Twitter won't make 'sacrifices' required to be in China: CEO

Talking to The Wall Street Journal, Dick Costolo addressed Twitter's ideal growth, why the company bought Vine, and the service's learning curve. But he wouldn't say when or if there will be an IPO.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, appearing last year on "Charlie Rose." Screenshot by CNET

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said that the social-networking giant won't "make the kind of sacrifices" necessary to be allowed to work in China and Iran.

In an interview with the The Wall Street Journal published today, Costolo addressed the question of whether Twitter would like to be available in China and Iran by replying that the company is not willing to filter out the kind of politically sensitive material that government officials in those two countries would require in order to be allowed to function there.

Costolo also said a Twitter IPO is "not necessarily inevitable" and that he and his executive team and employees want to build "one of the lasting, remarkable companies."

In the Q&A, Costolo also responded to a question about whether it matters if Twitter has less users than Facebook or YouTube by noting that the company is seeking to build a service that grows to "human scale, global scale." Added Costolo, "That's a billion users, not where we are today. We're the size that 99.9 percent of the other companies would like to be, but we believe Twitter is valuable to everybody on the planet."

Then again, Costolo also admitted that some people may not dive in to Twitter -- and may in fact abandon the service after trying it out -- because "you have to invest, frankly, too much to get that 'aha' moment." He then added that Twitter is focusing on putting out weekly digest e-mails targeted at casual users. "It's a great way for people to start realizing, 'that's amazing and I need to be checking in more frequently,'" Costolo told the Journal.

The interview covered a number of other topics, including why Twitter bought Vine , a service with an app that lets users take and share videos of up to six seconds. Costolo responded:

When Facebook bought Instagram [after Twitter had sought to buy it], I said we're not going do what those other guys did. We're looking for the next thing. The Vine guys showed Vine to Jack [Dorsey, Twitter's co-founder], and he called me and said, 'you gotta see this.' We all agreed that this is the next thing down the road. It's hyperconstrained publishing. It's going to force people to be creative and foster this new art form of 'how can I tell this story in six seconds?'
 

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