Less than 24 hours after disclosing his 9.2% stake in Twitter, the CEO of Tesla is already making waves.
Musk’s poll asking if users want an edit button on the social media site was bound to turn heads regardless, but it got a signal boost when Chief Executive Officer Parag Agrawal responded, calling it important and urging users to “vote carefully.”
That implies the poll by the world’s richest man might actually carry some weight, rather than being just another ambiguous tweet. But it doesn’t mean the results of the poll are binding.
Twitter, after all, has been ambiguous about an edit button for years. Four days ago, on April Fool’s Day, it claimed to be working on one. Last July, it said it would introduce one when “everyone wears a mask.” And it has frequently joked about the commonly requested feature, trolling users.
Musk is an x factor, though. Just yesterday his stake was described as passive. Today he has discussed significant interface changes, joined the company’s board of directors, and tweeted that he has plans for “significant improvements” in the near future.
Analysts say adding Musk to the board was an acknowledgement by Twitter that Musk is unlikely to stop his buying at 9.2%.
“This was a friendly move by the Twitter board to embrace Musk with open arms as clearly a passive stake is just the start of his involvement in Twitter,” said Daniel Ives of Wedbush Securities in a note to clients. “We believe Musk joining Twitter will lead to a host of strategic initiatives which could include a range of near-term and long-term possibilities out of the gates for the company still struggling in a social media arms race. Now it’s time to get out the popcorn and watch the developments over the coming months.”
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey famously said in 2020 that when it comes to an edit button on Twitter, “we’ll probably never do it,” noting that there were “practical considerations” in adding one.
“You might send a tweet and someone might retweet that and an hour later you might completely change the content of that tweet,” he said. “The person that retweeted the original tweet is now retweeting and rebroadcasting something that is completely different. So that’s something to watch out for.”
Dorsey, though, stepped down as CEO last November. And while he still owns a big stake in the company, his 2.3% is dwarfed by Musk’s share.
That could be moot, though, as Dorsey has tweeted his support for Musk becoming a board member at Twitter.
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