter staff should merely take him at his word.
Earlier this week, Musk made headlines for announcing that he voted for Mayra Flores — a Mexican-American Republican congressional candidate who won a historically Democratic district in southern Texas. When questioned online about who he was leaning toward supporting in the 2024 presidential election, Musk responded, “DeSantis.”
Editor’s Note: This article, as well as its title, were updated after publication to more closely reflect Musk’s remarks.