Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, has declined to join the board of Twitter after hinting that he may join over the weekend. A representative of Twitter released a letter to internal employees explaining the decision. The board did not refuse Musk’s membership nor did Twitter itself. Twitter says they had detailed discussions with the Tesla founder about joining the board over a certain period of time. Musk ultimately made what appears to be a zero-hour decision to decline membership on Twitter’s board.
This news came as a surprise to those on the outside looking who have been following the story of Elon Musk’s back-and-forth with Twitter over the past few months. Musk posted poll questions and statements related to the obvious flaws of the social media giant, including everything from outright censorship of certain (conservative) voices all the way down to the introduction of an edit button. The questions and complaints about Twitter that Musk posed appeared to just be the inner thoughts of a rich and powerful man. That all changed when Musk became the largest shareholder of Twitter, buying up 9.1% of the company’s shares to the tune of $2.89 billion.
Elon Musk was, by some, expected to make big changes on Twitter for the better. People expected him to clean up a lot of the platform’s biased mess. The problem with that is Elon can only do so much in his current position. In Twitter’s internal memo that was released to the public, it is expressly written that a shareholder has the same influence as a non-shareholder on the board. The memo also states that board members are fiduciaries who have the responsibility to carry out Twitter’s vision. This means that they don’t really have much say-so on the day-to-day operations of the company. Obviously, Elon Musk did not spend nearly three billion dollars to be on the same level as what amounts to an employee. Musk’s current financial position on Twitter will probably change very quickly if he wants to effect change in a serious way.
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