Twitter CEO Elon Musk said in an interview that aired Monday that it’s still to be determined whether his acquisition of the social media company last year was “financially smart” given its subsequent drop in value, but maintained that “some things are priceless.”
Speaking to Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who heralded the SpaceX founder’s $44 billion purchase of Twitter last October as a win for free speech, Musk acknowledged his recent $20 billion valuation of the site.
“It remains to be seen as to whether this was financially smart,” Musk said when asked if he thought it was worth the buy. “Currently, it is not. We just revalued the company at less than half of the acquisition price.”
“Sorry,” replied Carlson, whose interview also featured Musk claiming—without evidence—that “various government agencies” could access users’ direct messages before his takeover.
Musk, laughing over the situation, continued: “My timing was terrible for when the offer was made because it was right before advertising plummeted.”
In the few weeks after Musk took charge, dozens of top advertisers fled the site–apparently wary of his leadership–which has seen a slimmed down workforce and content moderation system. Musk has used the platform to push a conspiracy theory about Paul Pelosi, reinstate the accounts of Donald Trump and other right-wingers previously banned for promoting misinformation, and pettily strip The New York Times of its verified badge, among other things. NPR, along with its 52 affiliated accounts, has stopped tweeting after Musk inaccurately designated it “state-affiliated media,” and then later “government-funded,” even though the federal government is the source of 1 percent of NPR’s funding.
“You caught the high water mark, I noticed,” Carlson said of Musk’s purchase.
“Yeah, so I must be a real genius here. My timing is amazing, since I bought it for at least twice as much as it should have been bought for. But some things are priceless,” Musk said. “So whether I’m losing money or not, that is a secondary issue compared to ensuring the strength of democracy. And free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy.”
Musk has shifted stances several times regarding the details of his endeavor. He at one point put in place—and then reversed course on—a ban on posting links to other social media sites like Instagram and Mastodon. Musk also banned—and then reinstated—accounts belonging to journalists whom he claimed doxxed his location, but who denied doing so. And Musk’s initial call for a $20 verification badge ended up being $8.