Explained: What Elon Musk on Twitter Board Could Mean to Users

Tesla CEO Elon Musk now has a 9% stake in Twitter and a seat on its corporate board of directors, raising questions about how the billionaire business magnate can transform the social media platform. He is now Twitter’s largest shareholder and has the ears of top managers.

Does Musk have any history with Twitter?

Actually he does. 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 prolific tweet sometimes gets him in trouble, for example, he uses it to promote his business ventures, rally Tesla loyalists, question the measures for the pandemic and those fight with those with whom he disagrees.

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. Explorer 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. In 2018 Musk and Tesla agreed to pay $40 million in civil fines, 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 – Which didn’t happen but caused Tesla’s stock price to jump. His lawyer has argued that the SEC is infringing on Musk’s free speech rights.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk now has a seat on its corporate board of directors, raising questions about how the billionaire business magnate can transform the social media platform. (AP file photo)

What does Musk plan to do on Twitter?

Musk has described himself as a “free speech absolutist” and clarified that he does not think Twitter is living up to free speech principles – an opinion shared by Donald Trump’s followers and many right-wing political figures, accounts were suspended for violating their Twitter content rules.

But what exactly is driving Musk’s Twitter involvement is unclear. His engagements with the service include arguments for making Twitter’s algorithms 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.”

“We don’t know what their goals are. Maybe Elon Musk secretly wants to blow up (Twitter)… maybe he wants to destroy it,” said Jennifer Grigiel, a Syracuse University communications professor and social media expert.

What can Musk actually do as a board member?

Musk’s role as both a board member and Twitter’s largest shareholder certainly gives him a bigger voice in the company’s future. He was publicly praised by the CEO and other board members this week, a sign that Twitter leadership may be taking his ideas seriously.

But he is still just one member of the 12-person board, which Twitter says has “an important advisory and feedback role” but has no responsibility over day-to-day operations and decisions. That means Musk will not have the authority to add an “edit button” or to restore Donald Trump’s suspended account.

“Our policy decisions are not determined by the board or shareholders, and we have no plans to reverse any policy decisions,” Twitter spokesman Adrian Zamora said.

What do shareholders think?

Several Wall Street analysts said they were excited about Musk’s new role on Twitter. “This is a man who pushes for change who, I think, denies failure on his resume. You need a role model for him on the board of directors,” said CFRA Research Analyst Angelo Zino. need.” That’s true, Zino said, even though “what the heck their thoughts really are, who the heck knows.”

Other investors are not so sure. Meredith Benton, founder of investment consulting firm Whistle Stop Capital, is pushing shareholders in both Twitter and Tesla to support stronger policies affecting workplace harassment and discrimination. She describes Musk’s new role as a concerning development for Twitter investors, particularly those accused by California regulators that Tesla is discriminating against black workers at its San Francisco Bay Area factory.

“Twitter’s biggest current challenge is successfully navigating through the social impacts of using its platform,” Benton said. “Elon Musk presents the risk of undermining the thoughtful and strategic management of these subjects with an air of reckless bravery.”

Where is Twitter as a company?

The executive business has been around since the departure of co-founder Jack Dorsey in November, leaving Twitter with a new CEO, Parag Agarwal, whose initial actions included restructuring divisions. Wall Street analysts had approved the selection of Agarwal as the new leader, but the platform hasn’t changed much so far. The company has long lagged behind its social media rivals and claims to have very few users.

The mere fact of adding Musk’s high-profile name to Twitter could help people spend more time on the platform and make more money, with Zino calling Musk “the most important person” on Twitter.

Isn’t Musk a very busy person?

You wouldn’t know this from his exuberant positions, but he’s held a number of big roles, including CEO of electric car company Tesla and “technoking” and CEO of rocket company SpaceX. He is also the founder of The Boring Company, an underground company. Tunnel Company, and Neuralink, which wants to put computer chips in people’s brains.

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