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Elon Musk sets goal for 1 billion daily users at Twitter town hall

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Yahoo Finance tech editor Dan Howley joins the Live show to break down Tesla CEO Elon Musk's goals for managing Twitter as he addresses employees for the first time, the likelihood of layoffs in the EV developer's other companies, and whether the billionaire's leadership meshes with the company cultures of his various ventures.

Video Transcript

SEANA SMITH: Twitter's all-hands meeting with Elon Musk wrapping up a short time ago. He set some big goals and warned of possible layoffs. Dan Howley is here with more on this for us. And Dan, I think employees, many employees are a little bit nervous right now. And those lofty goals, he wants to reach a billion users.

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, I don't know-- I mean, look, he managed to make electric cars cool. So that didn't seem quite possible. He's gotten rockets to shoot up and then land themselves-- didn't seem possible. This may be the most audacious goal that he's ever set, though. A billion users for Twitter. It's been around for years. It's only got 229 million daily active users. They call it daily monetizable active users.

But really, there's not a whole heck of a lot of people using Twitter at this point. And I don't think there ever really will be. It's too opaque. It's complicated. It's basically a cesspool, as it is. But, you know, he also talked about wanting to potentially monetize it more, getting people to pay for their verifications, dealing with bots. He said they should open source the ability to look for bots and those automated accounts. You know, I think that is a great idea. I think it's been brought up before.

We had Jack Dorsey originally saying that he wanted to open source the algorithm that powers Twitter. That makes sense. And I think that's a good idea. But a billion users? The big thing is, he didn't say if he wanted to buy the damn thing. Like, he went to this meeting, and he was just like, this is what I would do if I owned Twitter. Will I own Twitter? I don't know, guys. We'll see.

DAVE BRIGGS: Didn't seem to care about being the CEO, he said. But he left there-- instead of answering a lot of questions, he left employees with more questions, though, didn't he?

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, there's questions about whether or not there will be layoffs. There's questions about if people would still continue to work from home. Remember, Twitter went to, you can work from home wherever you want. Jack Dorsey said you can work from the other side of the planet. And he just didn't seem to mind.

Elon Musk is of the opposite mind where he says that people should work from the office. He said that exceptionally high end workers should be able to work from home occasionally, I guess. I don't know how well Elon Musk is going to mesh with the culture at a company like Twitter. And to be honest, this may be his obsession. It may be the obsession of some people. I think most people in the world don't really give a damn about Twitter. I think it's mostly TikTok and Instagram. Twitter is just an afterthought.

DAVE BRIGGS: Well, I still think it's incredibly influential. Though it is small--


DAVE BRIGGS: --it is very influential, in particular, in what we do in the news media.

SEANA SMITH: I know. We can't avoid it.

DAVE BRIGGS: Elon's a pro at being in the news, who's got another company in the news. And it's also not positive news. What do you know about SpaceX?

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, this is some employees coming forward, basically denouncing Elon Musk for what he's been saying on Twitter, the other company that he wants to get, as well as the accusations of sexual harassment, the settlement that he allegedly put forward with a former flight attendant for SpaceX. And they're essentially saying, look, we don't want to be associated with this kind of behavior. We are proud of this company. We want to be proud of this company. We want that to be known. And we don't want to be a part of whatever Elon Musk is talking about.

It's interesting. He's kind of continued to-- it seems dive more into the political realm in recent days. You know, he said previously that he had voted Republican for the first time. He said he always voted Democrat. And now he's saying that he would vote for Ron DeSantis, who would run if he ran for president. You know, I think that coming from such a CEO of so many companies with so many different cultures, could be problematic, you know? But I also think that he loves attention, as you said. And--

SEANA SMITH: Loves it.

DAN HOWLEY: --this is his platform. So he's going to just continue to use it. By the way, the dude says that he tweets usually from the bathroom. So it's like, he's just sitting there.

SEANA SMITH: And he's using the bathroom many, many times a day if that is the case.

DAN HOWLEY: It's also like, he's just sitting there, having these thoughts by himself.

DAVE BRIGGS: Oh, I can't unsee that.


SEANA SMITH: And now we're going to look at his tweets a little bit differently now. All right, Dan Howley always giving us the information we need. Dan Howley, thanks so much.

DAVE BRIGGS: Some of it, we need. Most of it, we need.

RACHELLE AKUFFO: And leaving us with quite the image burned in our brains now. Thank you very much.