Elon Musk’s text messages give us a rare glimpse into the Billionaire Boys’ Club

One Elon Musk’s treasure trove of text messages Released this week as part of Twitter’s lawsuit against the billionaire, it turned out to be a illuminating look at conversations between Musk and celebrities, journalists, Silicon Valley elites and even politicians.

Very rich and very famous people with direct ties to the Tesla CEO include Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, Salesforce founder Marc Benioff, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, Podcast Joe Roganand broadcast journalist Gail King. In the text, super-rich investors are offering billions of dollars casually to assist Musk’s efforts.Their enthusiasm for Musk’s takeover of Twitter also confirms what many have long suspected Billionaires’ interest in owning media companies: They are acutely aware that controlling a company like Twitter means being able to Shape the narrative and make an impact.

Some, like Rogan, praised Musk’s bid to acquire the social media platform. On April 4, when Musk announced his 9% stake in Twitter but had not yet made an offer to buy it outright, Rogan asked, “Are you going to free Twitter from censorship?” A few weeks later, which is On April 23, Rogan texted: “I really hope you get Twitter.”

Many of those who texted Musk responded to his public comments that free speech on twitter. Musk for more Active Content Moderation Approach That Twitter has taken –policy right-wing twitter user be denounced as discriminatory, especially given that Trump permanently suspends Twitter January 2021.

Within days of Twitter’s board announcement Accept Musk’s $44 billion offerBenioff Currently worth over $6 billionsent Musk a cryptic text about his own vision for the platform, writing on April 27, “If it’s interesting, it’s nice to talk about it: Twitter Conversational Operating System – The Key to Your Digital Life Town Square.”

Musk objected, saying, “Well, I don’t have it yet.”

The potential for some power and influence over Twitter has also attracted politicians and the media.message display, before Republican Rep. Justin Amash Wanted to talk to Musk and offer his help on “how to deal with speech and moderation”.According to text messages from Palantir co-founder Joe LonsdaleFlorida Gov. Ron DeSantis — widely seen as a potential Republican nominee 2024 presidential campaign – Supporting Musk’s acquisition of Twitter. Lonsdale floated the idea of ​​having Musk and DeSantis chat.

Hoffman and other acquaintances have discussed helping Musk buy Twitter. “$2B?” Musk surfaced after Hoffman asked how much he and his venture capital partners could put in.

“Great. Probably doable,” replied Hoffman, who ultimately didn’t invest in the deal.

The information was disclosed in court as part of the pretrial discovery process Twitter’s lawsuit against Musk Filed after Musk pulled out of a deal to buy Twitter in July for breach of contract, claiming the company had Misled him on the number of spam bots and fake accounts on its platform. In the case of Twitter, it argued that Musk backed away from the deal not because of the bots, but because of the slump in Tesla and Twitter stock. The trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 17 in Delaware Chancery Court.

The texts show that in the weeks after Musk signed the Twitter deal in late April, expressing a desire to protect free speech on the platform, his friends and colleagues eagerly (sometimes unsolicited) argued that Twitter should be in Malaysia. Suggestions were made in the direction of Ske at the helm. A man identified as BL Lee – it is unclear who that was – suggested Bill Gurley, a Venture capitalist of Uber fame, was named CEO of Twitter. At one point, Musk texted reporter Gail King, “If my bid is successful, Oprah might be interested in joining Twitter’s board.”

Many tried to introduce others who wanted to get Musk’s ear.The one most determined to meet Musk is Billionaire philanthropist Sam Bankman-Friedfounder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX.

The original volley came from Oxford philosopher Will MacAskill, one of the group’s founders. effective altruism movementwho Musk said about the idea close bond with oneself. MacAskill revealed that Bankman-Fried has been interested in acquiring Twitter for some time and is interested in a “possible joint effort.”

“Does he have a lot of money?” Musk asked.

“Depends on how you define ‘huge’!” McAskill replied. “His value was $24B, and his early employees (with shared values) raised it to $30B.” Musk is the richest man in the world, currently Worth about $252 billionaccording to Forbes.

That’s how some of the textual conversations between Musk and his colleagues went.Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison Contributed $1 billion to Twitter dealstold Musk in a text that he was ready to “do as you suggest.”

Bankman-Fried, too effective altruismHave previously tweeted about How a decentralized twitter that exists on the blockchain works, and how to monetize it.In recent years, he has also become a major Democratic donor and has been lobbying for change in Washington Cryptocurrency Regulations.

Philosopher MacAskill pointed out to Musk that Bankman-Fried would “easily” put in $1 to $3 billion — and even contribute as much as $15 billion, but that would likely require financing.

While the billionaire in Musk’s text message was enthusiastic about his bid, many others — including twitter users and free speech advocate – Alert if not outright alert. Twitter is a platform hundreds of millions of users — though Musk might dispute that — especially used by reporters to share and discuss the news of the day.For them, the prospect of Twitter led by an outspoken billionaire is Frequent criticism of the media and journalists worry.

But some media moguls didn’t immediately reject the idea. Mathias Döpfner, CEO German media group Axel SpringerThe company, which owns media such as Business Insider and Politico, would even be willing to run Twitter for Musk if he bought it. “This will be a real contribution to democracy,” Doffner texted in late March, weeks before Musk offered to buy the site.

Even the Murdoch family, descendants of conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch, appeared in the text. On April 26, Rupert Murdoch’s youngest son, James Murdoch, a Tesla board director, told Musk that he would call “when the dust settles.”his wife Katherine Murdoch Philanthropist and Activist who Politics differs from her father-in-lawasked Musk if he would bring back Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, who he Leaving the company in 2021 Focus on other projects. “Jack doesn’t want to come back,” Musk replied. However, Dorsey did exchange several text messages with Musk discussing their shared vision for improving Twitter.

These backroom deals reveal how fast and easy it is for a small group of wealthy elites to invest billions to help acquire a public company. Used by hundreds of millions And a place to come together as individuals to find a community around a shared passion, belief, or goal. It is a powerful tool for spreading news and information. The billionaire’s interest in helping buy Twitter isn’t just about taking a share of the equity pie. The texts suggest that for many in Musk’s elite circle, it’s important to have a say in what Twitter will look like in the future — a “free speech” town square that will conveniently continue to have the biggest megaphone .

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