Was forced to buy; he shouldn’t tweet after 3 a.m.

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Was forced to buy; he shouldn't tweet after 3 a.m.

A “hastily arranged” hour-long interview with Elon Musk on a wide range of Twitter topics was broadcast live on Twitter Spaces.

In it, Musk says that he only went ahead with the purchase because he was forced to; it’s been a painful and stressful experience; he fired 6,500 of the 8,000 staff; he probably shouldn’t tweet after 3 a.m.; and that Apple now feels “comfortable” advertising on the platform …

NPR and BBC Twitter account labels

The interview came about after Musk labeled both NPR and BBC Twitter accounts as “government-funded media” – putting them into the same category as Chinese media directly controlled by the Communist Party.

When the BBC said this wasn’t accurate, Musk said the corporation was welcome to discuss it with him, and that turned into an interview.

Musk has since changed both labels to say that they are “publicly funded,” which is accurate.

Musk on Twitter purchase

A brief history of Musk’s purchase of the social network:

Musk started quietly buying up Twitter shares, was offered and accepted a seat on the company’s boardchanged his mind a day later, offered to buy the companyTwitter resistedthen accepted before Musk tried to back outTwitter sued, then it was all going ahead again, leaving Musk’s bankers sweating, amid claims that Twitter ordered evidence to be burned, and each side claiming that the other is under federal investigation. He eventually went ahead with the purchase at the agreed price.

For the first time that I’m aware, Musk admitted in the interview that he only went through with it because a judge was about to order him to do so. Asked whether he regretted it, Musk said that it hasn’t been fun.

The “pain level has been extremely high, this hasn’t been some kind of party,”

Talking about his time at the helm so far, Mr Musk said: “It’s not been boring. It’s been quite a rollercoaster.” It has been “really quite a stressful situation over the last several months.”

His controversial tweets

Some of Musk’s tweets could be politely described as ill-advised. He has made numerous U-turns within a short time of tweeting something, and has also deleted a significant number of his own tweets. He commented:

Have I shot myself in the foot with tweets multiple times? Yes. I think I should not tweet after 3 a.m.

Claims advertisers like Apple are returning

A lot of advertisers – including Apple – abandoned the platform, or dramatically reduced their spending, after Musk fired most of the safety team and allowed banned figures back on the platform, despite their history of hate speech and incitement to violence.

Musk claims that, while the company is still losing money, the damage caused by this is almost at an end.

We could be profitable, or to be more precise, cash flow positive this quarter if things keep going well. I think almost all advertisers have come back or said they are going to come back.

He said that Apple “feels comfortable” advertising iPhones on Twitter.

Blue checkmark latest

Musk has made several U-turns on plans for the blue checkmarks of legacy verified Twitter accounts: that these would be removed; that they would remain and be distinguished from paid subscriptions; that they would remain but not be distinguished; and that they would be removed in March.

In this interview, he says they will be removed this month.

On the issue of legacy-verified blue ticks on the platform, Mr. Musk said they would be removed from accounts by the end of next week.

Musk seems to view this as a threat, while every legacy-verified Twitter user I know (myself included) has no intention of subscribing in order to retain our checkmarks.

You can watch the whole 58-minute interview here, or a 90-second highlights clip here. In both cases, you may need to use a VPN to change your location to the UK.

More Twitter failures

In the interview, Musk claimed that the various failures to occur since he fired most of the engineers are largely resolved, but just a couple of days ago Twitter Circle tweets – supposed to be limited to a selected audience – were shown publicly. And only today, tweets started showing up from a locked account …

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