Elon Musk reveals ‘painful’ six months at Twitter HQ

Billionaires

Elon Musk, one of the world’s richest men, gave an insight into his Twitter ownership in a rare – and bizarre – interview with the BBC this week.
It’s been a rough start for life at Twitter for Elon Musk. Image: Getty

Valued at US$185 billion by Forbes and one of the world’s richest men, Musk originally offered to buy social media platform Twitter in April 2022 – before backflipping on the offer months later, with Musk claiming Twitter’s fake accounts devalued the platform. The US$44 billion deal finally closed in October last year.

In perhaps one of the biggest reveals of the interview, Musk confirmed the bots were the reason he wanted to pull out and the reason he closed the deal: he thought the courts would force him to anyway.

“Yes, that’s the reason,” he said. “It’s not super complicated.”

And he didn’t hold back on his first impressions of the business. “They were spending money like it was going out of fashion,” Musk said. “At the point at which the deal closed, Twitter was tracking to lose over US$3 billion a year… It was really like a non-profit.”‘

Since the acquisition, Musk has fired top executives, laid off half of the company’s staff, formed a content moderation council to review account reinstatements (one of which was formed US President Donald Trump’s, though Musk says he has not returned to the platform) and revamped the business’ subscription service.

On the whole, Musk revealed the experience had been “painful” and claimed he had been under constant attack”, but that it “needed to be done”.

“It’s really been quite a stressful situation for the last several months. It’s been quite painful, but I think at the end it should have been done. Were there many mistakes along the way? Of course… But all’s well that ends well, and I feel like we’re headed to a good place.”

Musk said the business was trending towards being cashflow positive, “literally in a matter of months”. He claimed advertisers had been returning to the platform and the quality of recommended tweets had improved significantly.

In March this year, Musk himself valued the business, which is now private, at US$20 billion in an email to staff. That’s about on par with Snap, the parent company of social media app Snapchat, which has a market cap of US$18 billion.

Earlier this month, court filings revealed Twitter Inc. “no longer exists” and the company is now part of X Corp – Musk’s future “everything app”.

What else did Elon Musk say?
  • His dog, Floki, was the CEO of Twitter
  • He wouldn’t sell Twitter for US$44 billion
  • He doesn’t think the US should ban TikTok
  • He voted for Joe Biden, and hasn’t heard from Donald Trump since he reinstated the ex-President’s account
  • He has a “love-hate” relationship with the media

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