Musk ponders the future of the company in a conversation with Twitter employees

Elon Musk addressed Twitter employees for the first time on Thursday, expressing his view that Twitter needs to cut its headcount, but gave few other new details about his proposed $44 billion acquisition of the social media company -dollar known.

usk appeared via video call, 10 minutes late, to what turned out to be a free-running question-and-answer session moderated by a Twitter exec, in which Musk reflected on the existence of extraterrestrials and other space civilizations and his view that Twitter should help “civilization and consciousness.”

The Tesla boss, who is also CEO of rocket company SpaceX, told Twitter officials he wants to grow the service’s user base from 229 million to at least 1 billion people, saying advertising would remain important to the company despite previously said he believes Twitter shouldn’t run ads, according to audio of the meeting heard by Reuters.

“I think advertising is very important for Twitter,” Musk said. “I’m not against advertising. I would probably talk to the advertisers and say, ‘Hey, let’s just make the ad as fun as possible.’”

Musk, who was expected to offer reassurances to Twitter staff when they first met, did not provide an update on the deal’s completion.

He reiterated that he’s still trying to learn more about bot and spam accounts on Twitter, which he cited as his biggest concern.

When asked if he expected layoffs, Musk said there needs to be “some rationalization of headcount and spending.”

“Right now, costs are outstripping revenues,” he said, adding, “Anyone who … makes a significant contribution shouldn’t have to worry.”

Twitter workers flocked to an internal Slack channel during the session, posting memes and complaining that Musk wasn’t providing useful responses about his vision for the company and employee compensation.

They also urged Slack to have moderator Musk push his views on remote work, given that Twitter is currently giving employees relatively free rein to work remotely or in the office.

Musk said he believes Twitter employees should tend to work in an office, but agreed to make some exceptions. The trend should be “heavily geared toward in-person work, but if someone is exceptional, remote work can be okay,” he said.

The upcoming acquisition of Twitter drew widespread skepticism and concern from employees at the San Francisco-based company, some of whom feared Musk would relax rules on certain content.

The billionaire told Twitter staff he believes users should be allowed to say “pretty rude things” on the site, as long as the content isn’t illegal.

Twitter shares fell 1.5 percent and Tesla shares fell more than 9 percent in afternoon trade.

According to a source who observed the call, Musk dialed into the call wearing a white shirt and appeared to be sitting in a kitchen.

When he turned off his video at the end of the Q&A, his avatar appeared to be two hands in the shape of the number 69, an obvious reference to a sex position, the source said. Musk ponders the future of the company in a conversation with Twitter employees

Fry Electronics Team

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