Tesla CEO Elon Musk will sit on Twitter board of directors until at least 2024

Cal Jeffrey

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Why it matters: Twitter will appoint Elon Musk to its board of directors. The move comes after the Tesla CEO spent $2.89 billion to acquire a 9.2-percent stake in the company. Typically a passive stake is when the holder does not intend to influence the company. However, Musk's recent Twitter activity indicates that he wants to see changes.

In March, Musk criticized Twitter's stance on free speech. In a poll, he asked followers if Twitter "rigorously adheres" to the principles outlined in the First Amendment. Seventy percent responded, "No." He followed up by asking what should be done about it.

Following Monday's 13G filing with the SEC, Musk polled followers again, asking if Twitter should have an edit button, purposefully misspelling "yes" as "yse" and "no" as "on." So far, 73 percent think they should be able to edit their tweets. He also said that he looks forward to making "significant improvements" to the platform after Twitter announced his appointment.

So regardless of Musk's passive 13G filing, it seems clear that he would like to affect change in the online "town hall." However, there may be more to it than just giving Musk a voice. Twitter may have seen his large purchase as a threat of a hostile takeover. According to the SEC filing, Musk will be limited from acquiring controlling interest in the company.

"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," reads the SEC Form 8-K. "For so long as Mr. Musk is serving on the Board and for 90 days thereafter, Mr. Musk will not, either alone or as a member of a group, 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."

The 14.9-percent stake mentioned is significant because, with 15-percent beneficial ownership, Musk could issue a tender offer. A tender offer is when a shareholder has a majority stake in the company and offers shareholders a premium price on their holdings. This tactic is one way an individual or group can execute a hostile takeover.

So although he has never indicated that he wants to buyout Twitter, management would rather give him a seat on the board and some influence than allow that chance — at least for now. Founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey and current CEO Parag Agrawal tweeted their approval of Musk's appointment.

In the meantime, Musk will have to deal with the SEC. Under SEC regulations, investors must report any purchase over 5 percent within 10 days. According to CNBC, Musk acquired the shares on March 14, but he didn't file the 13G until April 5. However, the billionaire is likely to settle the matter quickly. Penalties for this type of violation only tend to be around $100,000 — nothing that will significantly hurt Musk.

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I have a pet peeve about people who confuse the first amendment's crucial role in preventing government censorship of free speech vs. rules made by private (=non-government) parties.

A president who decided to censor all news could perpetuate his or her own power, and citizens who didn't like it would have little to no practical options to change countries.

Compare that to a user who may not like what they say or read on Twitter, who can very easily switch to any of dozens of other communication platforms at will until they find ones to their taste, or even make their own.

I wonder how much "free speech" Elon affords his employees. Does he make them sign NDAs? Are whistle blowers safe from retaliation? Are they free to criticize company decisions?

 
I have a pet peeve about people who confuse the first amendment's crucial role in preventing government censorship of free speech vs. rules made by private (=non-government) parties.

A president who decided to censor all news could perpetuate his or her own power, and citizens who didn't like it would have little to no practical options to change countries.

Compare that to a user who may not like what they say or read on Twitter, who can very easily switch to any of dozens of other communication platforms at will until they find ones to their taste, or even make their own.

I wonder how much "free speech" Elon affords his employees. Does he make them sign NDAs? Are whistle blowers safe from retaliation? Are they free to criticize company decisions?
I'm sure Musk understands what the first amendment does, it's just fodder speech for his disciples.
 
I wonder how much "free speech" Elon affords his employees. Does he make them sign NDAs? Are whistle blowers safe from retaliation? Are they free to criticize company decisions?

It's even worst than that: Freedom of Speech should also include Freedom of Association which is in the case of the US on the exact same Amendment.

It means if Elon Musk was truly concerned with the first amendment, he wouldn't be actively trying to prevent his workers from unionizing. That is in fact one of the few cases where a private individual can end up limiting 1st amendment freedoms to other people by interfering with union organizing.
 
When ultra rich billionaires who have fallen *** backwards into their wealth suddenly start using large chunks of that wealth for pet projects like "fixing" other tech companies they disagree with, well we're in real trouble.

My guess is that Musk will now demand massive changes be made to Twitter policy. Then, when he doesn't get his way he'll step down from the board of directors, and go for a hostile takeover, and then he'll get all the changes he wants.

I would not be surprised at all if he forced the unbanning of a twice impeached former government employee and despicable human being just in time for the 2024 election. Because lying, spreading conspiracy theories, inciting violence against ones own government, etc. all that = free speech!
 
He will get his thoughts, ideas and opinions out there for more to see. I hope Elon can change some woke attitudes.
 
When ultra rich billionaires who have fallen *** backwards into their wealth suddenly start using large chunks of that wealth for pet projects like "fixing" other tech companies they disagree with, well we're in real trouble.

My guess is that Musk will now demand massive changes be made to Twitter policy. Then, when he doesn't get his way he'll step down from the board of directors, and go for a hostile takeover, and then he'll get all the changes he wants.

You missed the 60's on your first comment and exactly correct on the second. I would write wake up but but you are
 
So will Elon say it's a Publisher or Platform? FB, Twitter and alike are saying they are a platform but are sneakily acting as a publisher by using their TOS agreement to squash opposing comments. A bunch of Commies.
 
Nah this isn't about free speech. he picked up twitter on cheap and will sell in 6 months for 20-25% profit. it's call pump and dump.
 
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I have a pet peeve about people who confuse the first amendment's crucial role in preventing government censorship of free speech vs. rules made by private (=non-government) parties.

A president who decided to censor all news could perpetuate his or her own power, and citizens who didn't like it would have little to no practical options to change countries.

Compare that to a user who may not like what they say or read on Twitter, who can very easily switch to any of dozens of other communication platforms at will until they find ones to their taste, or even make their own.

I wonder how much "free speech" Elon affords his employees. Does he make them sign NDAs? Are whistle blowers safe from retaliation? Are they free to criticize company decisions?
Oh we all understand it. Musk is trying to change a private companies disgusting censrorship policies. He’s not trying to impose the first amendment on private spaces.


Personally I love how the people with coloured hair are panicking because they think Musks appointment means opinions they don’t like wont get taken down.
 
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