SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Approximately one week after slamming the popular social media platform for what he referred to as its censorship of free speech, a filing from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) confirmed that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has purchased a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter, which equates to 73.5 million shares or $2.89 billion (based on Twitter’s closing price on Friday); as a result, he is now the company’s largest stakeholder.
The stock market reacted strongly to the news of Musk’s move, with shares for Twitter increasing over 25 percent once word of his stock purchase got out; as of Monday morning, the platform’s individual shares were valued at roughly $51.00 ($3.75 billion).
Just a week ago, Musk – the world’s richest man, with an estimated net worth of $271 billion – was highly critical of Twitter for what the South African business and tech tycoon referred to as their loose views on free speech.
“Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy,” Musk tweeted on March 26. “What should be done?”
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“Is a new platform needed?” he added in a follow-up tweet.
The tweets garnered plenty of replies from Musk’s over 80 million followers, with many of them encouraging him to either build his very own social media platform – something that he later said he was seriously considering doing – or just buy Twitter itself outright.
Musk has not yet commented publicly on his purchase of almost 10 percent of Twitter’s stock, nor what plans – if any – he intends to push as the company’s largest shareholder.
Twitter has a history of repeatedly suspending or banning accounts expressing viewpoints that run afoul of its content policies; most recently, the accounts of conservative publisher The Christian Post and Republican Reps. Jim Banks and Marjorie Taylor Greene were suspended after they all made references to U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Rachel Levine – who is transgender – as a man.