Elon Musk has bought 9.2 percent of Twitter’s shares, worth around $3 billion. While that is not enough shares to allow him to do as he pleases with the social platform, he will immediately become a major force and voice on the platform that is otherwise owned largely by investment companies.
What does this mean? I suspect the first thought many of you had was: Is Twitter going to let Donald Trump back on the platform? Because that would be ruinous. He may have hinted at where his head is at on this issue a few weeks ago:
The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 25, 2022
At the time, after 70 percent of his followers voted no, Musk followed up by suggesting that he was looking into creating his own social media platform. He just bought 9 percent of Twitter, instead, and may have paved the way for not only an active role in Twitter policies but potentially a future buyout.
His demands are simple and clear— Atul 🎮 🏌️♂️🚘 (@agoyal00) April 4, 2022
1. Control / remove bots
2. Free speech - absolute free speech
New CEO (PA) wants control.
Activist investors likely happy with Elon’s involvement - as stock price stays higher.
Musk calls himself a “free speech absolutist,” which extended as far as allowing Russian state media to air in Ukraine over his Starlink internet satellites.
Starlink has been told by some governments (not Ukraine) to block Russian news sources. We will not do so unless at gunpoint.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 5, 2022
Sorry to be a free speech absolutist.
The problem with “free speech absolutism” on a social media platform, however, is that it could be flooded, even more so, with misinformation, disinformation, spam, porn, harassment, death threats, and/or insurrection plans. This is what’s happened to some of the right-wing social media upstarts. It would make Twitter unusable, which would crater its value, and while that may not mean a lot to Musk and his $3 billion investment, the other 91 percent of Twitter shareholders might not appreciate it (although, the price of the stock has apparently gone up 25% pre-market in the wake of this news).
Twitter had problems enough before Musk came aboard. If Musk has his say, it’ll basically become Joe Rogan: The Social Media Platform. Ultimately, I don’t know if he’ll have the power to bring back Trump in the short term, but it’s certainly what MAGA Twitter is hoping for this morning.