Surprise reversal: Twitter top dog Parag Agrawal announced Sunday night that Elon Musk, a gazillionaire and freedom-of-expression advocate, would not be joining Twitter’s board of directors. Although it seems that Musk won’t be able stop the social media giant from its determination to silence voices from the far-Left, this could be good news for those concerned about the massive influence of social media companies on American public discourse.
Agrawal declared that Elon had decided to leave our board. I wrote a short note to the company sharing my thoughts with you all. Agrawal said that Elon joined the board after many discussions with me and Agrawal. We were both excited to work together and we were open about the potential risks. We believed that Elon, as a fiduciary of our company, would be the best way forward. He, like all board members must act in the best interest of all shareholders and the company. He was offered a seat by the board.” It is clear that Agrawal and other Twitter leaders believed that Musk would be restricted by having a seat on the board. Musk would need to “act in all the company’s best interests.” But no such luck.
Agrawal said that Musk was supposed join the board on Saturday. However, it did not happen. “We announced Tuesday that Elon would be appointed on the Board continent after a background check. Elon’s appointment was supposed to take effect on 4/9 but Elon announced that he would no longer be joining board. He believes this is the best thing.” Of course, he does. Musk tweeted March 26 that he believed that Twitter was the “de facto public square” and that failing to uphold free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy. What can be done?
Agrawal assured Musk that he would listen regardless of his status on the Board. “We have and we will always value input from shareholders whether or not they are on our Board.” Elon Musk is our largest shareholder, and we will continue to be open to his input.” Agrawal then added, ominously, “There will always be distractions ahead but our goals and priority remain unchanged.” That’s the problem. “The decisions that we make and the execution of those decisions are in our hands. Elon Musk is not. Agrawal said to Twitter users: “Let’s turn off the noise and focus on the work and the things we’re building.”
It was certainly a shot across Musk’s bow, but it could also be Agrawal’s last note of defiance. Jordan Schachtel, a journalist, observed that Musk’s refusal to take a seat on the board is bullish for Twitter’s freedom of speech. To limit his influence, the current board members and executives of Twitter suggested that Musk take a board seat. Musk has the option to pursue a hostile takeover. From February to April, he acquired 9% of the company’s shares. He will reach 18% in June. It will be interesting to see the next SEC filing! This process is, IMO, already underway. Shareholders don’t care about the woke stuff.
Musk tweeted on March 25: “Free speech essential for a functioning democracy.” Are you sure that Twitter adheres to this principle? Musk added, “The implications of this poll will prove important. Please vote carefully. 70.4% of the 2,035,924 votes voted against. This was before Musk acquired Twitter shares, making him the largest shareholder of the company. Is there more to this poll? We can only hope.