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Elon Musk exposed his plans for Twitter in text messages

What will Elon Musk do with Twitter? The answer is in his texts

The saga of whether or not Elon Musk will buy Twitter is finally over: The $44 billion deal closed yesterday, ending months of financial and legal back and forth between the Tesla CEO and the social media platform.

Musk announced his acquisition on Twitter with a tweet claiming “the bird is freed,” referring, of course, to Twitter’s bird logo. According to Reuters, one of Musk’s first actions was to fire top Twitter executives, including Twitter Chief Executive Parag Agrawal, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal, and legal affairs and policy chief Vijaya Gadde.

Dear Twitter Advertisers

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 27, 2022

In an open letter to Twitter’s advertisers, Musk wrote, “Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!”

Still, Reuters reports that many Twitter employees are fearful about what this move means for their jobs, and most everyone is wondering what the future holds for Twitter. Well, that back and forth over the last few months included the Musk v. Twitter lawsuit; as part of the legal discovery process, Musk’s private texts with family members, CEOs, and celebs were made public. If you found yourself asking, “What will Elon Musk do with Twitter?” now’s your chance to find out. Among (many) other things, Musk’s texts revealed some of his big plans for the platform. You can view the court document containing the full text exchanges here. Check out some of the highlights of these conversations below.

Person looking at Twitter on phone
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Musk wanted users to prove they weren’t bots with crypto payments

Elon Musk claimed his reason for backing out of the Twitter deal was because of the prevalence of fake accounts and bots. His private texts with his brother, Kimbal Musk, revealed how he planned to handle the issue: by requiring users to verify their messages using blockchain payments.
In his own words, “I have an idea for a blockchain social media system that does both payments and short text messages/links like Twitter. You have to pay a tiny amount to register your message on the chain, which will cut out the vast majority of spam and bots. There is no throat to choke, so free speech is guaranteed.”

He agreed with Jack Dorsey on an open-source protocol

Musk also exchanged texts with Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who stepped down as CEO in late 2021 and left the board of directors in May 2022. But while he was still on the board, Dorsey reached out to Musk responding to one of his tweets that asked if a new platform was needed. Dorsey (who’s saved as “jack jack” in Musk’s contacts) texted, “yes, a new platform is needed. It can’t be a company. This is why I left.”

He continued by saying, “I believe it must be an open source protocol, funded by a foundation of sorts that doesn’t own the protocol, only advances it. A bit like what Signal has done. It can’t have an advertising model. Otherwise you have surface area that governments and advertisers will try to influence and control… it just has to be done right so it’s resilient to what has happened to Twitter.”

Musk responded by calling it a “super interesting idea,” and saying he’d like to help if he could. Later in the conversation, Musk texts, “I think it’s worth both trying to move Twitter in a better direction and doing something new that’s decentralized.”

Other interesting revelations from Musk’s texts

Outside of his plans for the platform, there were plenty of gems in Musk’s texts. Here are some of the most fascinating tidbits.

  • Texts from Dorsey also revealed that he previously tried to get Musk on the board and made his decision to leave the company when they said no.
  • With his emphasis on making Twitter a “free speech platform,” some right-wingers saw Musk’s purchase as an opportunity to reinstate the accounts of some banned conservative personalities. One redacted contact texted, “It will be a delicate game of letting right wingers back on Twitter and how to navigate that (especially the boss himself, if you’re up for that),” seemingly referencing Twitter’s decision to ban the former president, Donald Trump.
  • CBS host Gayle King asked Musk multiple times for a sit-down interview. After news broke that Musk was planning to buy the platform, King texted, “Now Don’t you think we should sit down together face to face this is as the kids of today say a ‘gangsta move’ I don’t know know how shareholders turn this down …like I said you are not like the other kids in the class.”
  • Podcaster Joe Rogan reached out to ask, “are you going to liberate Twitter from the censorship happy mob?” and proposed planning a party if he did.

Now, that the deal has gone through and Musk is calling himself “Chief Twit” on his Twitter profile, it seems certain that Twitter is in for some changes.

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