In surprise move, Mars-chasing Musk lands in lion's den at Twitter

In surprise move, Mars-chasing Musk lands in lion's den at Twitter

In surprise move, Mars-chasing Musk lands in lion's den at Twitter

Elon Musk has been appointed to the board of directors at Twitter just days after buying a majority stake in the same Big Tech company he has criticized for its one-sided censorship, and now many are saying it’s time to pop some popcorn and watch what happens next.

Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s CEO, announced Tuesday morning Musk is joining the board after buying a 9.2% stake in the social media company. In a tweet, Agrawal said Musk will “bring great value” to the board.

In the same statement, the CEO directly addressed Musk’s criticism of Twitter: “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,” Agrawal wrote.

Musk, whose net worth is over $260 billion, is known for overseeing production of Tesla brand electric automobiles and for his space exploration venture, SpaceX. The aerospace company is currently planning a manned mission to explore and colonize Mars. 

Meanwhile, whether the CEO at Twitter actually believes Musk is “exactly what we need” at the anti-conservative Twitter could be flagged as “misinformation,” however.

Agrawal said as recently as 2020 that Twitter’s role is not to be “bound by the First Amendment” but to promote a “healthy public conversation.”  The definition of what is considered “healthy” at Twitter is the lingering problem, however, since the social media site polices its own users for “misinformation” about the COVID-19 vaccine and for claims the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump.

Censoring those topics, and punishing users who post unwanted opinions, is literally the opposite of a “conversation." 

More recently, Twitter suspended the account of The Babylon Bee after the satirical website “awarded” Rachel Levine with the title of “Man of the Year.”

Levine is the transgender Biden official who is, in fact, a biological man with long hair who wears a dress, but the Bee’s satirical attempt to have an honest conversation about biology was flagged as “hateful conduct” by Twitter’s censors.

“The Left isn't interested in freedom or debate,” Seth Dillon, the Bee’s CEO, warned on his personal Twitter account after the suspension. “They demand ideological conformity. Submit or they'll silence you.”

On Tuesday, however, at almost the same time Agrawal was announcing the new billionaire board member, Dillon disclosed in a tweet that Musk had contacted the Bee over its suspension.

Houck, Curtis (MRC) Houck

“[Musk] even mused on that call that he might need to buy Twitter,” Dillon wrote. “Now he’s the largest shareholder and has a seat on the board.”

Curtis Houck of Media Research Center says Musk has been “making noise” about a lack of free speech on social media, in particular on Twitter. Many were speculating the independent-minded billionaire was weeks away from starting his only social media platform.

And then came the back-to-back news of Musk buying shares and joining the board.

“You have to be in the arena to actually be able to effect change,” Houck says, “especially with a lot of these publicly traded companies."

In an April 4 story, an AFN poll asked what Musk should do as the largest Twitter stakeholder. A majority of poll respondents, 69%, said he should "force Twitter to stop blocking conservatives."