Elon Musk has landed in court several times for his tweets. Unsurprisingly, he has some thoughts about Twitter.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey casually called Musk at an employee conference Thursday and asked his fellow tech titan for any feedback.
“If you were running Twitter, what would you do?” Dorsey asked. Musk, who has 30 million Twitter followers, said it “would be helpful to differentiate” between real users and bots or a “troll army.”
“How do you tell if the feedback is real or someone trying to manipulate the system,” Musk added. “So, some way to try to differentiate a real person or someone just trying to game the system.”
Twitter declined to comment. But Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of site integrity, thanked Musk for his feedback and pointed him toward Twitter’s policies.
The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX has a point: Twitter is overrun with bots and has struggled to stamp out disinformation campaigns, malicious behavior and spam. It has put in place a series of measures to limit the activity including limiting the amount of accounts people can follow and measuring “behavioral signals” to keep conversations and search results on topic.
Dorsey has also publicly commented on making Twitter a better place. He previously told CNN that his team is “ready to question everything” about how Twitter operates. Some measures appear to be working: Twitter said last year that spammy and suspicious behavior fell nearly 20%.
But sometimes the toxicity comes from Twitter users like Musk. Last year, he was taken to court for calling British caver Vernon Unsworth a “pedo guy” on Twitter. Unsworth had helped rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded Thai cave last year. He sued Musk over the twitter, but a court found that Musk didn’t defame him.
Musk has also harmed his car company with his tweets. He once randomly tweeted that he would take Tesla private at $420 a share. His tweets landed Musk in hot water with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as with investors. The SEC found Musk’s tweets had misled shareholders: He never actually secured the funding to take the company private.
Musk paid the regulator $20 million in a settlement fee in October 2018, and he agreed to give up his position as chairman of the company.