Twitter CEO Elon Musk has opened up about running the social-media platform and about his relationship with the media in a new television interview with the BBC.
- Elon Musk took an unexpected interview on Tuesday with BBC journalist James Clayton.
- Musk reflected on six months as the owner of Twitter and how the media has responded to his decisions and actions.
- He says that the experience has been “painful,” “rough,” and “hurtful” and that being constantly attacked and criticized is a difficult way to live. “It’s not like I have a stone-cold heart or anything.”
- In the past week, NPR and PBS, both news services that are partially funded by the federal government, left the social-media giant after Musk gave the former a “state-affiliated media” label. Twitter also removed legacy verification from The New York Times.
- Musk also revealed that he voted for President Joe Biden in 2020 and that his team is fighting disinformation and bot accounts.
Why It’s News
The interview reflected Musk’s generally hostile relationship with the media. The most viral clip of the interaction was of Musk calling the BBC’s Clayton a liar for making an accusation that Twitter was spreading hate without having evidence to back it up. “You claimed that hateful content is high. That is false, you just lied,” says Musk. This followed Musk setting Twitter’s public relations email to respond automatically with poop emojis to press requests.
“It is somewhat of a love-hate relationship although it might be [going] a little more toward the hate. This is part and parcel of having a free-media situation. I do take heart in that the media is actually able to trash me on a regular basis in the U.S. and the U.K. and whatnot. Whereas in many places, the media cannot say mean things to powerful people. But I think it’s better that we have a situation where the media can say mean things to powerful people,” says Musk.
Musk affirmed that having a good feedback loop is important for a leading figure and that negative feedback is important. He says he does not turn off replies or block people, and that his personal Twitter feed is filled with negative feedback. However, he does not appreciate “non-stop stories about why you’re a horrible person” from the media.
Backing Up A Bit
Since Elon Musk took over Twitter in October 2022, he has rolled out ambitious plans for the social-media network. The $44 billion purchase marked a significant loss for the entrepreneur—and the early months after the acquisition faced hardship. The company fired the majority of its staff within the first month, lost billions of dollars in advertising, and was highly scrutinized by the media.
Musk also earned a reputation for erratic behavior via his tendency to share memes from his main account and pick fights with prominent politicians. His behavior has also earned him the scrutiny of Tesla investors and NASA administrators, who fear his too distracted to meet his deadlines.