Elon Musk says Twitter offer not a way to ‘make money’

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Elon Musk said his offer to buy Twitter is not a way to “make money,” but rather part of an effort to try to change the platform to be an “inclusive arena for free speech.” 

“I think it’s very important for there to be an inclusive arena for free speech,” Musk said Thursday during an interview at the TED 2022 conference. 

“Twitter has become sort of the de facto town square, so it’s really important that people have both the reality and the perception that they’re able to speak freely within the bounds of the law,” he added. 

Musk sent a letter to Twitter’s board chairman Bret Taylor, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Wednesday, with an offer to buy all of Twitter for $52.40 per share in cash. 

The offer came after Musk turned down a spot on Twitter’s board of directors after the billionaire acquired a 9.2 percent stake in the company. 

If successful in his bid, Musk said his intent is to “retain as many shareholders as is allowed by the law in a private company.” 

“What I’m saying is this is not a way to sort of make money. My strong intuitive sense is that having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization. I don’t care about the economics at all,” Musk said. 

One potential change Musk called for during the interview was for Twitter to have an open source algorithm, and for any changes made to emphasize or deemphasize tweets to be apparent for any user to see. 

He also said he would be “very cautious” with permanent bans, and that he thinks “timeouts” are better. 

Musk’s affinity for less moderation and more “free speech” online has been embraced by Republican lawmakers, who have cheered his offer to buy Twitter. 

But critics are wary that any change Musk brings in could be detrimental to combatting the spread of misinformation and hate speech on the platform.

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