Elon Musk reveals 5 details about how he’ll run Twitter. Maybe.

He also pushed back against rumors about his personal life.
Grant Currin
Musk looking up like he doesn't want to say so (left), and a very red Twitter logo (right).1, 2

When billionaires make moves, the world can't help but watch.

Relatedly, the world’s richest man spent his Friday on the social media platform he just bought last week for $44 billion. And, since tweets don't lie — we looked at Elon Musk's social media activity, and found that it offers substantial insights into how the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla intends on running the company. Which he plans to lead as CEO, of course.

Behold: the breadcrumbs of Musk.

Musk: I didn't ask out that woman (and Twitter helped the rumor spread)

Musk — a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist” who’s indicated he’ll loosen Twitter’s already lax content moderation policies — started his time on the site by denying two allegedly false reports. The first claim was from an account with 608 followers called “Sugar Pop,” which claimed that “it-girl” Sky Ferreira declined a date with Musk when approached by a member of the billionaire's team on Monday at the Met Gala in New York.

His mother, Maye Musk, denied the rumor on Thursday night, and Elon chimed in the following morning, tweeting “I didn’t ask anyone out or request particular seating.”

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Less than an hour later, Musk added more to the thread. 

It's tempting to read Musk's sigh as a sign of disappointment with the "real media" for getting hoodwinked by a parody account. Maybe he was disappointed with the algorithm that drives Twitter's trending content. (His later tweets about engineering at the site add some weight to that reading.) However, it's dangerous to take Musk's tweets at face value.

Elon Musk says Trump didn't encourage him to buy Twitter

Musk also denied a claim by former Republican congressman Devin Nunes, a resigned from the House of Representatives earlier this year to lead former U.S. President Donald Trump’s social network, Truth Social. On Wednesday, Nunes told Fox Business Network that  “President Trump, basically before Elon Musk bought it, actually said to go and buy it.” One reason Trump “encouraged Elon Musk to buy” the company was to “take on these tech tyrants,” such as Twitter in its previous form.

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Musk firmly rejected the claim.

Musk: my Twitter will take engineering seriously

A few minutes after denying that Trump encouraged him to buy Twitter, Musk offered some concrete — if extremely general — hints about how he'll change the company.

He was commenting on a story reporting a tweet (yes, this is recursive) from an economist at the job-seeking website Glassdoor who claimed that interest in job openings at Twitter rose by more than 250 percent after Twitter agreed to sell itself to Musk last week. The story is a break from weeks of bad press about how Twitter's current employees feel about the billionaire becoming their new boss. The Washington Post called Musk's takeover a "long-feared reality" for the company's current employees.

In a second tweet, Musk hinted at why he thinks the company is deficient in those areas.

It's not the first time Musk has criticized Twitter's current employees since agreeing to buy the service. Last week, he piled onto to a tweet that the company's current head of legal, policy, and trust "the top censorship advocate at Twitter."

Elon Musk says getting it right will be hard

The only further detail he offered was in response to a tweet asking for Twitter to restore a previous, slightly different design. The billionaire's reply conveys the meticulous, engineering-first attitude that he's cultivated as part of his image as a figure who brings a rational approach to big problems, like space travel, electric cars, and traffic congestion.

Clearly, Musk has a lot on his plate — perhaps enough to offset having more money than anyone else in his Tesla stock and bank account(s). But that doesn't mean he doesn't struggle to get what he wants (at least, on paper). For example, Twitter’s board of directors initially pushed back against Musk’s attempt to buy the service, turning it from a publicly traded company into a private venture.

As the conversation continued, it became clear to members of the board that they were in no position to deny Musk’s offer. And, if we take Musk's word that Twitter is the "de facto town square" and look at what the people want, 59 percent of American citizens support the deal, according to a poll published earlier this week. Most of them cite “free speech” as the main reason for their support. Whether that makes sense in a modern democracy, or whether that's still what society is, remains to be seen.

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