Elon Musk says 'many mistakes' made since Twitter takeover

Elon Musk attends the opening ceremony of the new Tesla Gigafactory for electric cars in Gruenheide, Germany, 22 March, 2022.Reuters

Twitter boss Elon Musk said running the social media network has been "quite a rollercoaster" and acknowledged "many mistakes" along the way, six months after he bought the company for $44 billion.

In a live interview with the BBC after agreeing to a last-minute invitation for the "spontaneity" of it, Musk appeared to tacitly acknowledge that one of those errors was the decision to label the broadcaster's account "government-funded media".

He said he would change the designation on the BBC's Twitter handle after the broadcaster objected.

"We want it as truthful and accurate as possible -- we're adjusting the label to 'publicly funded'," Musk said.

Britain's national broadcaster is predominantly funded by an annual license fee set by the government but paid by individual households.

The labeling spat follows an earlier controversy over a similar move involving US radio network NPR, which Twitter briefly branded "state-affiliated", the same way it styles government-run Chinese and Russian platforms.

NPR stopped tweeting in protest.

Twitter now tags NPR, which has nearly 9 million followers, "government-funded media", and applied the same label to the BBC's account.

Musk has expressed deep disdain for news media for years and recently installed an automatic response of a poop emoji to emails sent to the site's main media address.

Speaking with the BBC late on Tuesday, he also addressed Twitter's controversial move to strip the New York Times of its blue verified check mark after the company refused to pay to keep it.

From 20 April, any legacy verified accounts on Twitter -- which were verified as authentic under the company's old ownership -- will have to pay to subscribe to Twitter Blue.

One of the reasons for this, Musk said, was that he does not want Twitter to boost "some anointed class of journalists" who determine what constitutes news.

"I'm hopeful that this can be more a case of the public choosing the narrative, as opposed to the media choosing the narrative," he said.

Twitter, he said, would "treat everyone equally".

Musk, in assessing his time in charge of the social media network since he took over in October, said it had been "a stressful situation over the last several months".

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

He said the company was now "roughly breaking even" with the return of advertisers.

When pushed on who was Twitter's new CEO after he stepped down in response to a poll on the site, he named his dog, Floki.