A few days before the opening of the trial between Elon Musk and Twitter, the Court of Delaware publishes numerous exchanges of the billionaire with his relatives, including the founder of Twitter.
These are private exchanges, which are now accessible to everyone. In recent hours, the Court of Delaware has published a document containing hundreds of text messages between Elon Musk, some of his friends and businessmen. The transcripts begin on January 21, 2022 and shed another light on the crazy scenario of Elon Musk’s announcement of the takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk on April 25, then his retraction on July 8, 2022.
The Tesla and SpaceX boss will face Twitter shareholders on October 17. The latter want to force him to buy the company as he had promised, for 44 billion dollars. Musk wants to abandon the operation, because of what he describes as lies on the part of Twitter teams about the proportion of fake accounts on the social network.
As he had mentioned publicly, freedom of expression is one of Elon Musk’s main motivations, despite a margin of maneuver that would have been limited in the case of the takeover of Twitter. In the first exchanges with friends, Elon Musk returns to the blocking of the state channel RT, imposed on all European operators during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“I find their info rather entertaining. There is a lot of bullshit, but also good things” writes Elon Musk. “Freedom of expression is all the more important when it concerns someone you hate who says anything in your eyes” he continues.
End of March: “I would like to help”
On March 24, a month before the takeover announcement, Elon Musk received a joke from a friend: “Can you buy Twitter and make it go away?” “Maybe redeem it and make it more respectful of free speech?” Musk retorts.
Elon Musk also talks with Jack Dorsey, co-founder of the company, who left the ship at the end of 2021. “You need a new platform, but not a company. That’s why I left” wrote Jack Dorsey to Elon Musk on March 26. Dorsey subsequently campaigned for a solution whose code would be open, without advertising, in order to avoid any control “by advertisers and governments”. “I’d like to help if I can,” Musk replies.
An hour later, Elon Musk is already presenting a new vision of things: “I think we have to try to put Twitter back on the right track” wants to believe Musk. “That’s probably the best option. I have my doubts, but I remain open” replies Dorsey, visibly skeptical.
The next day, Elon Musk joins a conversation with several Twitter executives, starting with his new director Parag Agrawal. On April 3, the latter looks forward to working with Elon Musk as part of his arrival on the company’s board of directors, with the aim of improving the platform. He will make the official announcement two days later. “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” rejoices Jack Dorsey.
Early April: first tensions
For three days, multiple exchanges attest to the good relations between Musk and Twitter executives, with whom he discusses multiple ideas for technical developments. Things get tough quickly when Elon Musk tweets “Is Twitter dying?” on April 9.
“You’re free to tweet ‘Is Twitter dying’ or anything else about Twitter, but it’s my responsibility to tell you that it doesn’t help me improve Twitter in the current context” then sends him Parag Agrawal. “I won’t join the board, it’s a waste of time,” Musk replies dryly, who will carry out his threat two days later, without losing his interest in the company.
On April 9, before his takeover proposal, Elon Musk addresses the issue of fake accounts, which he will nevertheless mention to justify his withdrawal from the operation. He evokes the need to take Twitter out of the stock exchange, to act more freely. “Removing fake users will lead to catastrophic numbers,” he anticipates.
The many messages that follow mention the contours of the operation itself, when Elon Musk is looking for associates, but also when some of his relatives apply to run Twitter. On April 26, when the board of directors had just accepted Elon Musk’s takeover offer, Jack Dorsey sent him encouraging text messages, presenting Parag Agrawal as a good performer if he wanted to change the social network.
“He’s really good at getting things done when given specific direction,” Dorsey said. However, no exchange between Musk and Agrawal is subsequently reported in the document, which recounts text messages sent until June 17, 2022, a month after Elon Musk announced the suspension of the operation and three weeks before the announcement of its final cancellation.