Musk's Cryptic Response After Declining Twitter Board Membership Says It All

Brittany M. Hughes | April 11, 2022
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Following the surprise announcement that he wouldn’t be joining Twitter’s board of directors after all, Elon Musk’s now-deleted response hints at why the billionaire investor may have declined the company’s offer.

Musk, an avid proponent of free speech and now the largest shareholder of Twitter, cryptically tweeted – then almost immediately deleted – a post with a single emoji after news broke that he’d turned down the company’s offer to sit on their board.

The emoji? A laughing face with a hand over the mouth.


Based on that response, along with Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal’s statement Sunday night, it seems likely that Musk’s decision to turn down a Twitter board membership may have come after the company tried to rein him in from using his new influence to bring about change to the company, and/or from soliciting Twitter users about potential alterations to the website.

Since buying his shares and informally accepting a board seat, Musk had tweeted a number of times asking users about potential changes to the site, such as adding an “edit” button, automatic verification for users, and even turning the company’s headquarters into a homeless shelter because “no one shows up anyway.”

Whatever the reason, Musk’s opinions about the company and its current direction clearly didn’t sit well with Twitter’s current leash-holders.

“Elon Musk has decided not to join our board,” Agrawal said in a statement. “The Board and I had many discussions about Elon joining the board, and with Elon directly. We were excited to collaborate and clear about the risks. We also believed that having Elon as a fiduciary of the company where he, like all board members, has to act in the best interests of the company and all our shareholders, was the best path forward. The board offered him a seat.”

“We announced on Tuesday that Elon would be appointed to the Board contingent on a background check and formal acceptance,” Agrawal continued. “Elon’s appointment to the board was to become officially effective 4/9, but Elon shared that same morning that he will no longer be joining the board. I believe this is for the best. We have and will always value input from our shareholders whether they are on our Board or not. Elon is our biggest shareholder and we will remain open to his input.”


“There will be distractions ahead, but our goals and priorities remain unchanged,” he cryptically warned, pointedly adding, “The decisions we make and how we execute is in our hands, no one else’s. Let’s tune out the noise, and stay focused on the work and what we’re building.”

While Musk may not hold a seat on the company’s board, his decision to decline a spot also means he won’t be under the board’s share owner restriction, which restricts members to owning no more than 14.9% of Twitter shares for the duration of their membership and for two years after.

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