Elon Musk held a meeting with Twitter employees Thursday detailing his vision for the social media platform, despite his threat to walk away from his takeover deal if the company doesn’t share data on spam bot accounts.
This all-hands meeting was the first time the billionaire took questions from employees since Twitter’s board announced it would sell the company to Musk for $44 billion in April.
The call was closed to reporters, but several key moments were leaked to news outlets.
Asked whether he is considering layoffs, the world’s richest person did not directly answer.
“The company does need to get healthy,” Musk said, people who attended the meeting told Bloomberg. “Right now the costs exceed the revenue, so that’s not a great situation to be in.”
“Obviously a significant contributor should have nothing to worry about,” Musk continued.
In May, Twitter announced a hiring freeze, except for business-critical roles, and fired two executives.
Musk also talked about product changes he would consider, including some that could boost revenue. He said users could be authenticated through Twitter Blue, the company’s paid subscription offering, currently rolled out in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
He also discussed spam bot accounts on Twitter, a sticking point for the completion of the deal, and how the company should crack down.
“It needs to be much more expensive to have a troll army,” Musk said, according to The Verge.
Agrawal said on Twitter that spam accounts represent less than 5% of monetizable daily active users. The analysis didn’t seem to satisfy Musk, who tweeted a poop emoji in response.
Musk, who demanded Tesla and SpaceX staff return to the office for a minimum of 40 hours per week, said he could accept Twitter employees working from home if they are “exceptional.” In May 2020, then-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told employees they could work remotely forever if they choose to do so.
“The bias definitely needs to be strongly towards working in person, but if somebody is exceptional, then remote work can be OK,” Musk was quoted as saying in Bloomberg.
“If someone is excellent at what they do but can only work remotely, to then fire them even though they are doing excellent work would be insane,” Musk continued. “So I’m definitely not in favor of things that are, like, mad. I’m in favor of things that build the business and make it better.”
Musk, who was introduced by Agrawal for Thursday’s meeting, reportedly joined the call 10 minutes late from what appeared to be his smartphone, according to The Verge deputy editor Alex Heath.
Musk, asked to define Twitter success within the next five to 10 years, told staff he would like to see daily active users top 1 billion, according to sources cited by The Wall Street Journal. Twitter currently reaches approximately 229 million monetizable daily active users worldwide.
Musk also told employees he would want Twitter to learn from Chinese apps WeChat, used from everything from instant messaging to e-commerce, and TikTok, praising its algorithm for being interesting, according to The Verge.
“There’s no WeChat equivalent outside of China,” Musk said. “You basically live on WeChat in China. If we can recreate that with Twitter, we’ll be a great success.”
During the call, Musk roamed beyond day-to-day operations, saying he hasn’t seen “actual evidence of aliens.”
“Can we travel to other star systems and see if there are alien civilizations?” Musk asked, according to the BBC.
Twitter could help “civilization and consciousness,” Musk added.
When the 45-minute call ended, Musk turned off his camera. An avatar of two hands shaping the number 69 appeared, interpreted as a reference to the sex position, a source told Reuters.