On Monday, April 4, Elon Musk, the billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, finalized a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter according to a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Musk initially paid $2.64 billion for 73,115,038 Twitter shares, but by Monday night, after news of his purchase sent Twitter’s share price up more than 27 percent, it became worth around $3.7 billion.
As a result of this investment, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal announced Musk’s appointment to the company’s board of directors the next day. The new shareholder will act as a Class II director for a term that will end by the company’s next annual shareholder meeting in 2024. Musk’s public acknowledgment of this news was a simple tweet that said, “Oh hi lol.” Under this tweet, users began asking him to bring certain banned users back to the platform and posted questions about what his future involvement would bring.
According to MarketWatch, Musk’s position as a board member came in “exchange for agreeing not to push his stake in the company to 15 percent or higher.”
CNBC claims that Musk’s stake in Twitter is technically classified as a “passive” stake, meaning it is just below the 10 percent threshold required for someone to be considered an “active” shareholder. Passive shareholders rarely try to assert much influence over a company’s decision-making.
However, it’s clear that Musk has intentions of bringing change to Twitter. On March 25, he tweeted “Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy” and asked Twitter users if they “believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle,” to which 70.4 percent of participants responded “No.” More recently, following the announcement of his appointment, Musk asked users if they wanted an edit button, a feature that users have requested for years. Musk replied to users under the tweet who expressed reasonable ways to introduce the feature to the platform without widespread abuse and misuse.
Then the official Twitter communications team revealed that they had been working on an edit button for the past year. However, the beta version will only be available to Twitter’s subscription service, Twitter Blue.
Since the announcement, Elon Musk has been active on the platform, posting memes about the next board meeting being “lit” and about what could possibly happen in the future. Many social media users believe that this is just another fun endeavor for the wealthiest man in the world. Although, based on Musk’s criticism of the platform and efforts to poll users about their experience, many assume that his intentions may be good. CEO Agrawal tweeted that Musk is “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.” Similarly, Twitter’s former CEO, Jack Dorsey, expressed that “I’m really happy Elon is joining the Twitter board! He cares deeply about our world and Twitter’s role in it. Parag and Elon both lead with their hearts, and they will be an incredible team.”
For the next two years, people will be watching Elon Musk’s every move … and tweet.
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