Gist: Twitter Founder Reject $500Million Facebook Bid

In the early days of Twitter, founder Biz Stone says he turned down a huge offer from Mark Zuckerberg. It is now worth $23billion.

Twitter founder Biz Stone has told how he turned down a $500m (£290m) offer from Facebook to buy the firm – and watched as its value later soared to billions.

He told the story of how he and co-founder Evan Williams travelled to a meeting with Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg several years ago.

Neither really wanted to sell the company, he said, so they decided to come up with a number “so big”, that “no-one would ever say yes to it”.

He said they came up with $500m, and “laughed so hard at that”. But despite Mr Zuckerberg saying it was a “big number”, an offer was drawn-up later that day.

The pair turned it down, saying they felt like they were “just getting started” with the business. He added that he did not get on with the Facebook founder. “I like him, and I respect him, it’s just that we didn’t click,”

“I’m a jokey guy and he’s a very serious guy so every joke I made – it was a tough crowd.”

He also commented on the use of Twitter by extremists in Iraq and beyond, saying he still believed the social network was a tool for good rather than evil.

“When you create a large-scale platform where hundreds of millions of people have freedom of expression, you have to take the good with the bad.”

“If you’re going to tout the fact you’re encouraging free speech then you can’t curate it. As soon as you do that you lose the trust.”

He also said the growth of Twitter into a $23bn (£13.5bn) company feels “strange”.

“I’ve come to terms with it but I wouldn’t call it surprised – it feels strange in a good way to go to the shopping mall and see the little bird I drew,” he said.

“It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were just a rag tag group of guys.”

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