Elon Musk wants 1 billion Twitter users, aims to replicate China's 'WeChat' model

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Musk expected to address Twitter deal, remote work in staff town hall

FOX Business’ Kelly O’Grady reports on the potential ‘fractious’ Twitter town hall hosted by Elon Musk on Thursday.

Elon Musk spoke at an all-hands employee meeting and reiterated his plans for Twitter should he complete his purchase of the company, including an ambitious expansion of the user base and belt-tightening on corporate culture. 

"Some people use their hair to express themselves," Musk told the rough 7,500 employees. "I use Twitter." 

The richest man in the world planned to buy Twitter for $44 billion in a deal that would close this year but stalled out after he requested data on Twitter’s bot user data. He still wanted to press ahead with making known the kind of plans he had for the company, including the corporate culture and what he considers benchmarks for success as a platform. 

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Elon Musk attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” exhibition on May 2 in New York. On Monday, SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell defended Musk against sexual misconduct allegations alleged by a flight attendant. | AP Newsroom

Musk showed up 10 minutes late to his first meeting to address Twitter employees. He dialed in from his phone and addressed a number of different points, Alex Heath of Verge reported. 

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Most of Musk’s points – mostly the remote work situation, concerns over layoffs and the lack of hands-on moderation – reportedly worried employees.  

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Musk pointed to Chinese app WeChat as the model he planned to use for Twitter, noting that people in China "basically live on WeChat." 

WeChat functions as an all-encompassing platform, with messaging, calling, payment and other functions that have heavily centralized its use in China. WeChat has over 1.2 billion monthly active users, with 78% of people in China aged 16-64 are using the platform, according to marketing company 99Firms. 

"If we can recreate that with Twitter, we’ll be a great success," he said. 

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Before taking questions, Musk informed employees that he wanted to see one billion users on the platform – a target that might take a decade to achieve at the earliest. 

One way he believes that the platform can achieve this goal is to take a more hands-off approach to content moderation, saying the platform should enable users to "say what they want." 

The meeting was not entirely positive: Musk addressed growing concerns over layoffs in an industry that has started to see hiring freezes at some of the biggest companies. 

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Musk admitted that he thinks the company "does need to get healthy" as currently "costs exceed the revenue," a source told CNBC. 

He assured the employees that "anyone who is a significant contributor has nothing to worry about," but acknowledge that "if they’re not, then I’m like, why are they at the company?" 

The Tesla founder famously told employees at the electric car manufacturer that employees needed to work in offices 40 hours a week or resign, saying "you can’t make cars remotely." 

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He did not share any policy on remote work for Twitter. He supposedly is fine with "exceptional" employees working remotely, but his bias remains strongly that people must work in offices, according to The Verge. 

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