The world of social media has been launched into its own little saga. Ever since one of the richest men in the world revealed a somewhat cryptic suggestion, there has been a whirlwind of discussion surrounding the future of Twitter. Would there be competition?
In a recent tweet, Elon Musk questioned how viable the popular social media platform was as a platform for free speech. Musk insisted that Twitter has matured into what amounts to a sort of “town hall.” Any perceived censorship of free speech would be detrimental to democracy.
Some believed Musk was kicking the wheels of change into gear. Now it appears that is exactly what was happening. Speculation started after an initial tweet. Musk wrote, “Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy.”
This proclamation sent the social media world into a speculative tailspin. As he frequently does, the SpaceX founder completed his tweet with a question. “What should be done? Is a new platform needed?” Musk asked his followers.
Immediately, talk about a new social media platform, one with Musk in a leadership role, exploded. But at the same time, others were wondering why he couldn’t use his wealth and influence to simply alter the direction of Twitter by buying it.
With a massive stock purchase followed by an appointment to Twitter’s board of directors, it seems those who called for such a move had the right idea. There isn’t going to be a new social media platform, at least not one launched by Musk, immediately challenging the status quo.
But there are going to be refreshing new ideas for muffled conservative voices. In between these recent Twitter revelations, it was reported that Musk was reaching out to individuals and entities that had been suspended or canceled by the popular social media giant.
Evidently, Musk spoke with the CEO of the Babylon Bee, Seth Dillon. According to reports, Musk mentioned an outright purchase of Twitter during these conversations. There is no actual proof of this being true, but the signals are growing more ominous.
Soon after Musk posted his inquisitive tweets, he absorbed nearly $3 billion in Twitter stock. This massive purchase made him the largest shareholder in the company. According to SEC records, this places Musk’s Twitter ownership at about 10 percent.
That’s where a deal to make Musk a member of Twitter’s Board of Directors comes into play. According to the proposed agreement, as a member of the board, there would be an agreement that he would not be permitted to own more than 14.9 percent of the company.
This would put a cap on his financial control, which would prevent Musk from exercising an outright takeover. We’re curious how this current deal is going to play out. Elon Musk doesn’t do many things that do not have the solid potential to be financially lucrative.
Certainly, his seat on the board of directors would be instrumental in helping to push for necessary changes to Twitter’s nefarious tendency to censor conservatives. However, it would fall just short of allowing Musk to transform the social media platform completely.
But the wording of the board of directors’ offer presents Musk with a possible loophole. The ownership restrictions only apply while he sits on the board and for 90 days afterward. That’s a lot of wiggle room to strategize a plan to assume majority control.
As we said, this man doesn’t do many things without a predetermined plan in place. His latest tweet, proclaiming that he was “looking forward to working with Parag & Twitter board to make significant improvements to Twitter in coming months,” could be authentic.
However, it could be a tactical diversion as well. Things might end with the wealthy entrepreneur simply putting himself in a position to help orchestrate internal changes to the social media platform. Nevertheless, we think there’s going to be more to this ongoing saga.
Don’t be surprised if, as the Twitter and Elon Musk drama unfolds, there are many more surprising twists. We cannot imagine a man who’s experienced such financial success allowing others to control the direction of a multi-billion dollar investment. The Elon Musk – Twitter saga is far from over. Stay tuned, free speech and Twitter fans.
And as quickly as he came, he departed. After being appointed to the board of directors, he left.
“Elon Musk has decided not to join our board,” Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal said in a statement. “The Board and I had many discussions about Elon joining the board, and with Elon directly. We were excited to collaborate and clear about the risks. We also believed that having Elon as a fiduciary of the company where he, like all board members, has to act in the best interests of the company and all our shareholders, was the best path forward. The board offered him a seat.”
“We announced on Tuesday that Elon would be appointed to the Board contingent on a background check and formal acceptance,” Agrawal continued. “Elon’s appointment to the board was to become officially effective 4/9, but Elon shared that same morning that he will no longer be joining the board. I believe this is for the best. We have and will always value input from our shareholders whether they are on our Board or not. Elon is our biggest shareholder and we will remain open to his input.”