By Natalie Mojica
Following the announcement of Elon Musk’s recently acquired 9.2% stake in Twitter, it was reported that Musk will join Twitter’s board of directors. Twitter’s shares increased upwards of 7% to $53.63 in premarket trading after the report was released.
Musk’s passive stake has made him the largest shareholder, with an investment worth approximately $3 billion. His involvement comes as a surprise to many, considering it was just weeks ago that he critiqued the social media platform for “failing to adhere to free speech principles” and said he was considering building his own platform.
Musk was also in trouble with the Securities and Exchange Commission over tweets about taking Tesla private, leading to a lawsuit that was settled only when he agreed to have specific tweets about the company pre-reviewed.
Experts like Brent Hill, an analyst at Jefferies, believe “one of Musk’s main motives could be to influence TWTR’s moderation policies, which he has often criticized as being too restrictive.”
With his 80 million followers on Twitter, Musk’s influence has been notably extensive for some time. Former chief executive officer Jack Dorsey said he is “really happy” that Musk is joining the Twitter board and that “[Musk] cares deeply about our world and Twitter’s role in it.”
“Through conversations with Elon in recent weeks, it became clear to us that he would bring great value to our Board,” Current CEO Parag Agrawal said in a tweet. “He’s both a passionate believer and intense critic of the service, which is exactly what we need on Twitter, and in the boardroom, to make us stronger in the long-term.”
Musk said he is “looking forward to working with Parag & Twitter board to make significant improvements to Twitter in coming months!” Musk has already started foreshadowing what these “significant improvements” could be, tweeting a poll asking other Twitter users if they want an edit button to be added.
In a regulatory filing, Twitter specified his position would be a term that ends in 2024 and that he would be unable to acquire more than 14.9% of the company’s shares while he remains on the board.