Elon is now Twitter’s biggest shareholder, and the web’s “town square” could be in for an overhaul

Tuesday, April 5, 2022 by Snacks
Send tweet (Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images)

Send tweet (Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images)

#ICYMI… Twitter’s favorite CEO-lebrity is now its biggest shareholder. Two weeks ago Elon Musk asked his 80M followers whether Twitter was doing a good job supporting free speech: 70% of respondents said no. Yesterday an SEC filing revealed that the Tesla and SpaceX CEO had owned a big chunk of Twitter shares at the time of the poll.

  • Musk now owns over 9% of Twitter shares — quadruple that of cofounder Jack Dorsey.
  • Passive activist: Elon’s stake is less than a 10th, and he’s technically not an “activist” investor. But it doesn’t mean he can’t influence Twitter’s price.
  • Exhibit A: Twitter shares jumped nearly 30% on word of Elon’s purchase.

Itchy Twitter finger… Elon has called Twitter a “de facto public town square,” and he’s famously loud in that square: he tweeted 3K+ times last year. In just the past month, he posted memes of ducks in police cars, “Lord of the Rings” quotes, and that poll about the future of free speech. But tweets have also landed the Technoking in hot water:

  • Tweet-trouble: The SEC accused Elon of fraud in connection with breaking securities laws on Twitter (think: the infamous 420 tweet), which resulted in $20M penalties for both Elon and Tesla.

Seats speak louder than tweets… The Tesla titan looks more interested in influencing Twitter than owning or profiting from it. As the world’s richest man, Elon could buy Twitter seven times over if he wanted. But since Twitter doesn’t have “supershares” that give founders voting control — unlike Google, Meta, and Snap — some analysts are speculating that Elon’s relatively small stake could lead to a seat on the board. Translation: Elon may have found a way to demand change at the platform he loves to hate even more loudly than before.

Subscribe to Snacks