Elon Musk is now one of Twitter’s biggest shareholders

4 Apr 2022

Elon Musk at Web Summit 2013. Image: Dan Taylor/Heisenberg Media via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

The tech entrepreneur recently criticised Twitter for ‘failing to adhere to free speech principles’ and asked followers whether a new social media platform was needed.

Tesla boss and prolific tweeter Elon Musk has taken a significant stake in Twitter.

According to a US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing published today (4 April), Musk now has a 9.2pc passive stake in the social media company.

Future Human

This makes him one of the company’s largest shareholders, with a greater stake than company founder Jack Dorsey. CNBC reported that the stake is worth $2.89bn based on Twitter’s closing price on Friday, and shares were up more than 25pc after the news became public.

Just over a week ago, Musk tweeted that “free speech is essential to a functioning democracy” and asked his followers to weigh in on whether Twitter “rigorously adheres to this principle”.

“Given that Twitter serves as the de-facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy,” he added in a follow-up tweet. “What should be done?”

He then asked followers whether a new social media platform was needed, and said he was giving “serious thought” to building one.

According to the SEC filing, Musk had already purchased a stake in Twitter at the time of these tweets. He bought 73,486,938 shares on 14 March.

Musk has more than 80m followers on Twitter and regularly takes to the platform to make company announcements, such as Tesla’s move away from bitcoin and its move to Texas.

However, some of his tweets have also gotten him into hot water.

In 2018, Musk tweeted that there was “funding secured” to take Tesla private at $420 a share, but the SEC found his series of tweets to be “false and misleading”. This led to a settlement, fines and Musk stepping down as chair of the company.

Musk has not yet tweeted about his Twitter stake.

Elon Musk at Web Summit 2013. Image: Dan Taylor/Heisenberg Media via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

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Sarah Harford is sub-editor of Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com