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Twitter shares soar 25% as Elon Musk becomes largest shareholder

Tesla founder spends $2.89bn on social media stocks after polling his own followers

Gustaf Kilander
Monday 04 April 2022 14:53 BST
Related video: SpaceX Starlink satelites: Elon Musk network provides Ukraine with internet service

The price of Twitter shares has soared 25 per cent after Elon Musk bought a 9.2 per cent stake in the company, becoming the largest shareholder.

According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing published on Monday, Mr Musk owns 73,486,938 Twitter shares. Based on the company’s closing price on Friday, the stake is worth $2.89bn, CNBC reported.

Mr Musk, who has more than 80 million Twitter followers, made the purchase just weeks after slamming the company for not adhering to the principles of free speech.

“Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy,” Mr Musk tweeted on 26 March. “What should be done?”

“Is a new platform needed?” he asked.

Several people responded to Mr Musk, suggesting that he buy the platform.

“Musk could try to take a more aggressive stance here on Twitter,” Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives told CNBC. “This eventually could lead to some sort of buyout.”

“This makes sense given what Musk has at least been talking about, at least from a social media perspective,” Mr Ives added.

“Now that @ElonMusk is Twitter’s largest shareholder, it’s time to lift the political censorship,” Colorado Republican Representative Lauren Boebert tweeted. “Oh… and bring back Trump!”

Former President Donald Trump was banned from the platform following the Capitol riot on 6 January 2021.

On 25 March, Mr Musk polled his Twitter followers, asking: “Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?”

Out of more than two million votes, more than 70 per cent said no.

“The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully,” Mr Musk added.

Mr Musk’s move was greeted by mixed reactions by Twitter users. While many urged Mr Musk to bring Mr Trump back to the platform, others criticised the Tesla founder.

“Elon Musk has $3bn to buy 9.2% of Twitter but he doesn’t have the capital to allow his workers to unionize without busting?” one account holder wrote.

Simon Jessey said that Elon Musk “seems like two people: 1. Visionary disrupter who cares about the planet and our species and works hard for their futures. 2. Treats employees like shit, promotes crypto, and blurts out stupid and/or despicable things. Which one just bought 9.2% of Twitter?”

“Imagine not knowing what info/opinion silos are,” Sherri Wheeler wrote, referring to Mr Musk’s 25 March Twitter poll. “Imagine having this much money to burn on how pissed you are that you [and] your fanboys get shut down by Twitter for garbage tweets that violate [the terms of service]. Imagine not using that money for actual good.”

“This right here is what kills me about the mentality that the ultra-rich deserve all that money and will invest in the world’s future with it. No. They will use it to further their power and apparently for their schoolyard tantrums,” she added. “‘This poll which will mostly reach my followers will have billions of dollars of consequences.’ What a joke.”

Immigration lawyer Matthew Kolken tweeted that “Elon Musk’s purchase of 9.2% of Twitter will hopefully result in mass firings and resignations. The only way to fix Twitter is to purge the rot”.

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