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Mia Sato

Mia Sato

Platforms & Communities Reporter, The Verge

Mia Sato is a reporter at The Verge covering tech companies, platforms, and users. Since joining The Verge in 2021, she’s reported on the war in Ukraine and the spread of propaganda on TikTok; Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter; and how tech platforms and digital publishers are using artificial intelligence tools.

Sato has written about tech platforms and communities since 2019. Before joining Vox Media she was a reporter at MIT Technology Review, where she covered the intersection of technology and the coronavirus pandemic. Prior to that she served as the audience engagement editor at The Markup. As a freelance reporter, she’s written about the subversive Hmong radio shows hosted on conference call software, online knitting activism, and the teens running businesses in Instagram comment sections. Her work has appeared in outlets like The New Republic, The Appeal, and Chicago Magazine. She is based in Brooklyn.

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More than an hour and a half later, that’s a wrap.

Musk’s portion has ended, the phones came out for pictures, and DealBook has come to a close. Thanks for tuning in.

No mention of X suing Media Matters.

We’re nearing the end of this interview, but Sorkin hasn’t yet asked Musk about X’s lawsuit against Media Matters, which reported that ads were appearing next to Nazi content.

Sorkin asked about X’s throttling of his employer.

This came right in the middle of a discussion around “free speech” on X. Over the summer, Times links on X took longer to load — Musk didn’t directly answer Sorkin’s question on whether he made a choice to punish the Times.

His response: “Free speech is not exactly free. It costs a little bit.” He referenced the Times not being a paying X user.

There’s a noticeable difference between this interview and others today.

Sorkin is interjecting and pushing back less, the discussion is meandering, and we’re about 30 minutes over schedule. I’ve lost count of the number of times Sorkin has said, “let me ask you a different question” in order to pivot to something else.

Musk on the OpenAI meltdown.

Musk says he hasn’t found anyone who knows why Sam Altman was ousted (and eventually brought back) — but believes a recent AI breakthrough could have caused the power struggle. A recent report suggested that OpenAI may have made progress towards AGI.

Behind Musk and Sorkin, balloons read “Let Gaza live.”

The DealBook stage sits in front of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Manhattan. The balloon letters are floating in and out of view behind the background screen outside. It’s unclear who’s behind them.

The Musk interview has taken a turn.

In a strange turn, we’re now watching Sorkin and Musk talk about the interior “storm” in Musk’s mind.

“Is it a happy storm?” No, says Musk. I’m not sure how we got here.

“Go fuck yourself.”

That’s Musk’s on-stage message to advertisers who he says are “blackmailing” him — i.e. the companies like Disney, Apple, IBM, and many more that are pulling ads from the platform after his antisemitic posts.

The first question is about Musk’s recent antisemitic posts on X.

“[The trip to Israel] wasn’t in response to that at all,” Musk says of his post — it wasn’t an “apology tour.”

“I have no problem being hated.”

Musk tells Sorkin the only reason he’s here is because he’s a friend. Musk keeps laughing. The vibe is chaotic.

We’re waiting on Elon Musk.

The room here at DealBook is packed for the last session of the day — and perhaps the most anticipated one. Nobody has come up in more sessions throughout the day than Musk. X CEO Linda Yaccarino is here, too.