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How Elon Musk shook up Twitter in 7 days of chaos

For the final seven days, Elon Musk has made main headlines. But it’s not Tesla, the place he’s CEO, that he’s toying with this time. Instead, he’s been making waves round his latest funding in Twitter.

Last week’s information that he had purchased sufficient Twitter inventory to change into the corporate’s largest single shareholder left onlookers questioning how Musk, the outspoken tech mogul and self-described “free speech absolutist,” may attempt to change the route of the corporate, which has recognized harassment and misinformation as two of its moderation targets because the Covid-19 pandemic started.

True to kind for the eccentric and bombastic Musk, the headlines didn’t finish there. For seven days, Musk made main information along with his statements and actions pertaining to the corporate and its future. First, Musk appeared to substantiate that he would be part of Twitter’s board of administrators, however days later, he and Twitter’s CEO reversed the choice with cryptic statements and tweets.

Here’s how the story has unfolded up to now. 

April 4: Musk reveals that he’s purchased 9.2 % of Twitter

On the morning of April 4, Musk submitted a regulatory submitting to the Securities and Exchange Commission noting his buy of the Twitter shares. The submitting stated the acquisition had taken place on March 14, that means Musk was submitting his submitting 10 days late, based on SEC guidelines. 

As information of the submitting broke, figures within the tech trade speculated about how Musk might change the corporate as somebody who had filed as a “passive investor.” People additionally started going by way of Musk’s latest statements about Twitter. 

On March 24, Musk had requested his followers whether or not they thought Twitter adhered to the precept of free speech, following up by saying: “The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully.”

After submitting his funding, Musk brought on additional commotion when he tweeted asking followers, “Do you want an edit button?” referring to a longtime characteristic request from Twitter customers and seeming to sign that he was eager about making modifications to the platform.

Twitter’s CEO, Parag Agrawal, quote-tweeted Musk’s ballot in regards to the edit button and copied his March 24 assertion, writing: “The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully.”

On Tuesday, Agrawal introduced in a press release on Twitter that Musk had been given a seat on the board. 

“Through conversations with Elon in recent weeks, it became clear to us that he would bring great value to our Board,” he wrote. “He’s both a passionate believer and intense critic of the service which is exactly what we need.”

Musk responded by tweeting, “Looking forward to working with Parag & Twitter board to make significant improvements to Twitter in coming months!” Later within the day, Musk submitted one other submitting to the SEC indicating that he could be taking a extra energetic function as an investor and that he had agreed to not buy greater than 14.9 % of the corporate. The extra shares Musk owns, the better it might be for him to probably orchestrate the route of the corporate. 

The identical day, Twitter board members — together with co-founder Jack Dorsey — tweeted their congratulations to Musk. “I’m really happy Elon is joining the Twitter board,” Dorsey wrote. “He cares deeply about our world and Twitter’s role in it.”

Dorsey described Musk and Agrawal as a would-be “team” who “both lead with their hearts.” Omid Kordestani and Bret Taylor, two different members, additionally tweeted welcoming Musk to the board.

Twitter declares it’s engaged on an ‘edit’ button

After Musk’s “edit button” ballot closed, over 4.4 million accounts had voted, with 73.6 % asking for the addition. On Wednesday, Twitter introduced that it had been engaged on an edit button “since last year.”

“No, we didn’t get the idea from a poll,” the corporate’s tweet famous with a cheeky winking emoji.

Jay Sullivan, Twitter’s head of client product, famous in one other tweet, “Edit has been the most requested Twitter feature for many years.” 

At the identical time, Musk was tweeting memes about his supposed affect over Twitter, together with one which drew a hyperlink between Musk’s first main enterprise transfer — “Sells Zip2 to Compaq for $305m” — and Twitter’s “finally” getting an edit button. Zip2 was Musk’s earliest enterprise enterprise, which he offered in his late 20s. The domino meme he posted implies that Musk’s promoting the corporate and establishing his entrepreneurship was the primary in a collection of occasions that might finally result in Twitter’s including the edit characteristic.

April 9: Musk asks whether or not Twitter is dying

The weekend introduced no slowdown from Musk.

On Saturday, Musk returned to his private Twitter account with extra qualms in regards to the firm. “Is Twitter dying?” he requested in a quote-tweet displaying the ten most-followed Twitter customers. “Most of these ‘top’ accounts tweet rarely and post very little content.”

Musk referred to as out A-list entertainers Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber, who’re the sixth and second most-followed folks on Twitter, respectively. 

“For example, @taylorswift13 hasn’t posted anything in 3 months,” Musk stated. “And @justinbieber only posted once this entire year.”

Then, Musk took goal on the choices in Twitter’s new subscription service, Twitter Blue, which prices $3 a month. Musk stated he turned off the customizable Twitter Blue characteristic that stops a tweet from being despatched instantly, giving customers 20 seconds to reread and rethink their tweets earlier than they publish.

Musk prompt that Twitter Blue’s service ought to as a substitute give its subscribers a verified examine mark, which presently requires an individual working at Twitter’s Verified staff to approve. Musk stated that needs to be “different from ‘public figure’ or ‘official account’” verification examine marks. 

His thought would scale back the variety of pretend accounts and bots, Musk prompt. 

“Now subtract crypto scam accounts that twitter shows as ‘real’ people in everyone’s feed,” Musk wrote in a reply to a different consumer.

Then Musk stated Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco ought to be become a shelter for folks experiencing homelessness, “since no one shows up anyway.”

Musk additionally jokingly prompt that Twitter take away the letter “w” from its firm to change into “titter.” He even ran one other ballot to gauge curiosity. 

Musk is understood for his cheeky tweets, that are performed for laughs however can get him and his corporations in authorized bother. In September 2018, Musk settled with the SEC after he tweeted that he would take Tesla personal at $420 per share, referring to the quantity related to marijuana. The SEC charged Musk with securities fraud and charged Tesla with “failing to have required disclosure controls and procedures relating to Musk’s tweets,” a cost Tesla settled. 

The phrases of the settlement included Musk’s stepping down as Tesla’s chairman, requiring Tesla to rent extra impartial administrators and paying $40 million in penalties. 

April 10: Twitter CEO says Musk received’t be part of the board in spite of everything

Late Sunday, Agrawal introduced in a press release on Twitter that Musk wouldn’t be part of Twitter’s board. He wrote that it was Musk’s choice. 

“We also believed that having Elon as a fiduciary of the company where he, like all board members, has to act in the best interests of the company and all our shareholders, was the best path forward,” Agrawal wrote.

Agrawal wrote that his announcement on Tuesday had been “contingent on a background check and formal acceptance” and that Musk was to have been formally appointed on Saturday morning. 

“Elon shared that same morning that he will no longer be joining the board,” Agrawal wrote. “I believe this is for the best.”

Agrawal and the opposite Twitter board members reversed their preliminary approval of Musk’s appointment someday after Musk tweeted criticizing the corporate. After Agrawal introduced that Musk would not sit on the board, Musk tweeted — and later deleted — a laughing emoji.

That wasn’t the one tweet that appeared to consult with or immediately criticize Twitter that Musk deleted. He additionally deleted a number of vital tweets he had posted since he made his April 4 SEC submitting, together with a number of about Twitter Blue. Musk additionally deleted a tweet that confirmed an image of him smoking marijuana on Joe Rogan’s podcast with the caption “Twitter’s next board meeting is gonna be lit.”

Musk then preferred a tweet speculating that he wouldn’t be part of the board as a result of he couldn’t criticize Twitter on the identical time. “Let me break this down for you: Elon became largest shareholder for Free Speech. Elon was told to play nice and not speak freely,” the tweet says. 

April 11: A brand new submitting says Musk can purchase extra Twitter shares

In a submitting submitted Monday, Musk indicated that he might purchase extra shares of Twitter following his choice to not be part of the board. “Depending on the factors discussed herein, the Reporting Person may, from time to time, acquire additional shares of Common Stock and/or retain and/or sell all or a portion of the shares of Common Stock held by the Reporting Person in the open market or in privately negotiated transactions,” the submitting reads. 

The risk might create a extra hostile relationship between Twitter and Musk, based on analysts who spoke to CNBC on Monday.



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