Elon Musk bought
up a 9% stake in Twitter late last week and was immediately appointed to the company’s
board. It is expected that Musk will likely have a significant impact on how
the platform functions from now on.
It is important
to note that previously, Investment firm Elliott Management purchased a
4% stake in Twitter in an attempt to replace the company’s CEO Jack Dorsey with
a more business-focused leader. In a peace deal of sorts between Twitter and the
Elliott group, Elliott and Silver Lake Partners both gained a seat each on
Twitter’s board. As a result, Twitter established new growth targets: 315
million monetizable daily active users by Q4 2023 and $7.5 billion annual
revenue in 2023.
The targets were not as easy to achieve, and therefore led to pressure on the company, as a result of which, Dorsey was compelled to step down as Twitter’s CEO in November. Even though Dorsey was then replaced by CTO Parag Argrawal, Agrawal announced that Twitter would maintain its growth targets in Dorsey’s wake.
Now with Musk holding an important spot on Twitter’s board
and his holding double that of Elliott Management, and more than Elliott and
Silver Lake combined, means that Musk’s decisions as ‘the’ board member could
determine the future of Twitter.
Musk can already be seen as pointing out a bunch of “problems”
in relation to Twitter’s functioning. In a recent tweet, he questioned the minimal
activity of the most popular accounts on Twitter, argued that Twitter Blue
subscribers should get an authentication checkmark, and that Blue subscribers
should not see ads. He also questioned whether Twitter’s flagship San Francisco
home base should be converted into a homeless shelter, ‘since no one shows up
anyway,’ and claimed that the prevalence of bots on Twitter, particularly
‘crypto scam’ accounts, is skewing the platform’s active user numbers. He even
raised a question about Twitter’s adherence to ‘free speech principles.’
Most of these “top” accounts tweet rarely and post very little content.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 9, 2022
Is Twitter dying? https://t.co/lj9rRXfDHE
Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 26, 2022
What should be done? https://t.co/aPS9ycji37
While Musk’s stance on Twitter’s performance could lead to
systematic improvements for the platform, it also seems like Twitter’s
management won’t be as happy following through all the suggestions made.