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Elon Musk’s texts on Twitter: the big conclusions

HHundreds of Elon Musk’s private text messages on Twitter were made public Thursday in a Delaware court filing, part of a pile of evidence in Twitter’s upcoming legal case against the Tesla CEO.

Musk’s texts offer a rare glimpse into the private conversations of the man at the center of a business that took the world by storm. Most of the messages were sent in March and April of this year, a period in which Musk began publicly criticizing Twitter on a regular basis, announced that he had taken a minority stake in the company, agreed to join its board, then left. backed out and made a $44 billion hostile takeover bid. before trying to back out of the deal.

Twitter is now suing Musk in an attempt to force him to honor their agreement, finalized in April, to buy Twitter. In his bid to get out of the deal, Musk argues that Twitter misled him about the number of fake accounts on his platform. The trial is scheduled to begin on October 1. 17

Read more: Whether or not he buys Twitter, Elon Musk has thrown the company into turmoil

The texts reveal how Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey applauded Musk’s effort to buy and reform the platform behind the scenes, and attempted to heal Musk’s deteriorating relationship with Parag Agrawal, Dorsey’s successor as Twitter CEO.

They also show how, at the same time he was applying for funding for his Twitter deal, Musk was contemplating a “Plan B” to turn the platform into a blockchain-based social network. The messages suggest that Musk became angry with that plan after concluding that it would be unfeasible.

The text messages reveal that Musk’s contact list is a who’s who of business titans and media personalities, many of whom scrambled to offer him their two cents when his plans for Twitter became public.

Here are the big takeaways from Elon Musk’s Twitter text messages.

The behind-the-scenes role of Jack Dorsey

The texts reveal how Dorsey had lobbied for months on Twitter to give Musk a seat on the company’s board. On March 26, after Musk sent a series of tweets Criticizing Twitter’s focus on free speech and asking if a new platform was needed, Dorsey sent Musk a series of messages urging Musk to “help” turn the company around.

“You care so much, you understand its importance, and you could definitely help in immeasurable ways,” Dorsey wrote to Musk.

Dorsey told Musk that in 2021, while he was still CEO, he had tried to convince Twitter’s board to give Musk a seat, but decided to resign after the directors refused. The board deemed it too risky to give Musk a seat, Dorsey’s texts say. “That’s the moment I decided I needed to work to go [Twitter], as hard as it was for me,” Dorsey told Musk in the messages. (Dorsey resigned as CEO of Twitter in November 2021 and resigned from his board in May 2022.)

Meanwhile, Musk’s tweets about Twitter’s future appear to have prompted the company’s board of directors to reevaluate their opposition to the billionaire taking a seat. Days later, according to the texts, Musk met with Agrawal and Twitter chairman Bret Taylor for dinner at a quirky AirBnB in San Jose, California, surrounded by abandoned tractors, donkeys and trucks.

“Great dinner :)” Musk texted a group chat afterwards.

“Really cool,” Taylor responded. “The dystopian donkeys and surveillance helicopters really added to the vibe.”

“Memorable for multiple reasons. I really enjoyed it,” Agrawal said.

Two days later, Dorsey texted Musk. “I hear good things are happening,” she said.

Read more: Elon Musk is convinced that he is the future. We need to look beyond it

The next day, April 4, Musk publicly announced that he had been buying shares of Twitter since January and had amassed a nearly 10% stake in the company. The next day, Agrawal tweeted a statement saying that Musk had agreed to join Twitter’s board.

After the news was announced, Dorsey criticized the board in a message to Musk. “Thanks for joining!” hey wrote. “Parag is an amazing engineer. The board is terrible. Always here to talk about whatever you want.

“I couldn’t be happier that you’re doing this,” Dorsey added. “I have wanted it for a long time. I was very excited when I found out that it was finally possible.”

Musk’s relationship with Parag Agrawal sours

The texts provide a behind-the-scenes look at how Musk’s conversations with the Twitter CEO quickly deteriorated.

The pair had a cordial exchange in which they bonded over a shared love of coding and engineering. I have a lot of ideas, but [let me know] if I’m pushing too hard,” Musk wrote to Agrawal on April 7. “I just want Twitter to be the most amazing thing.”

But two days later, after more tweets from Musk publicly criticizing Twitter, Agrawal sent him a terse message. “You are free to tweet ‘Is Twitter dying?’ or anything else about Twitter, but it’s my responsibility to tell you that it’s not helping me improve Twitter in the current context,” Agrawal wrote. “The next time we talk, I’d like to […] give you some perspective on the level of internal distraction right now and how it’s affecting our ability to work.”

“What did you do this week?” Musk responded.

“I will not be joining the board,” Musk added in a follow-up message. “This is a waste of time. I’ll make an offer to make Twitter private.”

When Musk began soliciting cash from bankers and other tech billionaires to finance his acquisition, the court document shows Dorsey attempting to repair the damage between Musk and Agrawal.

“I just want to do this amazing thing and feel compelled to do it,” Dorsey wrote to Musk on April 26, after he agreed to join a group call with Agrawal. “I will not let this fail and I will do whatever it takes. It’s too critical for humanity.”

Read more: Twitter whistleblower needs you to trust him

Subsequent messages suggest that the attempt failed. “You and I are in complete agreement,” Musk wrote Dorsey after the call. “Parag is just moving too slow and trying to please people who are not going to be happy no matter what he does.”

“At least it was made clear that they can’t work together,” Dorsey replied. “That was clarifying.”

How Musk originated on the blockchain

Another big takeaway from the texts is that Musk was weighing an ill-fated plan to turn Twitter into a blockchain-based platform, even after he had decided to mount a hostile takeover of the company.

“I have an idea for a blockchain social media system that does both payments and short text messages/links like Twitter,” Musk texted his brother, Kimbal Musk, on April 9. “You have to pay a small amount to register your message in the chain, which will eliminate the vast majority of spam and bots. There is no throat to choke, so freedom of expression is guaranteed.”

Musk said he had a “Plan-B” for Twitter based on the blockchain. “My Plan-B is a blockchain-based version of Twitter, where ‘tweets’ are embedded in the transaction as comments,” he wrote in an April 14 message to Steve Davis, CEO of Boring Company, a drilling company. Musk tunnels. “So you would have to pay maybe 0.1 Doge per comment or resubmission of that comment.” Dogecoin, or Doge, is a fake cryptocurrency, named after a meme about a dog. Musk repeatedly tweeted about investing in the digital currency in 2021, causing its value to rise briefly before crashing.

But just 11 days later, Musk seemed to have changed his mind. Musk received a text message from a middleman saying he represented the billionaire CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried. The broker said that Bankman-Fried could offer Musk up to $5 billion in financing for his Twitter acquisition if Musk agreed to let him “do the engineering for social media blockchain integration.”

“Blockchain Twitter is not possible,” Musk replied. “The bandwidth and latency requirements can’t be supported by a peer-to-peer network, unless those ‘peers’ are absolutely gigantic, which defeats the purpose of a decentralized network.”

Musk still agreed to meet with Bankman-Fried, but on one condition: “As long as he doesn’t have to have a laborious blockchain discussion.” (Bankman-Fried did not end up contributing money to Musk’s offer on Twitter.)

Musk’s inbox is exploding with big-name messages

As Musk’s plans for Twitter began to dominate the news cycle, his inbox began to fill with messages from public figures, including interview requests from high-profile journalists, outreach from fixers who claim to represent politicians, and commitments. informal from some of the biggest in Silicon Valley. investors to help finance the acquisition of Twitter.

CBS This Morning co-anchor Gayle King texted Musk on April 14. “ELON! Are you buying Twitter or offering to buy Twitter…Wow!” she says her message. “Now, don’t you think we should sit together face to face? This is, as today’s kids say, a ‘gangsta movement.’” The message continued: “I don’t know how the shareholders reject this. Like I said, you’re not like the other kids in the class.

Read more: A Complete Timeline of Elon Musk’s Business Endeavors

The court filing shows Musk soliciting billions of dollars in funding directly, through informal messages with tech CEOs. On April 20, Musk texted Oracle CEO Larry Ellison to ask if he would be interested in contributing funds to his Twitter acquisition. An hour later, Ellison had offered him a billion dollars. (Ellison complied, according to Bloomberg.)

Other business heavyweights whose messages appear in the presentation include Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, media investor James Murdoch and Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff. (Benioff is the owner and co-chairman of TIME.)

Musk’s inbox was also filled with messages from people on the outspoken political right, who seemed enthusiastic about his public statements criticizing Twitter for being too left-wing.

“Are you going to rid Twitter of the happy mob of censorship?” asked podcast host Joe Rogan in a message dated April 4.

“I will provide advice that you can choose to follow or not,” Musk replied.

And Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor of Florida, who was running to run for president in 2024, appeared to communicate through an intermediary. “Governor DeSantis just called me with ideas on how to help him,” Joe Lonsdale, a venture capitalist, wrote in a message to Musk on April 16. “Let me know if you or someone on your side wants to talk. [with] to the.”

“Haha, great,” Musk responded.

More must-read stories from TIME


write to Billy Perrigo at billy.perrigo@time.com.


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