SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Tesla CEO Elon Musk will not join Twitter’s board of directors as previously announced. The stormy billionaire remains Twitter’s largest shareholder.
Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal tweeted the news, after a weekend of Musk suggesting possible changes to Twitter, including making the site ad-free. About 90% of Twitter’s 2021 revenue came from ads.
“Elon’s appointment to the board was to officially take effect on 4/9, but Elon shared the same morning that he would not be joining the board,” Agarwal wrote in a reposted note originally sent to Tesla employees. “I believe it is for the best.”
Agarwal did not provide any explanation for Musk’s apparent decision. He said the board understands the risks of keeping Musk as a member. But, “It is recognized that Elon is treated as a subsidiary of the Company, where he, like all board members, has to act in the best interest of the Company and all of our shareholders, the best path forward.” was,” he wrote.
Musk posted some cryptic tweets late Sunday, which featured a meme saying, “In all fairness, your honor, my client was in ghost mode,” followed by one that “explains everything.” Another, later tweet, was of a hand-over-mouth emoji.
He now holds a 9% stake in Twitter, raising questions about how he might try to turn the social media platform into Twitter’s largest shareholder.
Musk’s 80.5 million Twitter followers make him one of the most popular figures on the platform, rivaling pop stars like Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga. But his exuberant tweets have sometimes landed him in trouble, such as when he has used it to boost his business ventures, rally Tesla loyalists, question the pandemic’s measures, and fight back.
In one famous example, Musk apologized to a British cave explorer who alleged that the Tesla CEO angrily branded him a pedophile by referring to him as a “pedo man” and later deleted the tweet. Finder filed a defamation suit, although a Los Angeles jury later acquitted Musk.
He is also locked in a long-running dispute with the US Securities and Exchange Commission over his Twitter activity. Musk and Tesla agreed to pay $40 million in civil fines in 2018 and Musk had his tweet approved by a corporate attorney after he spoke about having the money to take Tesla private at $420 per share. tweeted. This did not happen, but the tweet caused a jump in the share price of Tesla. His lawyer has argued that the SEC is infringing on Musk’s free speech rights.
Musk has described himself as a “free speech autocrat” and said he doesn’t think Twitter is living up to free speech principles – an opinion shared by Donald Trump’s followers and many right-wing political figures, whose Accounts are suspended for violating Twitter content rules.
But what exactly is driving Musk’s Twitter involvement is unclear. Other engagements with the service include the rationale for making Twitter’s algorithm viewable by the public, increasing the availability of “verified” Twitter accounts, and a profile photo initiative involving non-fungible tokens, or NFTs.
Musk also calls “crypto spam bots” who search tweets for cryptocurrency-related keywords, then empty users posing as customer support for crypto wallets, “the most annoying problem on Twitter.”
Twitter’s CEO and other board members praised Musk, suggesting that they may take his ideas seriously.
Agarwal’s initial actions since taking over from co-founder Jack Dorsey in November have included restructuring divisions without major changes. The company has long lagged behind its social media rivals and claims to have very few users.