Elon Musk says his offer to buy Twitter is about ‘the future of civilization’, not about making money

Musk said the proposed deal is not about the economy Twitter (TVTR) business, but also about ensuring that Twitter remains a credible platform for democracy — describing its vision in characteristically broad terms.

“This is not a way to make money,” Musk told TED chair Chris Anderson. “My strong intuition is that having a public platform that is as trustworthy and broadly inclusive as possible is extremely important for the future of civilization.”

The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX spoke out against what he saw as Twitter’s lack of free speech and said Twitter should open source its algorithm to increase transparency of the company’s content moderation decisions. This will reflect a major change in how Twitter works.

“The code needs to be on Github so people can look at it and say, ‘I see a problem here,’ ‘I don’t agree with this,’ they can highlight issues, suggest changes,” Musk said.

Asked how he would change content moderation on Twitter, Musk explained that his test of the platform’s compliance with free speech principles is simple: “Is someone you don’t like allowed to say something you don’t like? And if that’s the case, then we have freedom of speech.”

Musk mused that if the tweet was particularly controversial, maybe the company shouldn’t promote the tweet, but added, “I think we want to be very reluctant to take things down and just be very careful about permanent bans; timeouts are better.”

Musk admitted that even if he bought the company, there would still be mistakes.

“I think they will still blame me for everything,” he said. “If I buy Twitter and something goes wrong, it’s my fault, 100%. I think there will be quite a few mistakes.”

Asked if he had a back-up plan in case his bid to buy Twitter fell through, Musk said he had “various” ideas. But he shyly declined to go into details, saying that this should wait “until another time.”

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