World’s richest man now platform’s biggest stakeholder
Already a power user with more than 80 million followers (good for eighth among the most-followed people on the platform), Elon Musk has become Twitter’s biggest stakeholder. Musk has purchased 73.5 million shares of Twitter stock, worth about $3 billion and a 9.2% percent stake in the company.
Musk has repeatedly criticized the level of control administrators have over what users can post on Twitter and questioned decisions over who gets banned. He himself has used the platform to praise or denigrate various cryptocurrencies, dramatically affecting their value single-handedly.
While a 9% stake hardly gives Musk full dominion over what happens on Twitter, it is four times more control than former CEO Jack Dorsey now has after he stepped down last year. It’s also possible this is just the first step to the world’s richest person buying a controlling stake in a popular social media site.
“Musk’s actual investment is a very small percentage of his wealth, and an all-out buyout should not be ruled out,” CFRA analyst Angelo Zino wrote.
It could also just be a case of an extremely rich person throwing his weight around and making sure that Twitter won’t find occasion to ban him no matter what he says. Thanks to a 2018 court agreement with the Securities Exchange Commission, Musk already has to have someone else at Tesla read and approves his tweets before he posts.
Twitter stock went up 30% on Monday and is up 50% since March 14, which appears to be the date Musk bought the shares. Already people banned from Twitter, such as former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn, are lobbying Musk to allow them back on the platform. The site makes most of its revenue from advertising, and advertisers aren’t keen on having the most prominent users on a platform saying the kinds of things that get you banned from Twitter.