Twitter co-founder welcomes Elon Musk deal: ‘This is the right path’

Jack Dorsey says the social media network will no longer be in the hands of ‘Wall Street and the ad model’ thanks to the acquisition agreement

Elon Musk Twitter
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey in November 2018.PRAKASH SINGH (AFP)

It was a busy Monday for Twitter employees around the world. The arrival of billionaire Elon Musk at the helm of the technology company after weeks of tension has triggered an outpouring of responses – some more positive than others. A group of Twitter workers in Asia celebrated the news of the $44 billion acquisition deal by posting a photo of a bottle of sake. While Jack Dorsey, one of the four founders of the social network, showed his support by sharing the Radiohead song Everything In Its Right Place.

In the following thread, he explained: “Twitter as a company has always been my sole issue and my biggest regret. It has been owned by Wall Street and the ad model. Taking it back from Wall Street is the correct first step.”

Dorsey said that while he didn’t believe “anyone should own or run Twitter,” Musk is “the singular solution” to this issue. “I trust his mission to extend the light of consciousness,” added Dorsey, who stepped down as Twitter CEO in December. His leadership of the company was widely criticized by a group of so-called “activist investors,” who demanded his resignation, claiming his poor management had led to stagnated growth and revenue.

Dorsey then passed the baton to Parag Agrawal, a Stanford graduate programmer who had been chief technology officer for a decade. Both will benefit from Musk’s arrival at the company. Dorsey retains 2.25% of shares, so he could see his fortune rise to $975 million dollars once the offer of $54.20 per share is finalized. Agrawal would receive $39 million.

Dorsey said Monday night that Twitter is now entering a new stage. In this chapter, Agrawal will work with Musk on a single mission: to enhance Twitter as “public good” and address long-standing problems at the company.

“Elon’s goal of creating a platform that is ‘maximally trusted and broadly inclusive’ is the right one. This is also Agrawal’s goal, and why I chose him. Thank you both for getting the company out of an impossible situation. This is the right path,” said Dorsey, who ended his thread on a positive note: “I’m so happy Twitter will continue to serve the public conversation.”

This is not the first time Dorsey has publicly praised the richest man on the planet, one who is also a champion of the libertarian values so popular among Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. In February 2019, when journalist and tech analyst Kara Swisher asked on Twitter who was the most influential figure on the social media network, Dorsey replied Musk. He explained: “He’s focused on solving existential problems and sharing his thinking openly. I respect that a lot, and all the ups and downs that come with it.” Musk replied: “Thanks Jack, Twitter rocks!”

Musk has also spoken about his unguarded way of using Twitter. In a recent TED Talk to explain his interest in buying Twitter, the Tesla founder explained: “I tweet stream of consciousness more or less. It’s not like, ‘Let me think of a big plan for my Twitter,’ or anything like that. I’m literally on the toilet and I’m like, ‘Oh that’s funny,’ and then I tweet that, you know?” The memes and jokes that Musk has published – then deleted – attest to this process.

In January 2020, Dorsey invited Musk to a company event and asked him how Twitter could improve. The billionaire replied that it was important to get rid of the bots and fake accounts that can affect public debate. This idea has been repeated by Musk in recent days, suggesting that this could be one of his first steps.

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