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Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal tried to calm the company’s employees during an emergency all-hands meeting today as they panicked over the possibility that Elon Musk will buy the company outright.
Agrawal reportedly told nervous employees that Musk could not change the company’s culture because “no one man can change that.” While he is legally limited to what he can disclose about the situation, it is an interesting choice of words as it appears to leave open the possibility that Musk really may takeover the company and turn it private.
One Twitter employee tried to claim what Musk was doing by trying to buy the company for far above market value was like a “hostage situation.”
“I don’t believe we are being held hostage,” Agrawal said to employees.
“This provides all of us with this moment where we feel distracted, where we feel a loss of control,” Agrawal said. “I am personally going to spend my time focusing on things I can control, and I believe it will matter.”
Musk revealed during a TED Talk on Thursday afternoon that he has a backup plan if Twitter rejects his bid to buy the company.
“If in this case you are not successful in that the board does not accept your offer, you’ve said you won’t go higher, is there a plan B?” Musk was asked.
“There is,” Musk responded while smiling.
When asked what his backup plan is, Musk said he would discuss that at another time.
“I think it’s very important for there to be an inclusive arena for free speech,” Musk said during the event. “Twitter has become kind of the de facto town square, so it’s really important that people have both the reality and perception that they’re able to speak freely within the bounds of the law.”
Musk said that Twitter needed to make its algorithm open sourced and that any action the company takes against tweets needs to be thoroughly explained to the public to stop “behind the scenes manipulation” on the platform by the company.
“It’s important to the function of democracy, it’s important to the function of the United States as a free country and many other countries, and to help freedom in the world more broadly than in the U.S.,” Musk said. “Civilizational risk is decreased the more we can increase the trust of Twitter as a public platform, and so I do think this will be somewhat painful.”
“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,” Musk said. “I don’t care about the economics at all.”
According to Musk, Twitter’s secret algorithms, which he said promote some tweets while not promoting others, can be “quite dangerous.”
This report has been updated to include additional information.