“Decisions regarding Twitter’s future governance will undoubtedly be consequential for public discourse in the United States,” according to the letter addressed to Twitter Chair Bret Taylor and signed by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and 17 others. The letter was first reported by CNBC.
Twitter declined to comment on the request.
On Thursday, Musk said he had secured $46.5 billion in financing to support his bid for the social media platform. The Tesla chief executive launched his hostile takeover bid earlier this month, saying he thinks Twitter is essential to a functioning democracy.
Musk has spent weeks opining on the necessity of “free speech” on the platform, taking issue with permanent bans and calling for Twitter to make its algorithm public. Ranked by Bloomberg as the richest man in the world ― with a net worth of $260 billion as of Friday ― Musk is one of Twitter’s most popular users with nearly 83 million followers.
Many Republicans, including Jordan and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), have cheered Musk’s bid, characterizing the billionaire as a crusader for free speech. Meanwhile, followers of QAnon and other far-right conspiracy theorists believe, without evidence, that Musk might merge Twitter with former president Donald Trump’s troubled Truth Social network.
Tensions have been brewing between Republicans and Twitter for years, with conservatives accusing the site of censoring their voices. Trump was permanently banned two days after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection for appearing to encourage the Capitol rioters. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) was also permanently banned for spreading coronavirus misinformation.
Some Tesla investors have also bristled at Musk’s bid because they say it distracts from his responsibilities as chief executive and could slow momentum at one of the world’s most valuable automakers. And internally, Twitter employees have raised concerns about Musk’s potential effect on the culture.
Twitter is known for its progressive workforce and flexible work environment. Musk, on the other hand, has appeared to mock gender pronouns and peddled coronavirus misinformation. Tesla has been the target of multiple lawsuits for alleged racial discrimination and sexual harassment.
In the letter Friday, Republicans argued that the board’s reaction to Musk’s bid and “outsider opposition” against him have been “concerning.”
Twitter has yet to issue a formal response, but last week it enacted a “poison pill” strategy that would be triggered if Musk — who owns more than 9 percent of the shares — crosses a 15 percent threshold. If activated, it would allow other Twitter shareholders to buy additional stock at a discount; those shares would then trade at a value of twice their sale price. The flood of new shares would dilute Musk’s stake in the company and make owning it prohibitively expensive.
“Twitter’s Board Members have fiduciary duties to the company’s shareholders. These duties apply despite how many corporations’ leaders increasingly pursue progressive policy goals divorced from shareholder interests,” the letter reads.