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Musk, with more than 30 million Twitter followers and a history of stirring controversy with his own tweets, is no stranger to the social-media platform, or its foibles
That’s how Musk responded to Twitter TWTR, +0.09% CEO Jack Dorsey’s question Thursday about how he would fix the social network, with its legions of trolls and bots. Musk TSLA, -0.58% has more than 30 million followers on Twitter, where he has stirred plenty of controversy of his own over the past few years.
Dorsey spoke to Musk via a video call from a company meeting in Houston with Twitter employees watching. “If you were running Twitter — by the way, do you want to run Twitter? — what would you do?” asked Dorsey, who is also CEO of the mobile-payment and merchant-services company Square Inc. SQ, -0.20% .
Musk offered a wordy reply suggesting it would be helpful to differentiate between real, verified users and trolls, or those trying to manipulate the system on behalf of certain interest groups, and bots, which are not legitimate individuals and generally behave on the platform as programmed.
A video of part of the exchange was posted on Twitter:
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>What <a href=”https://twitter.com/elonmusk?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@elonmusk</a> thinks Twitter could be doing better. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/OneTeam?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#OneTeam</a> <a href=”https://t.co/BvAUee7rmn”>pic.twitter.com/BvAUee7rmn</a></p>— Mary Kate (@_maryjordan) <a href=”https://twitter.com/_maryjordan/status/1217939464825311232?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>January 16, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
“I see people trying to manipulate the system, trying to sway public opinion, and sometimes it can be very difficult to figure out what’s real public opinion and what’s not, what are people actually upset about versus manipulation of the system by various interest groups, and there are many such groups,” he said.
Musk was sued for defamation by a British diver whom, in one of his controversial actions on the social platform, he called a “pedo guy” on Twitter in a spat centering on the rescue of a youth football team from a cave in Thailand in 2018.
In 2018, he irked the Securities and Exchange Commission with a tweet suggesting he would take Tesla private at $420 a share with “funding secured,” a message that turned out to be false. Musk was forced to pay a fine of $20 millionand relinquish the chairmanship of Tesla.
Musk has threatened to abandon the Twitter platform more than once, most recently in November. But he has not stayed away for long.