Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and the richest man in the world, took to the TED stage with Chris Anderson just a day after offering to buy Twitter at $41 billion. He used some of his time to explain why he wanted to own Twitter.
Musk stated, “I believe it’s important that there will be an inclusive arena for freedom of speech.” “Twitter is almost like a de facto town square. People need to have the ability to communicate freely within the limits of the law.
He then gave a list of practical steps that Twitter should take to make this happen. These include making it open-sourced and making clear any actions that de-emphasize or emphasize people’s tweets. “So there’s no behind-the-scenes manipulation, either algorithmically, or manually.”
Elon Musk stated that it would be “miserable” to own Twitter and everyone would blame him for everything.
“But it is important to the functioning of democracy to promote freedom around the world. The more trust we have in Twitter as a public platform, the less civilizational risk there is.
Musk explained that the offer was made to help keep Twitter “independent and impartial”, as it is a key communication tool for his companies.
As of Saturday, Twitter was still without a permanent CEO. Co-founder and interim CEO Jack Dorsey is the leading candidate for the job, but there are other contenders as well. One of those contenders is Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who made a bid to buy the social media company last week.
Musk explained that the offer was made to help keep Twitter “independent and impartial”, as it is a vital communications tool for his companies. He also believes that Twitter has the potential to be even more valuable than it is currently, and he wants to help make that happen.
Whether or not Musk’s bid will be successful remains to be seen, but it’s clear that he has a lot of faith in Twitter’s potential.
Musk stated that the move was not about making money, or maximizing his Twitter ownership.
Musk omitted to address the issue of how Twitter handles hate speech and instead reiterated the importance of making Twitter’s algorithms available to the public. Musk did mention that Twitter should be cautious when banning content.
He said, “If in doubt let the speech exist.” He added, “I don’t have all of the answers here.”
As for other changes that may be coming to Twitter, should Musk succeed to take the company over, Musk said he’d try to get rid of cryptocurrency-related scams, and the long-awaited edit button would also be a priority.
Below, you can see the entire thing and an excerpt from Musk’s upcoming interview of 80 minutes.