Billionaire Elon Musk declared that the majority of advertisers who withdrew from Twitter after his $44 billion acquisition have returned back. He added that the micro-blogging site is regaining its footing.
Speaking during a rambling Twitter Space interview with the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), which was played out before millions of listeners, Musk reaffirmed that the social media platform is operating at about breakeven and could become cash-flow positive as soon as this quarter.
According to the data, more than three million concurrent users tuned in to the nearly two-hour-long conversation between Musk and the interviewer, on Wednesday morning.
The conversation became interesting when Musk, at times, became combative and turned the tables on the BBC interviewer. He even questioned the BBC’s track record on everything from Covi-19 misinformation to propagating hate speech.
It should be noted that the interview aired days after the British broadcaster objected to its Twitter account being labeled as “government-funded media”.
If the data is to be believed, Twitter showed positive cash flow in its latest earnings filing before the conclusion of Musk’s tumultuous took over of the company in July 2022. The company was already burdened with billions of dollars in debt from the deal. Therefore, Musk’s decision to lay off unproductive and inefficient staff to restore Twitter’s profitability was quite justified. However, he has also been accused of failing to pay the company’s expenses, including office rent to former employees’ severance to previous executives’ legal fees.
During the interview, Musk also admitted that he acquired Twitter forcefully after the company’s board sued him to close the deal. He added that now he would not sell the platform even if someone offered the same price today.
A lot of advertisers pulled back from the social media platform after Musk took over and following mass firings and technical glitches that prompted concerns about the potential proliferation of hate speech, fake news, and other objectionable content.
Various topics were discussed during the prolonged interview. The BBC reporter grilled Musk over mass firings, his greatest challenges in the past six months including shutting one of three data centers, the speculations around him planning to sell the micro-blogging site, major overhauls, and constantly shooting himself in the foot with impulsive tweets.
At times, the executive, whose other day jobs include running Tesla Inc. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp., was evasive and brutally direct at other times. Most of the questions revolved around his vision since launching a bid for the social media platform in 2022.
The new Twitter owner also spoke about the revenue model of the platform and how it is necessary to bring it back on track. Musk said no social media network can survive without paid verification. He also addressed criticism over Twitter charging $8 for the blue ticks. Earlier, Musk had reiterated his position that the payment barrier was the only way to prevent misinformation bots from inundating the online platform. Similarly, Meta announced Meta verified for their users.
Finally, in the ‘Question and Answer round’, Musk spoke about Twitter’s merger with a newly formed shell firm called ‘X Corp’. “Yes, there is something more to it,” the billionaire added. Musk stressed that he still wants to build X, everything app similar to Tencent Holdings Ltd. WeChat.
The conversation ranged from serious topics, such as the handling of sexism, to absurdity, with the CEO repeatedly claiming his dog is Twitter’s chief executive officer.
“I am not the CEO of Twitter. My dog is the CEO of Twitter,” Musk said with a laugh. “He’s got a black turtleneck, what more do you need?”