Elon Musk, currently the richest man in the world and a notoriously terrible Twitter poster, now has a seat on Twitter board of directors, the company’s CEO Parag Agrawal has announced.
The news comes a day after we learned that Musk bought a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter, making him the single largest shareholder. Yesterday, we wondered what Musk’s intentions were—a genuine investment strategy? a billionaire’s elaborate prank?—but now we know: Musk now holds one of the most powerful positions any single person looking to influence a company can hold.
We still don’t know what this means for Twitter as a social network. When you’re the richest man in the world, you could just buy yourself a board seat as a goof, but Musk’s long and sordid history of posting does not inspire confidence. Investors might like it, sure—Twitter's stock rallied as much as 26 percent after the purchase was revealed—but from the perspective of an average Twitter user who, as Twitter’s former CEO Jack Dorsey often said, is looking to “increase the collective health” of conversation, it does not seem good.
It’s unclear if this was planned for a while, but it’s somewhat common for very rich people or companies to quietly buy large chunks of a company and then force themselves onto the board; this is what Chewy founder Ryan Cohen did with both GameSpot and Bed Bath & Beyond.
As we wrote Monday, Musk has mocked gender pronouns, promoted the malaria drug chloroquine as a COVID-19 treatment (it has long been dismissed as one), asked followers to “take the red pill,” whined about pandemic lockdowns amid increasingly bizarre COVID-related tweets, compared Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Adolf Hitler amid anti-vaccine mandate protests, and much, much more. Recently, he tweeted a meme with the caption: “Netflix waiting for the war to end to make a movie about a black ukraine guy falls in love with a transgender soldier.”