Days after making a poll about free speech on Twitter, Bloomberg reports Tesla CEO Elon Musk now owns a 9.2 percent stake in the social media platform according to a regulatory filing on Monday. Twitter shares rose by 27 percent after the news and Musk’s stake is said to be worth $2.89 billion after Friday’s market close.
On March 25th, the Tesla CEO made a poll on his Twitter account asking if the platform supports free speech. “Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?” Musk tweeted. “The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully,” he added in a follow-up tweet. More than 70 percent of Musk’s 80 million followers on the platform voted in favour of “No”.
The following day, Musk made a follow-up tweet asking what should be done about the outcome of the poll. “Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy. What should be done?” Musk tweeted. “Is a new platform needed?” he followed up again.
Following the news of Musk’s acquisition of a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter, The Verge reported on Tuesday the Tesla CEO will be joining Twitter’s board of directors. Musk will be serving as a class II director until 2024 according to a filing.
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal confirmed the appointment on his account. “I’m excited to share that we’re appointing @elonmusk to our board! Through conversations with Elon in recent weeks, it became clear to us that he would bring great value to our Board.” Agrawal tweeted. “He’s both a passionate believer and intense critic of the service which is exactly what we need on @Twitter, and in the boardroom, to make us stronger in the long-term. Welcome Elon!,” he added in a follow-up tweet. Musk replied to the tweet saying he’s looking forward “to making significant improvements to Twitter in coming months!”
Musk’s appointment as a member of the board of directors caps his ownership at 14.9 percent during his tenure which means he can no longer initiate a takeover for now. The Tesla CEO made another poll on Tuesday asking if his followers want an edit button. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for the social media platform.
Featured Image – Elon Musk by Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg