Big Tech /

Elon Musk Acquires 9.2% Stake In Twitter

The world's richest man is now the social media giant's largest shareholder

On Monday, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revealed that Elon Musk has acquired a 9.2% stake in the social media giant. 

The move by Musk, reportedly the world’s richest man, comes just weeks after he started criticizing the platform for its violations of free speech. His criticism was followed by a rumor that Musk himself might create a new competing platform similar to Twitter. 

The SEC filing shows that Musk purchased roughly 73.4 million shares in the company — making him the largest shareholder in Twitter. According to the Financial Times, founder Jack Dorsey only holds a 2.25% stake in Twitter.

Musk, who has not spoken publicly about the acquisition, previously indicated he wanted to see dramatic changes on Twitter.

He had even hinted at building a rival platform. 

On March 25, Musk conducted a poll on Twitter, asking his followers if they think that Twitter “rigorously adheres” to the principles of free speech. He noted that the consequences of the online poll would be significant. 

Roughly 70% of the two million Twitter respondents voted “No.” 

Musk noted that Twitter was the “de facto public town square” and said that it failed to stick to free speech principles, thereby sabotaging democracy as a result.

The first few months of new Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal’s tenure have validated some concerns his leadership would reduce free expression on the site.

Since Agrawal took the position at Twitter, the site permabanned one of the accounts of Congresswomen Marjorie Taylor Greene for allegedly violating its “COVID-19 misinformation policy.”

“For Twitter to ban my account for what they perceive as COVID’ misinformation’ is quite a concern because the information I shared is actually from the CDC website,” she posted on Gettr, a Twitter competitor.

Michael Makris, a specialist in hemostasis and thrombosis at the University of Sheffield, was forced to delete a tweet on a new type of COVID-19 vaccine being developed or face a ban.

Recently, former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson sued Twitter over his ban in August 2020.

“The extraordinarily close nexus between the July 2021 statements by senior executive branch officials — including President Biden himself — calling for censorship by such companies and Twitter’s corresponding immediate actions against Mr. Berenson mean that this issue merits closer scrutiny,” the lawsuit stated.

It is yet to be seen what Musk’s intentions will be after his significant investment in Twitter. 

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article referred to Musk as purchasing a “controlling stake” in Twitter. That claim has been revised to reflect the fact that Musk is Twitter’s largest shareholder. The article also said Musk purchased 9.7%, when in fact he purchased 9.2%, according to the official SEC filing. 

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