WGS 2023 in Dubai: Elon Musk announces Twitter will hire new CEO by end of year

He rocked Twitterverse in October 2022 as he took the position of 'chief twit' after a tumultuous takeover saga

by

Nasreen Abdulla

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Reuters file photo
Reuters file photo

Published: Wed 15 Feb 2023, 9:40 AM

Last updated: Wed 15 Feb 2023, 12:48 PM

Elon Musk on Wednesday announced that Twitter will have a new CEO by the end of the year, while admitting that running the social media platform “has been a rollercoaster”.

“I think I need to stabilise the organisation and make sure that it is financially in a healthy place,” he said. “The product road [must] be clearly laid out. So I am guessing towards the end of this year might be good timing to find someone else to run the company.”

Musk, who joined virtually on day 3 of the World Government Summit (WGS), was in conversation with Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs of the UAE.

Earlier today, Musk tweeted saying “The new CEO of Twitter is amazing”. It was accompanied by a photo of his Shiba Inu pet dog named Floki seated on the CEO's chair wearing a Twitter-branded black T-shirt with CEO written on it. The tweet has racked up over 18 million views in just 4 hours and had Twiteratti in splits.

Chatting candidly about the range of topics — including social media limits for his children, education and the dangers of AI — Musk talked about his vision for an everything app.

X.com

Speaking about his long-term vision for Twitter, he said he has a plan for an app titled x.com which would be a like a one-stop shop for all things digital.

“It does payments, provides financial services, provides information flow, secure communication and anything digital,” he said. “It will be as useful as possible and as entertaining as possible. [It will] also be a source of truth to find out what is really going on. So it will be a source of truth and a maximally useful system. Twitter is essentially an accelerant to that maximally useful everything app.”

During a question-and-answer session with Twitter employees in June last year, Musk had noted there is no equivalent to a super app like the Chinese app WeChat outside of Asia. "You basically live on WeChat in China," he said, adding he saw an opportunity to create such an app. He had also said that he wanted the Twitter to grow from its 237 million users to "at least a billion."

Decision to take over Twitter

Musk said he was worried about the impact of social media, especially of Twitter on the world.

“I thought it was very important for it to be a maximally trusted digital public square where people could communicate with the least amount of censorship allowed by law,” he said. “I think in general social media companies should adhere to the laws of countries and not try to put a thumb on the scale beyond the laws of countries.”

He said he thought it was important for a social media company like Twitter to reflect the values of people and not try to enforce the values of San Francisco and Berkeley which he says “are somewhat of a niche ideology compared to the rest of the world”.

He also admitted that he considered the idea of starting his own social media platform from scratch but decided against it because “Twitter would perhaps accelerate progress verses starting something from scratch by around five years.”

During the session, Musk also advised government officials and leaders to speak in their own voices on Twitter. “I think its important speak in their own voices rather than how they think they should speak,” he said. “Sometimes people think I should speak in a way that is expected of me but it ends up sounding stiff and not real. I would encourage CEOs and legislators and ministers to speak authentically.”

He also said that verified Twitter accounts would make people behave in a more responsible manner on the social media platform. “It is a sort of an identity layer on the internet,” he said. “Once you have this interlocking identities, it is very hard to deceptive. Also you have a reputation to protect. Then people are far more measured in their response.”

Back in October 2022, he shook the Twitterverse as he took the position of 'chief twit' after a tumultuous takeover saga. Among his first acts — besides bringing a porcelain sink into the headquarters — was the reported firing of CEO Parag Agrawal and other senior executives.

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