Twitter has announced it is appointing Elon Musk to its board the day after the world’s richest person was revealed to be the social media platform’s biggest shareholder with a 9.2% stake.
Parag Agrawal, the Twitter chief executive, said on Tuesday that he was “excited” to announce that Musk was joining the company’s board of directors. “Through conversations with Elon in recent weeks, it became clear to us that he would bring great value to our board,” he said in a tweet.
Agrawal said Musk was both a “passionate believer and intense critic” of the service and that was “exactly what we need on @Twitterand in the boardroom, to make us stronger in the long term”.
Musk, who has more than 80 million followers on Twitter, said he was “looking forward to working” with the board “to make significant improvements to Twitter in coming months”.
Twitter said on Tuesday it has been working on an edit button since last year and will test the feature with select Twitter Blue members in coming months.
The company said in a tweet that it did not get the idea for the button from a poll that Musk started, asking users of the social networking platform if they wanted the feature.
In a regulatory filing on Tuesday Twitter said it had entered into an agreement with Musk to “serve as a class two director with a term expiring at the company’s 2024 annual meeting of stockholders”.
On Monday it emerged that Musk had taken an almost $3bn (£2.3bn) stake in Twitter, a holding more than four times the 2.25% of the site’s co-founder, Jack Dorsey.
The company said Musk, either alone or as a member of a group, would not be allowed to own more than 14.9% of Twitter’s outstanding stock for as long as he was a board member and for 90 days after.
The boss of Tesla and SpaceX, who with 80.4 million followers ranks in the global Top 10 of the most popular users on the microblogging site, paid $2.89bn for the stake at Twitter’s closing share price on Friday.
The company’s shares soared by 27% on Monday after the news, adding about $8bn to its market value. In pre-market trading on Tuesday the shares were up 7% to just under $50, valuing the company at about $40bn.
Musk, whose personal fortune is estimated at $289bn – almost $100bn more than the world’s next richest person, the Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos – has often been in trouble for tweeting contentious remarks.
The Tesla boss’s many questionable Twitter moments include calling Vernon Unsworth, a diver who helped rescue a team of young football players stuck in a flooded cave in Thailand, “pedo guy” after he criticised Musk’s plan to save them with a submarine.
Musk eventually deleted the tweets and apologised to Unsworth, who sued for $190m in damages for the tweets. The jury found the Tesla boss did not defame Unsworth, and after the verdict Musk told reporters in the hallway of the courtroom: “My faith in humanity is restored.”
Musk has also found himself in trouble with the US financial markets regulator, the SEC, for posting tweets that had significant ramifications for the companies he runs.
In 2018, he posted that he had “secured” funding to take Tesla private, a move that resulted in the SEC requiring Musk to get pre-approval for certain public communications relating to the electric car company’s share price. Musk settled with the SEC, paying a $20m fine and stepping down as Tesla’s chair, while saying it was “harassment” and an “unjustified action”.
While he was under investigation by the SEC he smoked marijuana on a live web show, which resulted in a 6% fall in Tesla’s share price and the departure of two of its senior executives.