Elon Musk, the billionaire, told the BBC that running Twitter has been “quite painful,” but that the social media business is now about breaking even since he bought it late last year.
Musk highlighted his ownership of the online platform, including layoffs, misinformation, and his work style, in an interview also streamed live late Tuesday on Twitter Spaces.
“It hasn’t been boring. “It’s a bit of a rollercoaster,” he told the UK broadcaster at Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco.
It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a mainstream news organisation to interview Musk, who also owns Tesla and SpaceX. Musk’s adjustments after purchasing Twitter for $44 billion last year included the elimination of the company’s communications department.
Reporters who email the corporation for comment now get an automated response with a faeces emoji.
The discussion became confrontational at points, with Musk asking the reporter to provide evidence to back up claims about increased levels of hate speech on the platform. At other occasions, Musk chuckled at his own jokes, claiming several times that his dog Floki was the CEO.
He also revealed that he sometimes sleeps on a couch at Twitter’s San Francisco office.
Advertisers who had shunned the platform in the wake of Musk’s tumultuous acquisition have mostly returned, the billionaire said, without providing details.
Musk predicted that Twitter could become “cash flow positive” in the current quarter “if current trends continue.” Because Twitter is a private company, information about its finances can’t be verified.
After acquiring the platform, Musk carried out mass layoffs as part of cost-cutting efforts. He said Twitter’s workforce has been slashed to about 1,500 employees from about 8,000 previously, describing it as something that had to be done.
Running Twitter “It’s not fun at all,” Musk said. “The company’s going to go bankrupt if we don’t cut costs immediately. This is not a caring-uncaring situation. It’s like if the whole ship sinks, then nobody’s got a job.”
Asked if he regretted buying the company, he said it was something that “needed to be done.”
“The pain level of Twitter has been extremely high. This hasn’t been some sort of party,” Musk said.