Elon Musk, the boss of Tesla and SpaceX, has given up his seat on the board of directors of Twitter, of which he is the largest shareholder, the general manager of the social network, Parag Agrawal, announced on Monday April 11. “Elon Musk has decided not to join our board,” Mr Agrawal tweeted. “Elon’s arrival on the board was to become officially effective on April 9, but Elon made it known that same morning that he was no longer joining the board,” he explained in a message to staff. from Twitter, which he shared on the platform. “I believe it’s for the best,” he added. “We have enjoyed and will always appreciate the participation of our shareholders, whether they serve on our board or not. Elon is our largest shareholder and we will remain open to his participation,” he added.
Right after the announcement, Elon Musk tweeted a giggling emoji, with no accompanying text. The richest man in the world announced in early April that he had taken a 9.2% stake in the capital of Twitter, making him the largest shareholder. He had specified in the document sent to the stock market regulator that this participation was “passive”, that is to say that he did not intend to influence major strategic decisions. He had also undertaken not to increase his stake beyond 14.9%. But the announcement, thereafter, of his entry to the board of directors of Twitter had been applauded by the markets. Investors saw it as a sign that the billionaire was finally planning to get involved in the group’s strategy.
On Twitter, soon an “edit” button to correct your tweets?
Jokes and provocations
Elon Musk is a very active user of the social network, on which he has 80.5 million subscribers. He speaks there almost every day about his companies, from Tesla (electric cars) to SpaceX (spaceflight), via Neuralink (brain implants), and does not hesitate to make jokes or to provoke controversy. He also uses his account a lot to poll Internet users, about his sales of Tesla shares or, more recently, to find out if they believe that Twitter respects freedom of expression, a question to which a majority answered ” Nope”. The entrepreneur has repeatedly criticized the platform on this subject, believing that it went too far in content moderation.
Since the announcement of his entry into the capital, Elon Musk has multiplied the provocations. In particular, he conducted a poll to ask if Twitter users wanted an “edit” button, to correct a tweet after publication. Nearly 4.4 million people had voted, and about 73% had answered “yes”. The platform then announced that it was testing this feature, which many users had requested for years.
Saturday April 9, Elon Musk wondered if the social network was “dying”, mentioning very followed but not very active accounts. “Most of these ‘super’ accounts rarely tweet and post little content. Is Twitter dying?” he wrote, captioning a list of the 10 profiles with the most subscribers. He had notably noted that the singer Justin Bieber, in second position, had tweeted only once this year. On Sunday, he made two more suggestions: “Remove the w in twitter?” (with, as a choice of answers, “yes” or “of course”) and “Converting the headquarters of Twitter in San Francisco into a shelter for the homeless since nobody goes there anyway”. More than 90% of the 1.9 million voters said “yes”. He then proposed changes to the paid subscription plan for the social network, Twitter Blue.
“There will be distractions in the future, but our goals and priorities remain unchanged. The decisions we make and how we execute them are in our hands, and no one else’s,” Parag Agrawal said in his message to employees. According to the Washington Post, several Twitter employees had expressed their concern, believing in particular that the values of the richest man in the world were not aligned with the corporate culture of the social network.