For Twitter’s newest board member, an edit button is no joke

Twitter’s latest board member.
Twitter’s latest board member.
Image: Reuters/Mike Blake/File Photo
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Twitter is appointing Elon Musk to its board after he bought more than 9% of the company, CEO Parag Agrawal said today (April 5).

With the appointment, Twitter may be trying to ensure that its largest individual shareholder doesn’t secure an even bigger stake in the company. The agreement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) stipulates that so long as Musk is serving on the board or for 90 days thereafter, he will not, “either alone or as a member of a group, become the beneficial owner of more than 14.9 percent of Company’s common stock outstanding.”

Even so, both Agrawal and former CEO Jack Dorsey voiced encouragement for Musk, who is already pollingTwitter users about a long-requested change to the platform.

Musk polls users on an edit button

The Tesla CEO’s first order of business as a Twitter board member was to poll users about the potential addition of an edit button.

On April 1 last week, Twitter said it was working on an edit button—presumably an April Fools’ joke—but Agrawal told users to take Musk’s poll seriously. The platform’s paywalled product Twitter Blue already has a feature that gives users up to a 60-second grace period to undo or fix tweets, and any Twitter user can simply delete a tweet if they decide it’s a bad idea.

Twitter users have previously asked the company for an edit button to fix typos or correct mistakes, particularly when tweets go viral. Facebook has a feature that allows users to see the edit history of posts when they are changed.

As of this morning, US eastern time, a majority of users appear to have voted in favor of an edit button.

Becoming the Twitter sitter?

Musk is currently in a battle with the SEC to get rid of his “Twitter sitter,” a lawyer who is required to sign off on any Musk tweets that contain material information for Tesla shareholders. The sitter is part of a settlement Tesla and its CEO reached with the SEC after he tweeted in 2018 that he could take the company private, even though a deal was far from certain.

If Musk was hoping to free himself of SEC oversight by becoming a Twitter shareholder, he may have actually waded further into the agency’s crosshairs. When the Tesla CEO polled users about Twitter’s adherence to free speech principles on March 25, he failed to disclose he had already bought a stake in the company more than 10 days ago—a violation of SEC rules.