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Twitter's San Francisco headquarters. Photo by Bloomberg.

What Musk Brings to Twitter

Photo: Twitter's San Francisco headquarters. Photo by Bloomberg.

Elon Musk’s decision to plunge himself into the corporate morass that is Twitter, in a way that could spark a fight with securities regulators, suggests the Tesla CEO is a little bored and looking for a new distraction. The timing makes sense. After years of nail-biting struggle, Tesla is finally in a good place: It’s making real money. Meanwhile, his aerospace firm, SpaceX, is chugging along, even if it hasn’t made it to Mars yet. So it’s not a big surprise that Musk feels he has time to devote to Twitter—and not just as a user but as a director, which he became today.

But is Musk what Twitter needs? Twitter has struggled with uneven user growth and a spotty advertising business. As a Twitter power user, Musk likely knows what irritates people who use the service. And he can bring some much-needed energy to the company. Then again, he’s hardly an expert in internet advertising. And his absolutist free-speech stance won’t necessarily help bring in more advertisers (particularly if it ends with, say, a return of Donald Trump to Twitter). Plus, Musk is a loose cannon, which might complicate things. You have to wonder what Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal—whom Musk recently appeared to liken to Stalin—really thinks about having Musk on board.

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