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Elon Musk says he will not join the Twitter board after all

GRUENHEIDE, GERMANY - MARCH 22: Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks during the official opening of the new Tesla electric car manufacturing plant on March 22, 2022 near Gruenheide, Germany. The new plant, officially called the Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg, is producing the Model Y as well as electric car batteries. (Photo by Christian Marquardt - Pool/Getty Images)
Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks during the official opening of the new Tesla electric car manufacturing plant on March 22, 2022 near Gruenheide, Germany.

Elon Musk has decided not to join Twitter's board, the company said on Sunday, less than a week after the billionaire Tesla CEO disclosed he is the social media company's largest shareholder and was offered a seat.

Musk's appointment was set to become official on Saturday, but he told Twitter that morning he would not join, Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal tweeted late on Sunday.

Agrawal did not say whether Musk had given a reason for the reversal. He noted that the board appointment was contingent on a background check as well as a formal acceptance by Musk.

"I believe this is for the best," Agrawal said in a note to staff shared in his tweet. "We have and will always value input from our shareholders whether they are on our board or not. Elon is our biggest shareholder and we will remain open to his input."

"There will be distractions ahead," he continued, but urged staff to "tune out the noise."

Shortly after Agrawal's announcement, Musk tweeted an emoji of a face with a hand over its mouth. He didn't reply to a request for comment.

Musk becomes increasingly critical of Twitter

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO is a prolific Twitter user but has also become an increasingly vocal critic of the platform in recent months. He's criticized the way the company enforces its rules about what people cannot say on the platform, suggesting it has failed to "adhere to free speech principles," and has asked whether it should make its algorithm open source.

After Musk revealed last Monday that he had taken a 9% stake in Twitter and the company invited him to join the board, both he and Agrawal said they looked forward to working together on the company's future.

Twitter shares soared last week following the news of Musk's investment. As part of his agreement to join the board, Musk had promised not to increase his stake to more than 14.9 percent.

Musk spent much of Saturday tweeting about Twitter. "Is Twitter dying?" he mused in one tweet, pointing out that some of the most-followed users rarely post.

He also floated ideas to get rid of ads for paying subscribers, suggested the company's San Francisco headquarters be turned into a homeless shelter "since no one shows up anyway," and asked his followers in a poll, "Delete the w in twitter?" (The possible answers: "Yes" and "Of course".) Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.