A few days before he publicly announced his investment On Twitter, Elon Musk chatted with Jack Dorsey. The former Twitter CEO has suggested he no longer believes in the company he founded, according to new court filings in the legal battle between Musk and Twitter.
Musk quietly began building a large Twitter presence in January. In a March 26 text, Dorsey told Musk that “a new platform is needed. It cannot be a companion. That’s why I left.”
Musk, an avid Twitter user who often appears to be friends with Dorsey, responded by asking what the platform should look like. Dorsey explained his thoughts that it should be an “open source protocol” and not rely on an “advertising model” like Twitter currently does. Dorsey added that Twitter “should never have been a company” and that “it was an original sin.”
Musk expressed his interest in promoting this idea. In a text later that day, he said, “I think it’s worth both moving Twitter in a better direction and doing something new that’s decentralized.”
Private exchanges between Dorsey and Musk are among multiple text messages released in court filings this week that offer new insights into the Tesla CEO’s $44 billion deal to buy Twitter and his subsequent attempt to back out of the deal. The messages also offer a unique window into Silicon Valley deals, as a rotating group of billionaires and industry executives access Musk’s text messages to discuss Twitter and, in some cases, casually offer financial backing for a deal.
In the days following his private conversation with Dorsey, Musk met with Twitter’s board and management. On April 5, Musk agreed to join the company’s board, a move Dorsey has publicly and privately defended. In a text exchange with Musk later that day, Dorsey expressed his confidence in his successor, Parag Agrawal, as CEO of Twitter. Agrawal also expressed his excitement about Musk joining the board in private texts.
But the relationship between Musk and the Twitter CEO quickly soured.
On April 9, Musk tweeted, “Is Twitter dying?” he wrote his question. Agrawal followed up with a text to Musk later that day, telling him that such comments would make life difficult for the CEO.
“Are you saying, ‘Twitter is dying?’ you are free to tweet. or anything else about Twitter,” Agrawal said in a text to Musk, “but I have a responsibility that doesn’t help me improve Twitter in the current context. Next time we talk, I’d like you to introduce yourself [your] perspective on the level of internal distraction and how [it’s] it’s hurting our ability to do business… I’d like to see the company get to a place where we’re more sustainable and less distracted, but we’re not there right now.”
Musk replied briefly: “What did you do this week?” In two subsequent texts, he revoked his agreement to join the council, saying, “I’m not joining the council. It’s a waste of time.” He added: “Will offer to make Twitter private.”
“Fixing Twitter by talking to Parag isn’t going to work,” said Musk, speaking separately to Twitter chairman Bret Taylor on the same day. I added to the following text: “A drastic action is needed.”
Musk and Twitter announced the purchase agreement April 25. A little more than two months later, Musk said I wanted to get out of the contract, citing concerns about the number of bots and spam accounts on the platform. Twitter later sued Musk to force him to honor the agreement.
Both sides are set to go to trial over the deal next month.
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