According to a US securities filing, Elon Musk has taken a 9.2% stake in Twitter.
As an entrepreneur, Elon Musk has delved into several industries, with electric vehicles taking up the most significant space in his portfolio. Now, he’s added one more to his list: social media.
As of March 14th, Musk now owns 9.2% of short-format social media platform Twitter, having purchased 73,486,938 shares, equivalent to $2.89 billion in the company. This now makes the founder of Tesla the single largest shareholder in the company, with four times that of Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released the announcement as trading opened at the New York bourse on April 4th. Thanks to this, the value of Twitter shares was up by over 27% on the day.
Is It Time for a New Social Media Platform?
Musk has long been active on Twitter and currently boasts over 80 million followers. While he usually uses the platform to announce updates for Tesla, Neuralink, and SpaceX, he has often expressed his doubts about whether or not it accords its users the privilege of free speech.
Even after he purchased a substantial portion of the company, one of Musk’s tweets from March 26th essentially accused the platform of “undermining democracy” as it failed to stick to the principles of free speech because of specific prohibitions. He ended the tweet by asking what could be done to remedy the situation. Industry watchers say that this statement, coupled with Musk’s purchase of a substantial number of Twitter shares, could be paving the way for the mogul to start his own social media platform.
Likewise, Musk has used Twitter as a barometer to make decisions for his companies. A good case would be when Tesla surged beyond its market value of $1 trillion in the third quarter of 2021, prompting him to ask users if he ought to sell a 10% stake in his electric vehicle business. He received a tidal wave of responses from over 3.5 million Twitter users, 58% of whom voted for a sale. As a result, Musk sold $5 billion in shares last November.
Not Without Controversy
But Musk has also been accused of being a loose cannon on the platform, thanks to several questionable statements he has posted.
One particularly memorable example was when he responded to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) statement that said just 2% of Musk’s assets could help alleviate world hunger. Last October, he tweeted that he would sell $6 billion in Tesla shares and donate the proceeds to the WFP on the condition that they could explain how the said amount could fix the issue of world hunger.