Musk to join Twitter board, says he plans ‘significant improvements’

5 Apr 2022

Elon Musk at a TED interview in 2017. Image: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr (CC by 2.0)

After taking a 9.2pc stake in Twitter, Tesla boss Elon Musk is joining its board.

Elon Musk is joining the board of directors at Twitter and plans to bring “significant improvements” to the social media platform he often criticises.

Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal tweeted the news today (5 April), saying that conversations with Musk in recent weeks had made it “clear to us that he would bring great value to our board”.

Shares in the company jumped 7pc in the immediate aftermath of the announcement. It came after Twitter had its best day of trading since its IPO in 2013, according to CNBC, with shares skyrocketing 27pc yesterday.

This boost followed the news that Musk had bought a 9.2pc stake in the company, making him one of Twitter’s biggest shareholders. The stake is worth $2.89bn based on Twitter’s closing price last Friday.

“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,” tweeted Agrawal, welcoming Musk to the board.

Musk responded to the tweet by saying he looks forward to making “significant improvements” to the platform.

This comes just over a week after he tweeted that “free speech is essential to a functioning democracy” and asked his followers to weigh in on whether Twitter “rigorously adheres to this principle”.

“Given that Twitter serves as the de-facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy,” he added in a follow-up tweet. “What should be done?”

He then asked followers whether a new social media platform was needed, and said he was giving “serious thought” to building one.

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who stepped down as CEO last November, also tweeted his reaction to Musk joining the board, saying the Tesla boss “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,” he wrote.

According to the US Securities and Exchange Commission filing relating to his appointment, Musk will not be permitted to buy more than 14.9pc of Twitter shares as long as he serves on the board.

Musk may be getting ready to make some of the changes he promises, posting a Twitter poll earlier today asking his 80m followers if the platform should introduce an edit button.

Responding to the poll, Agrawal urged people to vote carefully because “the consequences of this poll will be important”.

On 1 April, Twitter’s official account said it was working on an edit feature – it remains to be determined whether that was an April Fools’ Day joke.

Elon Musk at a TED interview in 2017. Image: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr (CC by 2.0)

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic