OAN Roy Francis
UPDATED 9:02 AM – Tuesday, April 18, 2023
During an exclusive interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday, Musk made the revelation that the United States, along with foreign government agencies, were all granted “full access” to private direct messages of citizens prior to him buying the platform.
While speaking with Carlson, Musk said that he was shocked when he found out about the full reach of the government, and how they were given full access to private information.
“The degree to which government agencies effectively had full access to everything that was going on on Twitter blew my mind,” Musk said. “I was not aware of that.”
“Would that include people’s DMs?” Carlson asked Musk.
“Yes,” Musk replied to Carlson.
The Twitter CEO went on to say that he is directing the company to create a feature which would allow users of the social media platform to encrypt messages that they are sending, so no one would have access to them and their privacy is secure.
According to Musk, when users select to encrypt their messages, then no one, not even Twitter employees, would be able to see them. He also expressed his hopes that the new feature will be available to the public later in April.
“No one at Twitter can see what you’re talking about,” he explained, “You could put a gun to my head and I couldn’t tell you. That’s how it should be.”
The billionaire said during the interview that he has already received “indirect complaints” from several agencies about the new feature and the “crackdown” about privacy.
“If I got something that was unconstitutional from the U.S. government, my reply would be to send them a copy of the First Amendment and just say, ‘What part of this are we getting wrong?’” he said.
The tech mogul explained that prior to purchasing Twitter, he had no idea about how the platform had become “a magnet for intelligence agencies” but was slowly becoming “uneasy” while using it, which is one of the reasons that led to him to purchase the social media platform.
“I started to get more and more uneasy about the Twitter situation. I started to feel like something feels wrong…I couldn’t place it exactly,” he said. “Just, it felt like it was drifting in a bad direction and my conversations with the board and management seemed to confirm my intuition about that, basically. But I was convinced these guys do not care about fixing Twitter and I had a bad feeling about where it was headed based on the conversations I had with them. So then I was like, you know what, I’ll try acquiring it and see if acquiring it is possible.”
Musk has made it a goal of his to discover and expose the previous cooperation between the different government agencies and Twitter, which included efforts to moderate contents, spy on users, and to prevent certain users from utilizing the service.
His goal of exposing the actions of the previous administrators and the truth led him to working with several reporters, such as Matt Taibbi, to release the Twitter Files.
The Twitter Files had exposed the actions that were being taken by Twitter administrators who were working with several government agencies to moderate content about COVID-19, suspend 45th President Donald Trump from the platform, as well censoring the Hunter Biden Laptop story.
During the interview, he also said that people should never fully trust anything on the internet, but he hopes that Twitter will be the “least untrustworthy” source moving forward, and he is making efforts towards making that a reality.
Musk had become CEO after buying the company in October, to the protest of most Democrats and many on the left, including the majority of the company’s staff members.
Since he has become owner, the number of employees at Twitter has dropped to around 20% of its original amount.
“I think we’re about 20% of the original size,” Musk said.
“So 80% left?” Carlson asked him.
“Yes,” Musk replied, also stating that “a lot people voluntarily left.”
The Twitter CEO then explained that the reason Twitter is still running, and running better according to him, is because he is not running “some sort of glorified activist organization” and that censorship is no longer a matter of importance at Twitter.
“I mean, If you’re not trying to run some sort of glorified activist organization with–and you don’t care that much about censorship, then you can really let go of a lot of people, it turns out,” Musk said. “But I think we just had a situation at Twitter where it was absurdly overstaffed. What does it really take to operate Twitter? You know, most of what we’re talking about here is a group text at scale. Like, how many people are really needed for that?”
Part two of Elon Musk’s exclusive interview with Tucker Carlson will be released Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. ET.
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