A surprising group of billionaires and other notables urged SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk to make a bid to buy Twitter after becoming disenchanted with the direction of the social media giant.
According to The Wall Street Journal, among those who encouraged him behind the scenes were former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, investor and PayPal founder Peter Thiel, entrepreneur David Sacks and other libertarian-leaning notables.
“He was tweeting an average of nine times a day in 2020 when former Twitter executives say they became aware of his budding friendship with then-CEO Mr. Dorsey,” The Journal said.
The paper added:
While Mr. Dorsey was on stage at a Twitter all-hands event in Houston in early 2020, he called Mr. Musk on FaceTime. Mr. Dorsey plugged his iPad into the stage’s jumbo screen, and employees cheered as Mr. Musk’s face lighted up the room.
Mr. Dorsey asked Mr. Musk to choose a single tweet to represent himself.
“I put the art in fart,” replied Mr. Musk, then 48 years old.
The two billionaires occasionally replied to each other on Twitter, and often traded private messages. One former Twitter executive said Mr. Dorsey would sometimes appear to space out in meetings because he was messaging Mr. Musk during the workday.
The two men’s shared interests, the former executives said, included exploring whether Twitter could be run more effectively as a private company, as it had been for its first seven years, after Mr. Dorsey launched it with several co-founders. Messrs. Dorsey and Musk were focused primarily on Twitter’s role as a potential public good, rather than a business focused on short-term profits.
After his exit, Mr. Dorsey turned openly critical of the company and its board of directors, many of whom he put in their roles.
Next came the suspension and ban of then-President Donald Trump following the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol Building from Twitter and other major social media platforms, all of which blamed him for inciting the incident.
Dorsey was initially against suspending Trump but eventually ceded to pressure from the Twitter board, but Musk never did see the ban as fair, the WSJ notes.
“He vehemently disagrees with censoring. Especially for a sitting president. Insane,” Jared Birchall, who serves as the head of the Musk’s personal investment office, said in a text message to an associate.
And the paper added: “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.”
For the time being anyway, Trump has said he has no plans to return to Twitter, preferring instead to remain on his newly created Twitter-like platform, Truth Social.
“I am not going on Twitter, I am going to stay on TRUTH,” Trump told Fox News last week. “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.”