A lot has happened in the last 24 hours. At least as far as Twitter is concerned, it’s kind of turned upside down. For those who haven’t been able to catch up on the latest news, here’s a quick summary of what happened: Tesla CEO Elon Musk is joining Twitter’s board.
Musk bought 73.5 million shares of Twitter, giving him a 9.2% stake in the social media platform, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing a 13G filing. The stock was bought on March 14, and the investment made the Maverick CEO Twitter’s biggest investor.
The news sent ripples through the market (and the tech world) and caused Twitter’s stock price to rise 27%. It also made Musk a little richer, who is already the richest man on the planet. According to the latest figures from Forbes, Musk’s net worth is $ 302.1 billion.
While the world was still a part of Musk’s Twitter-verse, another news had arrived: The Boring Company founder was joining Twitter’s board!
The news was confirmed by Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, who welcomed Musk to the Twitter team and Twitter’s board. Here’s what he said:
He is both a passionate believer and a fierce critic of the service we really need @Twitter, and in the boardroom, to make us stronger over the long term. Welcome Elon!
— Parag Agarwal (@paraga) 5 April 2022
I’m really glad that Elon is joining the Twitter board! He cares deeply about our world and Twitter’s role in it.
Parag and Elon both lead with their hearts out, and they will be an incredible team. https://t.co/T4rWEJFAes
— jack⚡️ (@jack) 5 April 2022
Musk accepted the pleasantries with equal enthusiasm, with a hint of criticism. Here’s what he said:
Look forward to working with Parag and the Twitter Board to make significant improvements to Twitter in the coming months!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 5 April 2022
In between, Musk asked his followers on Twitter if they wanted an ‘edit’ button on the platform. The post was later retweeted by Agarwal with a warning message, which said – “The results of this election will be important. Please vote carefully.”
The results of this election will be important. Please vote carefully. https://t.co/UDJIvznALB
— Parag Agarwal (@paraga) 5 April 2022
Now Musk and Twitter have had a long-standing love-hate relationship. Musk is an avid Twitter user who, in the past, has used the platform to share everything from updates about his Starlink satellite to funny memes promoting Dogecoin (on several occasions). For example, Musk said in an interview with Time magazine in January of this year, “The total transaction flow you make with Dogecoin is a lot more potential in transactions per day than bitcoin.”
Recently, Musk said:
As a general principle, for those who want advice from this thread, it is generally better to have physical things like houses or stocks in companies that you think are good, than dollars when inflation is high. manufactures products.
I still own my bitcoin, ethereum or doge fwiw and will not sell.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 14 March 2022
Conversely, he criticized Twitter when the company introduced NFT-based profile pictures on its platform. Here’s what he said:
Twitter is spending engineering resources on this BS while crypto scammers are throwing a spambot block party in every thread!?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 21 January 2022
Not only that, the SpaceX founder, who is also a self-proclaimed “free-speech absolutist”, has also criticized Twitter for undermining free speech and democracy. His most recent attack on Twitter began March 25when he conducted an opinion poll in which people were asked – “Freedom of expression is necessary for a functioning democracy. Do you believe that Twitter strictly adheres to this principle? 70.4% of people answered ‘No’ .
A day later, Musk once again declared war on Twitter. “Given that Twitter serves as a de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy. What should be done?,” he wrote in a tweet. Not once did he bother to hold an election. Instead he wrote, “Is a new platform needed?”
This full episode follows Musk’s ongoing battle with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which has fined Musk and Tesla for their tweets about securing funding to take Tesla private. His tweets have also given him the chairmanship of Tesla’s board.
Needless to say, Musk’s tweets have gotten him into a lot of trouble in the past, which in turn has made him sad. It is not clear why he is targeting Twitter. If anything, the micro-blogging platform has done absolutely nothing, absolutely nothing, to curtail their free speech.
For example, he once called upon a British cave explorer who helped rescue 12 schoolboys trapped in a cave in Thailand as ‘Pedo Man’. He also tweeted a meme comparing it and deleted it Justin Trudeau to Hitler, he also shared transphobic memes from his account. Still, Twitter has done almost nothing to curtail his speech.
Still, Musk thinks Twitter is somehow hindering free speech. It’s not clear why Musk invested in Twitter.
Why did Elon Musk invest in Twitter?
There could be many reasons for this to happen and one reason that emerges from the book is that the Tesla CEO wants to bring Twitter to the heel. Consider everything that the post on Twitter has cost him — multiple fines by the SEC, the presidency of Tesla’s board, and a lawsuit (which won) by a British cave explorer. It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to say that his association with the stage has infuriated him and now he wants to set the record straight.
Alternatively, he may also want a controlling stake in the company so that what makes Twitter or in other words the platform bothers him less frequently. Or at least, there is a jailbreak mechanism (Welcome, Edit button). It would certainly be easier to gain a controlling stake in Twitter than to get a place on Facebook’s board. For context, Twitter has a market value of $31.5 billion while Facebook has a market value of $545 billion. Musk’s net worth is also more than Twitter’s market value.
Another option that had been floating around Musk was building a separate social media platform. But we all know what happened to Truth Social App, former US President Donald Trump’s social media platform: The app isn’t fully operational, downloads are falling and executives are leaving the company. Simply put, the social media space is a bit crowded right now and the chances of succeeding are slim. Also running a social media company is difficult and it costs a lot of money.
In short, the Tesla founder is not interested in increasing his wealth in Twitter. There are better companies on which he can bet. One possible reason seems to be the company saying that he is a devout user and this has caused him a lot of trouble in the past.
Elon Musk’s post is making big bets on Twitter, but why? Appeared first on BGR India.