Weeks after contemplating a Twitter alternative to uphold free speech, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has bought a controlling stake in Twitter instead.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk made waves Monday when it was disclosed that he had taken a large stake in social media giant Twitter Inc.
The always-entertaining Tesla CEO has had the social media platform in his crosshairs of late, questioning whether the platform adheres to free speech principles.
The dude sure knows how to make things interesting, and given his history of cryptic tweets, he likely will keep his Twitter followers guessing for a while.
A Securities and Exchange Commission filing confirmed that Musk had taken a 9.2% stake in the company worth $2.89 billion which makes him the platform’s largest individual shareholder.
And investors reacted positively to the news, sending shares of Twitter surging to as much as 26% as of this writing, which is the biggest intraday increase for Twitter in more than four years.
This latest news takes on even more significance given Musk’s rumblings on social media about challenging Twitter by possibly starting a rival social media platform of his own.
Last month, Musk asked his 80 million Twitter followers whether they thought that a new platform to rival Twitter was needed given their questionable record on free speech.
Musk tweeted, “Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy. What should be done?”
Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy.
What should be done? https://t.co/aPS9ycji37
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 26, 2022
He then went on to poll his followers, asking them if they believed Twitter allowed free speech.
He tweeted, “Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?”
Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy.
Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 25, 2022
The respondents overwhelmingly said that Twitter does not rigorously adhere to free speech principles, with only 29% believing that the social media company actually supports free speech ideals.
A Twitter follower tweeted at Musk asking him whether he would consider building his own platform to rival Twitter, to which Musk replied: “Am giving serious thought to this.”
Musk’s Twitter account has strayed into more political content over the years, including famously when he referred to “taking the red pill” (a reference to the iconic Matrix film), which was interpreted as a critique of the political Left.
Take the red pill 🌹
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 17, 2020
In response to the Canadian Freedom Convoy that took over the Canadian capital of Ottawa in February, Musk tweeted his support for the freedom convoy when he wrote, “Canadian truckers rule.”
Canadian truckers rule
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 27, 2022
Speculation is abounding over Musk’s next move, with some positing that Musk might have grander ambitions to garner a bigger ownership role in the company, giving him more say in how the business is run, and presumably working to ensure that the platform adheres to free speech principles.
The dude is unpredictable. His latest move came as a plot twist given his previous statement that he was considering challenging Twitter by building his own platform.
But Musk has potentially come up with a genius plan: Take over Twitter from the inside and make them kowtow to his commands.
And this strategy just might work given the fact that Twitter doesn’t give an advantage to founders of the company in shareholder votes.
Sorry, Jack Dorsey.
Sit back, grab the popcorn, and enjoy the show. Because Elon Musk always keeps us on the edge of our seat.