Elon Musk buys a multibillion stake in Twitter as Jack Dorsey admits he's 'partially to blame' for the state of online speech
A few days after Elon Musk implied that "a new platform is needed" about Twitter, a 13G SEC stock ownership disclosure filing reveals that Tesla's CEO has acquired 9.2% of Twitter. Operating via his trust where he is the sole owner, Elon Musk has bought 73,486,938 Twitter shares which at Friday's closing represent a nearly US$2.9 billion stake. After the SEC published the disclosure, Twitter stock shot up in pre-market trading and Elon Musk's shares may be worth more than three and a half billion dollars at the moment.
Such a gigantic stake, albeit passive, may give Elon Musk an outsized influence over the future direction of Twitter. It turns out he wasn't just ranting when he rhetorically asked his millions of Twitter followers whether it is time for a new platform:
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?
Acquiring 9.2% in any company the size of Twitter, be it as a passive stake, could be a prelude to a buyout and when the next deadline for a 13G stock ownership disclosure filing comes, it could turn out that Elon Musk has bought an even larger chunk of Twitter. At that point, the CEO of Tesla could start demanding changes to Twitter's modus operandi to reflect his views on how the platform should address issues like free speech, but it is unclear how Twitter's co-founder Jack Dorsey would react if Musk pushes for more freedom of expression and less accountability.
Dorsey stepped down from the Twitter CEO position last year, though, and went on record this Saturday echoing some of the accusations that Twitter has become a somewhat problematic platform when it comes to freedom of expression. "Centralizing discovery and identity into corporations really damaged the internet. I realize I'm partially to blame, and regret it," said Jack Dorsey and it would be interesting to follow his potential reaction to the news that Elon Musk has acquired a huge stake in Twitter's future.
Is a new platform needed?— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 26, 2022
the days of usenet, irc, the web...even email (w PGP)...were amazing. centralizing discovery and identity into corporations really damaged the internet.— jack⚡️ (@jack) April 2, 2022
I realize I'm partially to blame, and regret it.