back to article Elon Musk won't join Twitter's board after all

SpaceX and Tesla tycoon Elon Musk won't be joining Twitter's board, despite last week revealing he had acquired a 9.2 per cent stake in the microblogging service. News of the change of heart came in a tweet from Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, who got straight to the point: "Elon has decided not to join our board. I sent a brief …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Elon Musk

    wouldn't want any binding constraints on his maximal free speech.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Elon Musk

      This. Musk has already discovered with Tesla that people who run publicly listed companies do not have the right to maximum free speech. Becoming a board director at Twitter would very likely have further limited his right to free speech.

      Secondly, if Musk's 'vision' was to let Donald Trump, the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers and various terrorist organisations back on Twitter, while the investigations and trials for last year's coup attempt are still ongoing, that could have a disastrous effect on Twitter's capacity to do business.

      1. razzaDazza1234

        Re: Elon Musk

        Every. Single. Word. Of. Yours. I. Downvote.

        2019 called and they want their trends back.

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Elon Musk

      If he wants to remove constraints on his speech he has to remove himself from positions of authority in publicly traded companies. Until he does that he will continue to need adult supervision on the internet.

    3. HildyJ Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Elon Musk The real reason

      It's not the binding of his free speech.

      It's the binding of his maximum stock ownership.

      I assume he plans to buy Twitter outright eventually.

      For an analysis of his SEC filings with appropriate sections highlighted see

      https://www.theverge.com/2022/4/11/23020118/elon-musk-twitter-schedule-13d-social-media-board-of-directors-sec

  2. cantankerous swineherd

    won't be on the board but will be on the phone.

    1. Amentheist
      Mushroom

      Hopefully not while driving one of his cars in "autopilot" mode.

      1. UCAP Silver badge
        Trollface

        Hopefully not while driving one of his cars in "autopilot" mode

        Musk seems to be convinced that Tesla "autopilot" mode is the best thing since sliced bread, so why shouldn't he use it all the time? Particularly while spouting forth on his mobile.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            re: Cause, I followed a Muppet

            Didn't you get the memo...

            Anyone driving a Tesla is free to do whatever they want on the roads.

            Given some of the lunatic driving that I've seen recently by Tesla Computers on Wheels... sorry Model 3's that seems to be what they believe.

            Besides... Grant Shapps drives one so... you do the sums.

            Tesla's (of any model) are not a luxury car. If they are what does that make a Bentley or a Roller then?

            I'll carry on driving my Zoe. It might be slow but at half the price of the Tesla, it is a bargain.

            1. Tilda Rice

              Re: re: Cause, I followed a Muppet

              You have no idea if autopilot was on. Or assisted cruise control. Or not at all.

              And the thinly veiled jealously of a Zoe driver. How tedious.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: re: Cause, I followed a Muppet

                If you can't tell the difference between a mechanical idiot driving and a real idiot, I'd question your competence to hold a licence.

          2. werdsmith Silver badge

            "at the traffic lights I shouted at him to turn it off or I'd drag him out his toy car and hold him facedown kissing that tarmac until the either police came on charge of dangerous driving or he stopped crying for his mummy."

            You imagined yourself doing that. But in reality you tutted.

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Trollface

    "Musk [..] found nearly $3 billion with which to buy a slab of Twitter"

    He has the right to waste his money in any way he sees fit.

    1. Def Silver badge

      Re: "Musk [..] found nearly $3 billion with which to buy a slab of Twitter"

      Considering that $3B is now worth $3.5B, I wouldn't call it that much of a waste.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: "Musk [..] found nearly $3 billion with which to buy a slab of Twitter"

        It will be a waste if he buys enough stock to eventually take it over, and makes "maximal free speech" the law of the land. Its value will collapse as it slowly becomes a toxic hellscape like Gab (since all the truly toxic people sidelined to Gab will come back to Twitter once Musk pulls the door wide open for people who threaten violence, or worse)

        But he has so much money I'm sure he doesn't care, he'll be happy that he can go back to calling people "pedo guy" if they fail to bow down to him properly.

    2. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: "Musk [..] found nearly $3 billion with which to buy a slab of Twitter"

      There's been weeks were I don't add 500 million dollars to my net worth.. Quite a lot of them actually. Hardly a waste of money.

  4. Headley_Grange Silver badge

    Huh?

    1. They discussed it, offered him a seat on the board and were excited about it.

    2. They think it's best for the company that he's not going to join the board.

    It sounds as though they don't need Musk to make the current board dysfunctional.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think this is what happened.

      1) Musk told them he was planning to purchase a significant stake (apparently he held talks with the CEO for a while before it became public and before he purchased).

      2) The board had to weigh various conflicts. Do we want an irritant outside the tent pissing in or inside the tent pissing out? Once he purchases the stock, can he be more of a nuisance as a vocal large shareholder or as a board member? In which position is he of best value to the company (considering Musk's primary skill is being a marketing machine but he's also a major liability)?

      3) The board figured it was better for them to have Musk muzzled by fiduciary duties and SEC regulations so they offered him a board seat.

      4) Once it became clear to Musk what it would really entail to be on the board, what the board demanded in return for his board seat, and what he could no longer do or say about Twitter, either he decided not to pursue it or the board said 'take it or leave it'.

    2. S4qFBxkFFg

      Also, I think the board seat deal included a prohibition on him owning more than a certain proportion of shares: he may have decided it's simpler to eventually buy 51%.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        I think there's also a paperwork issue. When the purchase was announced, the regulatory filing was for a passive investment. Many regulators have similar rules, ie if you buy a large stake, you're meant to notify the market if it's active or passive, and if it's a prelude to a buyout.

        No idea what the SEC penalties would be for becoming actively involved in running your investment would be if the wrong forms were used.

    3. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Alien

      I interpreted it as:

      1. The board discussed it amongst themselves and decided to offer Elon a place.

      2. They announced to the media that Elon will join the board.

      3. Elon said "err, no thanks. Busy enough as it is. Keep making me money though."

  5. DrXym Silver badge

    Dodging a bullet

    Twitter probably offered him the place as a sop but in reality he would have created a massive headache if he had joined. How would it go down with shareholders if he was regularly boosting / denegrating crypto (for his own obvious financial benefit), 4am drunk / drug tweets or flat out calling people pedos? What if he crossed the line and said something worthy of a suspension (arguably something he has done many times) and still they refused to act? Their stock price would go up and down like a yoyo and there would be lawsuits galore from shareholders.

    Anyway, the Onion says it best about Musk:

    https://www.theonion.com/please-like-me-1848674003

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dodging a bullet

      Ouch, the Onion doesn't disappoint. And there I was, thinking that I was the only one seeing this.

      (anonymous because saying that the world's richest man behind Vladimir Putin is not wearing any clothes is a point best made anonymous).

      1. razzaDazza1234

        Re: Dodging a bullet

        That is good. Really good. I too thought that level of meta-awareness had been stomped out by the 'progressives'.

        But then, he isn't THAT bad. He's much better than knobhead Jobs. And... many successful people have a desire to be liked and succeed.

        Honestly, I dont think I could do as good a job a Elon as done with all that power and money. I know he drinks deeply from the Tony Stark well, but even so, if I had that power and money, you'd all be dead!!! LOL

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Dodging a bullet

          If I had that kinda money, you'd all be drunk. Sadly, can't afford to sponsor monthly or quarterly vulture drinking contests. But being Musk-rich, I'd also be able to sponsor liver replacements.

    2. fandom

      Re: Dodging a bullet

      The Onion makes it look so easy it is hard to believe there are people in the world who aren't multibillionares yet.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Dodging a bullet

        Well, when my plan to introduce the leaf as a global currency come to fruition, we'll all be rich!!!

        (Thanks for the idea Doug!)

    3. gecho

      Re: Dodging a bullet

      He is controversial enough as it is. If he became super politically polarizing it could cause serious problems trying to win government contracts for SpaceX.

  6. imanidiot Silver badge

    Reading between the lines

    "Elon has decided not to join our board." --> I suspect this should be read as: After extensive talking I've managed to persuade Elon not to join the board.

  7. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    And no ads. The power of corporations to dictate policy is greatly enhanced if Twitter depends on advertising money to survive.

    I don't see how he expects Twitter to generate an income then. As I see it, if no advertising revenue, then income would have to come from either (a) subscription model (I don't think enough people would be willing to pay to cover the shortfall in advertising revenue), or (b) mining/analysis/sale of users' data on an obscene level (would enough people be prepared to sign up for that?).

    Hmmm...looking at option (b)...yes, there probably are enough stupid/gullible people.

    1. fandom

      What's the point of mining user data if you don't show them ads?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That's easy. There are many "data brokers" that pay good money for data sets. You don't need to run ads yourself (the Google model), you can just sell the data to data brokers that combine, filter and repackage that data to sell on to other companies.

        If your data is part of three different data sets then a data broker can combine information about you into a new data set containing more or better info about you. That new data set will be worth more than a sum of its parts.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Mine it well enough and there's enough intelligence in there to tell your customers "Twitter user <x> equates to Facebook user <y> so target them on that platform"

    2. FeepingCreature Bronze badge

      > I don't see how he expects Twitter to generate an income then.

      I mean, it's not like he needs that Twitter profit stream.

      1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

        I didn't mean profit, I meant income. Without revenue from advertisers will they be able to bring in enough money to pay for hardware, infrastructure, staff, etc.?

  8. Slx

    Looks like it’s time to move on from Twitter. It’s been an enjoyable platform but between bots, trolls and now this, I think I’ll be winding down my use of it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The admin of one of the world's largest Mastodon servers said that he noticed an increase in sign-ups since the Musk/Twitter announcement. Mastodon is essentially a decentralised version of Twitter.

      The aggregated user count of most Mastodon instances (Gab and Trump's Truth.social are also using Mastodon but have chosen to be walled gardens so have disconnected themselves from the global Mastodon network) seems to support that statement.

      1. razzaDazza1234

        Nice insight. TU

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Windows

      "Looks like it’s time to move on from Twitter. It’s been an enjoyable platform but between bots, trolls and now this, I think I’ll be winding down my use of it."

      What's Twitter?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A fool and his money…

    And other timeless truisms.

  10. msobkow Silver badge

    Musk is very creative, but he is also a loose cannon. He must have a very good management team behind him taking care of the details of the financial side of things, because his impulsive nature would run through even his billions rather quickly otherwise.

  11. RandomOvine

    His trip to Mars really can not come soon enough

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @RandomOvine - I suggest we should send him right now

      and we'll figure the rest (like human habitat there) while he is en route.

  12. Caulk

    Tittilation

    When another industry giant is shamelessly called "Go ogle", deleting the "w" hardly seems that daring

  13. aerogems Bronze badge
    Holmes

    Wore out his welcome

    Seems to me he wore out his welcome before he even started. Probably a bunch of those polls he's been running made the Twitter board think he was just a massive lawsuit waiting to happen.

    Sherlock because he'll get to the bottom of the real reason behind the band breaking up before it even formed.

  14. Mr Larrington
    FAIL

    So it would seem that when George Galloway threw a hissy fit the other day about being labelled “Russian State Affiliated” media by Twitter he was being a bit premature in appealing to Space Karen's better nature* to get the tag removed? Poor George!

    * which in his case he has not got

  15. JDX Gold badge

    "to act in the best interests of the company and all our shareholders."

    On that basis he shouldn't be on the board of his own companies half the time :)

  16. JDX Gold badge

    Loose cannon

    Anyone else see a bit of a contradiction in someone buying a communication platform in order to bend it to their own uses and interests, to promote free speech?

    Elon's disciples (good god they're tiresome on Twitter) will claim he acts only out of altruism of course.

  17. BGatez

    F*** that C***

    F*** a bunch of elon, enough a holes on twitter as is

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