Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, took a jab at TikTok, a short video-sharing app, on Saturday, stating that some people believe it is killing civilization. The Chinese-owned app is one of the most popular in the world, posing a threat to the dominance of US-based IT firms. Elon Musk, who is in discussions to buy Twitter, is known for his heavy usage of social media, which has gotten him into a lot of controversies owing to his outspoken public pronouncements.
Today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk resorted to Twitter to criticize TikTok, asking his followers whether the app is killing civilization. In his following tweet, he added, “Or possibly social media in general.” Tesla employees had previously sent a letter criticizing his public behavior, as well as recent sexual harassment allegations against him, as “a regular cause of distraction and shame for us.”
“Elon is perceived as the face of SpaceX as our CEO and most visible spokesman – every Tweet Elon makes is a de facto public statement by the firm,” the letter said. After an inquiry, the corporation dismissed the workers for “overreaching activism.” On Thursday, Elon Musk held a virtual town hall for Twitter workers to address their concerns, and towards the conclusion of the meeting, one topic stood out above the rest: can you truly manage Twitter off the top of your head?
Over the course of 60 or so freewheeling minutes, the world’s wealthiest man addressed questions from Twitter’s approximately 8,000 workers on remote work, layoffs, content moderation, and other urgent issues. He often delivered a hodgepodge of phrase fragments to employees in search of solid solutions.
Is TikTok destroying civilization? Some people think so.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 18, 2022
Will Twitter’s mostly remote employees be allowed to work from home in the future? According to Bloomberg’s live blog, Musk suggested they may be “great.” According to Mike Isaac of the New York Times, it’s “far better if you’re physically on site.” What kind of rules on content filtering will he support? He said, “We should let individuals to speak anything they want.” According to Insider Kali Hays and Hugh Langley, “it’s crucial to make Twitter as enticing as possible.” “Really, it means not displaying individuals stuff that is objectionable to them.” Or, to put it another way, boring is not a positive thing. TikTok does an excellent job at keeping you entertained.”
Musk got bonus points for appearing genuinely excited about the possibility of controlling Twitter.
What do you think Twitter should become? He described it as a Chinese-style mega app similar to WeChat. But, like TikTok, it’s also “entertaining.” But there are also fees and subscriptions. According to Musk, somewhere in this jumble of half-baked ideas lies the formula for Twitter to attract 1 billion users — around 770 million more than it has now.
After the meeting, I spoke with about a half-dozen workers. The response was divided, but mostly unfavorable. Musk earned some brownie points for appearing genuinely excited about the idea of owning and controlling Twitter, which has been in doubt since he launched his battle of attrition against the company’s board in an attempt to back out of the $44 billion transactions.
Employees, on the other hand, informed me that the dialogue had only confirmed their preconceived notions about Musk going into the meeting. Some of the heavier words in a word cloud of employee comments might be: incomprehensible; rambling, or uninteresting. (At one point, Musk also said that he had found no proof of extraterrestrial life, which no one seemed to understand.)
The folks I talked with have experience running Twitter and have done it for many years. And it was startling, they added, to hear someone talk so confidently about a firm that Musk is just now getting a grasp on. Given Musk’s shallow thinking, it’s worth noting that the hour he spent with staff today may have been the most continuous amount of thought he’s had about what it’ll take to manage Twitter since he acquired it.
Musk spewed bong-rip cliches about humanity’s future.
Musk was asked a series of non-threatening questions on Thursday. No one was permitted to question him about his criticism of current Twitter management, his attempts to derail the agreement he signed or the latest harassment charges leveled against him. He was asked about possible layoffs, which he avoided, but he did mention that Twitter is losing money and added, “That’s not a nice scenario.” (Analysts estimate that Musk will lay off around 20% of Twitter’s workers.)
Musk spewed bong-rip platitudes about the future of society while workers continue to worry about what the purchase would mean for them. “I want Twitter to contribute to a better, longer-lasting civilization in which we have a greater understanding of reality,” he stated. If there was any sign of Musk’s planned management style in all of this, it was in response to a question about whether he would take over as CEO when the acquisition closed. Musk has a playful attitude toward corporate titles, referring to himself as Tesla’s “Techno King” and his top financial officer as “master of currency,” so the inquiry was more than fair.