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Elon Musk admits that owning Twitter has been painful

Elon Musk said he bought Twitter because it was the “right thing to do” but admitted that it has been “painful” and “stressful”.

The billionaire also said that the social media company is “roughly breaking even” as advertisers have started to come back.

He made the comments in an interview with the BBC which was broadcast live on Twitter Spaces and attracted more than three million listeners.

When asked if he had any regrets about buying Twitter, Musk said the “pain level has been extremely high, this hasn’t been some kind of party”.

“Were there many mistakes made a long the way? Of course,” he said. “But all’s well that ends well, I feel like we’re headed to a good place.”

Twitter has been hit by a huge decline in advertising since Musk acquired the company for $44 billion in October. Musk had said that was due to the cyclical nature of spending on advertising and some of which was “political” but most of its advertisers have returned.

He said firing thousands of staff was “not fun at all”. There are now 1,500 Twitter staff compared with nearly 8,000 when he bought it.

Concerns over Twitter’s stability have been widespread since the Musk deal.

Musk, 51, also runs Tesla, the electric carmaker, and SpaceX, the rockets and satellites group. He is the world’s second richest person, according to Bloomberg, with a $181 billion fortune largely derived from stakes in the two companies.

When asked if he would sell Twitter if he was offered the price he paid for it, he said no. He then clarified that saying he would but only if he could be sure that the buyer was as committed to telling the truth.

On tweets, he said: “Have I shot myself in the foot with tweets multiple times? Yes. I think I should not tweet after 3am.”

At one stage in the interview, Musk stopped the BBC correspondent James Clayton to remind him that he’s “no longer the CEO of Twitter”. When asked who was, Musk named his pet dog Floki, a Shiba Inu.

He added that Twitter would update the BBC’s “government-funded media” tag after the broadcaster objected to the label attached to the main @BBC account.

Musk said he has the “utmost respect” for the organisation. “We want [the tag] as truthful and accurate as possible — we’re adjusting the label to [the BBC being] publicly funded — we’ll try to be accurate,” he said.

He previously described the BBC as “among the least biased” news organisations.

The broadcaster said in a statement after the label was released: “The BBC is, and always has been, independent. We are funded by the British public through the licence fee.”

On the issue of legacy verified blue ticks on Twitter, Musk said they would be all be removed from accounts by next week.

He admitted he had an “odd” relationship with the media, describing it as “love-hate, perhaps more hate”.

“The media is able to trash me on a regular basis in the US and the UK,” he said, adding that in some countries “the media can’t say mean things about powerful people”. Although he feels that it is good to have a free press, in which he and other “powerful people” can be criticised.

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Elon Musk admits that owning Twitter has been painful

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