A strange week at Twitter: New shareholder and new feature coming - The UpStream

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A strange week at Twitter: New shareholder and new feature coming

posted Tuesday Apr 12, 2022 by Scott Ertz

A strange week at Twitter: New shareholder and new feature coming

The past few years have been controversial for Twitter. Some users have demanded that the company focus harder on silencing certain facts and opinions that hurt their feelings or hurt their view of the world. Others have demanded that the company stop censoring any content, no matter how ridiculous the content might be, so long as it is not directly harmful. In the past week, one vocal opponent of the way Twitter has operated its business, Elon Musk, bought a huge percentage of the company's stock in an effort to exert control over the company's policies.

Elon Musk's stock buyout

Elon Musk, famous for his current work with Tesla, SpaceX, and Boring Company, has added another title to his growing list - the largest shareholder of Twitter. This happened when Musk announced that he had purchased 9.2% of the company's common stock. This makes him the single largest shareholder, giving him great power over the company's direction. Nearly 10% of a company means that Musk will be able to drive the direction of the Board of Directors and more.

Speaking of the Board, Musk was announced to have been offered a position on the Board for himself. This would have theoretically expanded his control over the direction. However, on the day his seat was to be made available, Twitter announced that things had changed. Musk had decided not to take the seat on the Board. This led a lot of people who had hoped Musk would bring a set of more open dialog options to the platform to worry about what was happening.

The reality, however, was that there was a requirement placed on the seat that Musk was disinterested in honoring. The company wanted to limit his ability to purchase further shares of the stock. If he were to take the Board seat, he would not be able to purchase 15% or more of the public stock. Musk's decision to skip the seat suggests that he believes he will be able to purchase more stock and exert more control over the company from a stockholder perspective rather than from the Board.

A new feature emerges

Shortly after Musk announced his ownership stake in Twitter, he ran a poll. This poll asked users if they wanted an Edit button for tweets. It caused a lot of conversation, as this particular topic usually does. Many were in favor of the feature, giving users the ability to fix typos and tags. Others were entirely against the feature, as it would give people the ability to change a tweet that had been liked or retweeted after the action. Some in the middle offered a Facebook-style option where you can see an edit history.

Interestingly, after the poll ended and Musk announced that he was not joining the Twitter Board, Twitter confirmed that their April 1st tweet was real and they had been working on an Edit feature. They said that it was not in response to Musk's poll and that they've been working on it since 2021. They even included a GIF of the feature in action on the tweet for April 1.

For now, we do not know exactly how the feature might work, or whether or not they have been following the conversations around the feature. We also don't know when the feature might come to the general public, but we do know that it will be introduced to Twitters Blue Labs within the next few months to test what does and does not work.


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