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Elon Musk at Tesla's "Gigafactory" on March 22 in Gruenheide, southeast of Berlin.
Elon Musk at Tesla's "Gigafactory" on March 22 in Gruenheide, Germany.Patrick Pluel / Pool/AFP via Getty Images, file

Elon Musk isn't joining Twitter's board of directors after all

There's no telling why he decided not to serve on Twitter's board, but his potential influence is still cause for concern.


Elon Musk, Twitter's largest shareholder and infamous internet troll, will no longer join the company’s board of directors, the company’s CEO announced Sunday. 

The news is sure to inspire speculation about what influence Musk will ultimately wield over the company. But thus far, there’s no telling what bearing, if any, this announcement will have on that front. 

CEO Parag Agrawal said Musk’s addition to the board was meant to take effect Saturday following a background check and Musk's formal acceptance, “but Elon shared that same morning that he will no longer be joining the board.” 

As I reported last week, there are several reasons why Musk’s involvement with Twitter should cause concern: He’s used the platform to spread baseless allegations; he's proven to be keen on collecting massive amounts of data; and his car company, Tesla, has faced a spate of racial discrimination allegations. Considering Twitter executives were ready to welcome him to the board anyway, it’s not clear what exactly scared Musk off here. 

Perhaps it was the mandatory background check. Or maybe it was the fact that Twitter caps ownership stake at 14.9 percent for all board members, meaning Musk could own a larger stake if he wasn't on the board. Or maybe it was the sheer optics of one of the world’s worst Twitter trolls seeming to take the reins at a company facing widespread condemnation for allowing harassment and disinformation on its site

Regardless of whether he sits on the company’s board, Musk’s proximity to its higher-ups means none of us should expect his Twitter antics to subside. In the past week, he’s liked posts antagonizing Twitter employees and publicly wondered if the company’s offices should be transformed into a homeless shelter. 

Perhaps, those are the behaviors Agrawal thinks “will make us [Twitter] stronger in the long-term.”

In the meantime, these behaviors — and Musk’s influence on the company — are making the site insufferable. All the more reason to take my advice and spend less time on the platform.