The social media coup continues after Elon Musk, who bought billions in Twitter stock and became its largest shareholder, entered an agreement to join the social media company’s board of directors.
According to an SEC filing revealed Tuesday morning, Musk entered into the agreement where “The Company will appoint Mr. Musk to the Company’s Board of Directors (the ‘Board’) to serve as a Class II director with a term expiring at the Company’s 2024 Annual Meeting of Stockholders.” It also states that Musk, as long as he’s on the board, will not “become the beneficial owner of more than 14.9% of the Company’s common stock outstanding at such time, including for these purposes economic exposure through derivative securities, swaps, or hedging transactions.”
These moves to social media follow Musk’s threat in a tweet on Twitter that he would leave the company and create his own.
Do we need a brand new platform?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 26, 2022
Musk took yesterday’s opportunity to survey his followers to find out if they think the site should have an editor button that allows users to edit or correct their tweets. Musk is a frequent user of social media and a fierce critic.
Brandon Morse was my colleague and explained to me yesterday that Musk took the battle for free speech in public spaces very seriously.
The move had been teased with Musk making the statement that “Free speech is essential to a functioning Democracy,” followed by questions about what should be done about Twitter, the “de facto public town square.” Musk, as he tends to do, made a move that changes everything not long after.
It is now time to ask: How will Musk make a difference?
First of all, it is important to remember something that another famous person said. The comedian Dave Chappelle commented that he was being mobbed by transgender activists on Twitter after being accused of being “transphobic.” He commented that he didn’t care, because Twitter isn’t a real place, and he’s right.
It doesn’t mean it can’t be.
Musk may be approaching the issue of speech in public squares differently to conservative critics. Although some successes have been achieved in creating new Twitter-like areas (such as Gab Parler, Gettr and Truth Social), these echo chambers tend to be more conservative than actual debate or discussion. By taking the fight all the way up to Twitter’s Board of Directors, Musk could very well be approaching this as an opportunity to try to enact very real changes at the site.