Let's hear it for Elon Musk, constantly finding new ways to make the internet collectively groan.
On April 4, the billionaire announced that he bought a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter, thereby making him the website's largest shareholder. Shortly after, he posted a poll querying his followers: "Do you want an edit button?" (FYI: Twitter began working an edit feature last year.)
Now, Musk and Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal have confirmed that the Tesla and SpaceX villain will take a seat on Twitter's board of directors as a class II director until 2024.
"Looking forward to working with Parag & Twitter board to make significant improvements to Twitter in coming months!" Musk tweeted.
As noted by Reuters, Musk violated a U.S. securities law that requires disclosure within ten days of acquiring five percent of a company. According to SEC filings, Musk made his purchase on March 14, 2022, rendering his April 4 disclosure way past due.
Musk's acquisition and appointment to the board casts an ominous shadow over the future of Twitter, one of the few remaining social media platforms that doesn't give me anxiety.
On March 25, Musk shared another poll asking: "Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?" He replied to the post noting that "the consequences of this poll will be important."
While Musk's agreement to join the board prevents him from purchasing a controlling stake in Twitter, thus preventing him from changing site policies, the poll certainly suggests that he could play a role in altering Twitter's stance on free speech — an issue that entered the limelight in the wake of the January 6 capitol riot, Trump's incitement of violence on Twitter, and his subsequent ban from Twitter.
Previously, Musk stated that he is a "free speech absolutist." Already, Trump supporters are urging Musk to reinstate the disgraced president's Twitter account.
Twitter's decision to appoint one of its most controversial users to the board must be deliberate — there's no way Agrawal and the rest of the board aren't aware that Musk has a long rap sheet of offensive, nonsensical, and outright stupid tweets.
Let's just hope Twitter's bold choice doesn't ruin the website for us non-billionaires.