New Twitter owner and CEO Elon Musk “doesn’t seem like” the right person to own the company, Twitter’s co-founder Biz Stone told The Guardian in an interview published Friday.
Stone was one of four men who founded Twitter in 2006 alongside Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams and Noah Glass. Stone left Twitter in 2011, returned in 2017, and then ultimately left the company for good in 2021. And when pressed by the Guardian on whether Musk was the right owner for Twitter, Stone said, “It doesn’t seem like it right now, but I could be wrong.”
He told the Guardian that running Twitter or any social media company is “not really a win-win situation,” of course. “It’s always tough,” he continued, because, “50% of the people are gonna be happy, 50% of people are gonna be upset with you.” In other words, no Twitter CEO is ever going to be able to please everybody.
“You have to be OK with stuff that you just don’t like or don’t agree with being on there,” said Stone. “Otherwise, you should just go buy a magazine or a newspaper or something where it’s OK to have a specific leaning.”
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But while noting Musk, who is also the CEO of Tesla TSLA and SpaceX, is in a tough spot, Stone still had some criticism for the self-described “Chief Twit’s” first few months on the job after purchasing Twitter for $44 billion last year. He pointed to some of the changes Musk has made surrounding content moderation, as well as killing company morale after cutting about half of Twitter’s staff as steps backwards.
“We made a lot of improvements in those areas,” Stone said, “and that’s all gone now.”
What’s more, Stone called out Musk sharing employees’s names while releasing the so-called “Twitter files” last fall, which included internal company documents featuring discussions around the decisions such as how to handle the Hunter Biden laptop story.
(Dorsey also criticized the “Twitter files” drop.)
“When that happens, people get a lot of harassment,” said Stone. “It’s really bad.”
Indeed, Musk’s Twitter takeover has been controversial. He dissolved Twitter’s trust and safety council, and said he would form a “content moderation council” to help make major decisions, but later changed his mind.
Musk also has taken severe cost-cutting measures since his acquisition. He has continued to slash Twitter’s workforce, has fallen behind of rent obligations in London and San Francisco, and recently began auctioning off some of Twitter’s office items including furniture, kitchen equipment and a giant neon Twitter bird.
“I don’t know the future. I don’t know what’s gonna happen and maybe things will be great in a year and [it] had to go through this trial by fire,” Stone said. “But, right now it does not look good, I would say.”
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In addition to his work at Twitter, Stone has been an investor in several companies, including Block
(formerly Square), Medium, Beyond Meat
and the Salesforce-owned
Slack, according to TechCrunch.
The new comments come the same week that Musk went to Washington D.C. to meet with politicians including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, to talk about Twitter.