The social media coup continues after Elon Musk, who bought billions in Twitter stock and became its largest shareholder, entered an agreement to join the social media company’s board of directors.
According to an SEC filing revealed Tuesday morning, Musk entered into the agreement where “The Company will appoint Mr. Musk to the Company’s Board of Directors (the ‘Board’) to serve as a Class II director with a term expiring at the Company’s 2024 Annual Meeting of Stockholders.” It also states that Musk, as long as he’s on the board, will not “become the beneficial owner of more than 14.9% of the Company’s common stock outstanding at such time, including for these purposes economic exposure through derivative securities, swaps, or hedging transactions.”
The moves into social media come days after Musk threatened in a Twitter post on his account to leave and start his own media company.
Is a new platform needed?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 26, 2022
Musk also took the opportunity yesterday to poll his followers on whether or not they believe the site should include an edit button for users to correct or amend their tweets. Musk, who has more than 80 million followers, is both a prolific user and fierce critic of the social media site.
My colleague, Brandon Morse, explained yesterday that Musk has taken the fight for free speech in the public square very seriously.
The move had been teased with Musk making the statement that “Free speech is essential to a functioning Democracy,” followed by questions about what should be done about Twitter, the “de facto public town square.” Musk, as he tends to do, made a move that changes everything not long after.
The question now is: What will Musk change and how will that change us?
Firstly, we need to focus on something that another famous man once said. The comedian Dave Chappelle commented that he was being mobbed by transgender activists on Twitter after being accused of being “transphobic.” He commented that he didn’t care, because Twitter isn’t a real place, and he’s right.
It doesn’t mean it can’t be.
Musk appears to be taking the fight over speech in the public square quite differently than conservative critics of the site have. Efforts to create new Twitter-like spheres (such as Gab, Parler, Gettr, and Truth Social) have met with some success but tend to be conservative echo chambers rather than spheres of actual discussion or debate. By taking the fight all the way up to Twitter’s Board of Directors, Musk could very well be approaching this as an opportunity to try to enact very real changes at the site.