Speculation swirls over Marc Andreessen’s Twitter break

At 11:43 p.m. Saturday night, Marc Andreessen, one of tech’s leading lights and top Silicon Valley investors, announced he was quitting Twitter for awhile.

That’s not unusual — people take “Twitter breaks” all the time.

But Andreessen also deleted his tweets, an impressive body of work built up since he started to tweet in earnest in 2014.

On Twitter, he has become the valley’s “opiner-in-chief,” as I wrote in 2014, never lacking a clear take on whatever his subject matter and ready to engage in a playful way with critics.

What gives?

Or as Gizmodo puts it, Who killed @pmarca?

Andreessen isn’t saying, telling Recode, “Good time for a break….That’s about it. Busy fall.”

TechCrunch speculates that Andreessen left because of online harassment.

Irritation with abuse on the platform has become routine, leading other tech VIPs such as Sam Altman, president of the Y Combinator, and Leslie Jones, the actor, to take a  Twitter hiatus. (But as Fortune points out, the pull of Twitter as a way to get out a message is too strong, so people generally come back.)

But Andreessen seems to routinely brush off abuse. The one exception was when he was taken to task for his comments about anti-colonialism and Facebook’s Internet Basics effort in India.

Another theory is that Andreessen’s sudden departure is linked somehow to acquisition talks swirling around Twitter.

Last week, reports emerged that Salesforce and possibly Alphabet, Google’s parent company, were looking to buy Twitter. In a column, I speculated that Salesforce’s Marc Benioff, also loquacious on Twitter, was motivated to buy Twitter by love for the struggling Internet firm.

Andreessen is the “father of the tweetstorm,” as TechCrunch dubs him. (A tweetstorm is a long series of tweets on a single topic), and he is also on Facebook’s board.

Perhaps he has a stake in Twitter’s outcome. He would certainly have an opinion on it.

He may also have some thoughts about his content on Twitter’s platform, as the company weighs whether to sell itself. Does he want to keep his opinions, and the Twitter traffic they attract, out of Google’s hands?

Whatever it is, Andreessen’s not saying.

Above: Marc Andreessen, a board member of Facebook. (Dai Sugano/Bay Area News Group)

 

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