Elon Musk just got a seat on Twitter's board, says social media CEO

Somehow it felt inevitable.
Brad Bergan
Elon Musk with his arms raised in bliss (left), and a Twitter logo (right).1, 2

If you know anything about Elon Musk, you learned about it on Twitter.

But now he'll have a say in what and how you learn about anything on what he's dubbed the "de facto public town square," since Musk officially became part of Twitter's board of directors in a one-two punch of tweets that are quickly becoming a historic move of epic proportions for the social media juggernaut, according to a statement from Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal.

"Through conversations with Elon in recent weeks, it became clear to us that he would bring great value to our Board," tweeted Agrawal Tuesday morning.

"He's both a passionate believer and intense critic of the service which is exactly what we need on Twitter, and in the boardroom, to make us stronger in the long-term," added Agrawal.

Elon Musk replied to the Twitter CEO with what could be viewed as the most uncharacteristically professional tweet in years, saying: "Looking forward to working with Parag & Twitter board to make significant improvements to Twitter in coming months!"

Take heed, dear reader: this is going to change everything.

Elon Musk holds the biggest single share of Twitter

Twitter's former chief Jack Dorsey lauded the decision by the company, tweeting that Musk "cares deeply about our world and Twitter's role in it."

But this isn't a permanent position. The space baron's term is slated to expire in 2024, according to the SEC filing on the subject. Additionally, during Musk's term of service on the board, he isn't allowed to own more than 14.9 percent of Twitter's common stock.

This came on the heels of a high-tide mark in Musk's periodic criticism of the social media firm. The SpaceX CEO posted a poll on Twitter in March that asked whether the social media site really holds itself to free speech principles. He then said that he was thinking about building his own social media platform.

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But then he bought an unspeakably Earth-shaking $3-billion share of Twitter on March 14, representing 9.2 percent of the company — making Musk the largest single owner of stock in the social media company. Technically, this was 73,468,938 shares of the social media superpower, according to an SEC filing.

This is four times the number of shares owned by Twitter's former chief, Jack Dorsey, who sits at 2.25 percent.

Should a tech billionaire set the rules of public discourse on Twitter?

Despite being the largest single stake among shareholders, Elon Musk's is still only a passive interest, which implied that Musk can't directly control or have an outsized influence on the firm. But, reality check: Musk wouldn't get involved with Twitter if he didn't want changes to happen. After his big stake unveiling on Monday, the firm's stock surged by 27 percent — its most successful day since the IPO, according to CNBC.

Mere hours in the wake of Musk's new holdings announcement, the Tesla CEO tweeted a poll to his followers on potential interest in an "edit" button added to the platform. Twitter CEO Agrawal retweeted Musk's post, emphasizing a need for users to "vote carefully", because the results "will be important." At the presumed conclusion of a global pandemic, amid global conflict, sanctions, geopolitical tensions, and shifting centers of power, it might be time for the United States and other western powers to revamp the way we do public discourse. Whether a tech billionaire is the right kind of person for that remains to be seen.

This was breaking news about the billionaire, space baron, and CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Elon Musk becoming a board member of Twitter dot com, and was regularly updated as new information became available.

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