Elon Musk has at least one friend on Twitter’s board — Jack Dorsey
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey has a high opinion of Elon Musk, who just proposed a plan to purchase the social network and take it private
On Thursday, the Twitter Inc. board convened an emergency meeting to weigh Elon Musk's $43 billion proposal to take the social media company private. The board has not yet said publicly what it will do with the offer.
But at least one member, Jack Dorsey, has warmly embraced Musk's proposals in the past.
Dorsey, a Twitter co-founder and former chief executive, has praised Musk and described him as a favorite “influential” tweeter. He's also invited Musk to Twitter to discuss product ideas. The two share an affinity for cryptocurrencies and making Twitter's software and content moderation decisions more transparent.
“One of the things I think Twitter should do is open source the algorithm,” Musk said on Thursday afternoon at the TED conference in Vancouver after announcing his bid. The Tesla Inc. CEO said that Twitter's system for moderating and promoting media operated as a “black box.” He added, “That can be quite dangerous.”
As Twitter CEO, Dorsey started a project to make the company's technology open for public experimentation, although that effort hasn't produced much to date. Since leaving the role, last year, he has tweeted frequently about the damage of centralized, corporate control over web services. “I realize I'm partially to blame, and I regret it,” he wrote on April 2, several weeks after Musk had begun quietly buying company shares.
Dorsey, whose leadership was heavily scrutinized during an activist campaign from Elliot Management Corp., stepped down as CEO late last year and is set to leave the Twitter board this year. (He still runs Block Inc.) After Twitter invited Musk to join its board—but before Musk and Twitter reversed that plan—Dorsey said he had wanted the fellow billionaire as a director for “a long time.”
Other members of Twitter's board, which includes three former Google executives and the Salesforce.com Inc. co-CEO, Bret Taylor, shared welcome notes to Musk when he was set to join, followed by the note that he was not joining.
It's not clear if Dorsey and Musk see eye-to-eye on content moderation. With Dorsey at the helm, Twitter permanently banned former President Donald Trump after the Capitol riots, though Dorsey delegated most of the moderation decisions to his legal deputy, Vijaya Gadde.
At the TED conference, Musk said that Twitter should obey the laws of the countries where it operates, and noted that he was opposed to “permanent bans.” But he didn't articulate a very robust content policy philosophy. “If it's a gray area, let the Tweet exist,” Musk said, before adding. “I'm not saying I have all the answers here.”
Dorsey, like Musk, is a prolific tweeter. He has not posted anything since Musk announced his takeover bid.