ANKARA – Billionaire Elon Musk said he wants Twitter to reach 1 billion users but hinted at layoffs in his first meeting with company employees ahead of his USD44 billion purchase deal.

Musk said Twitter should ensure users are "entertained and informed" while using the platform when he was asked about how the company can grow during a 45-minute meeting Thursday.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO said he wants Twitter to become more like WeChat -- the Chinese super app that includes instant messaging, social media, mobile payment, games and ride-hailing with more than 1 billion users.

He complimented Chinese short-video hosting service TikTok’s algorithm, calling it "not boring" and said Twitter could be interesting in the same way.

On the financial side, Musk reiterated his demand for paid subscriptions, arguing that users should be charged to keep informed and be verified.

Noting that he is very involved in every process of Tesla as a CEO, Musk said he would undertake a similar role with Twitter.

The billionaire also stressed the importance of cracking down on bots and spam on the platform -- an issue he raised in May that almost derailed the deal when he said he estimates at least 20 percent of all Twitter accounts could be fake or spam accounts, which is four times what Twitter claims of being less than 5 percent.

If the deal is approved, Musk said there could be major changes to the company, from financial discipline to cost-cutting, and he hinted job cuts are on the table.

Current CEO Parag Agrawal told staff earlier that layoffs were not planned for the company that has more than 7,000 employees, of which around a quarter work remotely.

Musk said the staff it is better if they are physically in the office but noted that employees with special exceptions may work from home. (Anadolu)