Savannah Hulsey Pointer, FISM News
House Republicans sent a letter to Twitter demanding that the company’s board take steps to preserve their records regarding the offer from tech billionaire Elon Musk to buy the company outright. A report by The Washington Examiner indicates that the lawmakers demanded the preservation include the board’s consideration and evaluation of the shareholder interest in the company.
The demand was sent in the form of a letter sent by the GOP members of the House Judiciary Committee, as well as filed preservation notices sent to every member of Twitter’s board of directors on Friday, announcing preparations for a potential investigation into Twitter
The notice informed board members that there would be an inquiry into their decision if it is believed that the board members breached their fiduciary duty to shareholders in rejecting Musk’s offer to buy the company
The letter stated the following:
Free speech online is under attack by Big Tech. In particular, Twitter has increasingly engaged in “heavy-handed censorship . . . to silence prominent voices . . . and stifle views that disagree with the prevailing progressive consensus.” Big Tech’s eroding commitment to free speech prevents informed public discourse and undermines First Amendment principles. These harms follow from how Twitter and other social media companies increasingly function as the “de facto public town square” for the American people.
Decisions regarding Twitter’s future governance will undoubtedly be consequential for public discourse in the United States and could give rise to renewed efforts to legislate in furtherance of preserving free expression online. Among other things, the Board’s reactions to Elon Musk’s offer to purchase Twitter and outsider opposition to Musk’s role in Twitter’s future are concerning. Twitter’s Board Members have fiduciary duties apply despite how many corporations’ leaders increasingly pursue progressive policy goals divorced from shareholder interests.
As Congress continues to examine Big Tech and how to best protect Americans’ free speech rights, this letter serves as a formal request that you preserve all records and materials relating to Musk’s offer to purchase Twitter, including Twitter’s consideration and response to this offer, and Twitter’s evaluation of its shareholder interests with respect to Musk’s offer. You should construe this preservation notice as an instruction to take all reasonable steps to prevent the destruction or alteration, whether intentionally or negligently, of all documents, communications, and other information, including electronic information and metadata, that is or may be potentially responsive to this congressional inquiry. This instruction includes all electronic messages sent using official and personal accounts or devices, including records created using text messages, phone-based message applications, or encryption software.
The board has yet to respond to Musk’s offer; however, according to the Examiner, the request by the committee requires the members to keep a record of all documentation, including messages on official and personal accounts, such as WhatsApp or encrypted apps like Telegram.
Following the announcement of his offer to buy Twitter outright, Musk secured over $45 billion in funding to buy the company, and it was reported that the Tesla CEO was investigating a possible “tender” offer to buy the company.
According to CNET, a tender offer opens an active bid to major shareholders in a corporation to buy their stock and can be made by the corporation itself or a third party, allowing an entity to obtain a substantial percentage of company shares.