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‘Shadow Crew’ of Billionaires Influenced Elon Musk To Make a Play For Twitter: Report

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


A “shadow crew” of fellow billionaires and other influencers reportedly put the bug in SpaceX and Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk’s ear to make a bid to buy Twitter, including the platform’s founder.

According to The Wall Street Journal, “As Elon Musk’s crusade against Twitter Inc. escalated from a war of words to a full-on takeover, he was egged on behind the scenes by a mix of voices—from fellow billionaires to internet trolls—with their own beefs with the social-media platform.

“In Mr. Musk, a serial entrepreneur with a hard Twitter habit, these men found a vessel for pent-up animosity over the company’s content moderation and management. One of them had a very personal stake: Twitter’s co-founder and former Chief Executive Jack Dorsey, who resigned last year under pressure from his board, was whispering in Mr. Musk’s ear that Twitter should be a private company, people familiar with the matter say,” the report continued.

And now that Twitter’s board of directors has agreed to accept Musk’s $44 billion buyout offer, the world’s richest man is currently poised to act on past grievances while modeling the platform in his own vision.

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The WSJ said that Musk did not agree to be interviewed for the story, “The Shadow Crew Who Encouraged Elon Musk’s Twitter Takeover,” adding that it’s not clear if he actually took the advice of those who were prodding him or followed his own instinct. And he’s also not been exactly clear about his plans for Twitter if the deal actually gets done, as expected.

But, the paper noted, “People who have spoken to him and his team recently say Mr. Musk remains dismayed that former President Donald Trump is still barred from the platform.”

“He vehemently disagrees with censoring. Especially for a sitting president. Insane,” Jared Birchall, who serves as the head of Musk’s personal investment office, said in a text message to an associate.

As for who may have influenced Musk, the WSJ adds:

Before and during Mr. Musk’s breakneck takeover of Twitter, a close-knit group of libertarian-leaning activists and businessmen have been encouraging him to get involved. This group includes the so-called PayPal mafia—former executives at the online payments company who include Mr. Musk, the investor Peter Thiel and entrepreneur David Sacks—as well as ancillary figures like the venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson, an early Tesla investor who once served on the auto maker’s board; and Mr. Musk’s brother, Kimbal, a Tesla board member, according to people familiar with the matter.

Their involvement—and Mr. Musk’s continued willingness to hear them out—may help explain one of the great mysteries of his Twitter obsession: With all the problems in the world, why has Mr. Musk decided he alone can fix it?

Musk has dropped a few hints as to what some of his plans for the platform may be including getting rid of bot accounts and making ‘real-person’ verification easier.

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As for former President Trump, he is apparently content to remain off of Twitter, telling Fox News in an interview last week he has no plans to ask to rejoin the platform if Musk is successful in buying it. Rather, he said, he’ll focus on his own new platform, TRUTH Social.

The 45th president, once a prolific Twitter user, told Fox News that he will formally join his own TRUTH Social over the next week.

“I am not going on Twitter, I am going to stay on TRUTH,” Trump said. “I hope Elon buys Twitter because he’ll make improvements to it and he is a good man, but I am going to be staying on TRUTH.”

“We’re taking in millions of people, and what we’re finding is that the response on TRUTH is much better than being on Twitter,” Trump said. “Twitter has bots and fake accounts, and we are doing everything we can.”

He added: “The bottom line is, no, I am not going back to Twitter.”

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