As Elon Musk’s crusade against Twitter Inc. escalated from a war of words to a full-on takeover, he was egged on behind the scenes by a mix of voices—from fellow billionaires to internet trolls—with their own beefs with the social-media platform.
In Mr. Musk, a serial entrepreneur with a hard Twitter habit, these men found a vessel for pent-up animosity over the company’s content moderation and management. One of them had a very personal stake: Twitter’s co-founder and former Chief Executive Jack Dorsey, who resigned last year under pressure from his board, was whispering in Mr. Musk’s ear that Twitter should be a private company, people familiar with the matter say.
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