Washington: American billionaire Elon Musk has bought a 9.2% stake in Twitter Inc., a week after he ran a Twitter poll questioning if the social media behemoth was rigorously adhering to the principles of free speech. After a majority of respondents said the company had failed in upholding the ideals of free speech, Musk had responded to one of the Twitter users saying he is giving “serious thought” to building a new social media platform.
The share price of Twitter stock rose about 28% in pre-market trading after a 13G filing revealed Elon Musk has taken a 9.2% passive stake in the social media company.
Musk bought nearly 73.5 million shares, a document filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission showed.
Musk, who is known for not shying away from expressing his maverick views on social media, had last week polled his more than 80 million followers on Twitter, asking them whether the social media organisation complies with the principles of free speech.
After more than 70 per cent of over 2 million respondents said no, he wondered what should be done given that Twitter had failed to adhere to free speech principles and fundamentally undermined democracy.
In a subsequent tweet, he questioned if a new platform is needed.
When a Twitter user asked Musk if he would consider “building a new social media platform” that would consist of “an open-source algorithm”, the billionaire responded by saying “Am giving serious thought to this.”
It is worth noting that Musk has often been critical of Twitter and had made no bones about it through his tweets. In December last year, when Twitter announced that Parag Agrawal would be taking over from Jack Dorsey as the company’s CEO, Musk had posted a cryptic meme that depicted Agrawal as Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and Dorsey as Soviet secret police head Nikolai Yezhov being shoved into the water.
Musk, who is the richest man in the world, had also had run-ins with the Securities and Exchange Commission over his tweets about his company, Tesla. Last month, the SEC said it would not let Musk out of a 2018 agreement that requires his use of Twitter to be overseen by Tesla lawyers. Musk had objected to the subpoena, claiming that it inhibits his freedom of speech.