Elon Musk picks 9.2 pc stake in Twitter

Last week, Tesla and SpaceX Founder Elon Musk put out a poll on Twitter, asking his 79 million followers if they believed the social media platform was adhering to free speech. He said he was giving serious thought to starting his own social media platform.

A week after asking his social media followers if they believed Twitter adhered to free speech, Elon Musk bought a 9.2 stake in the microblogging social media platform, becoming one of its biggest shareholders, filing from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) showed.

Following the disclosure, Twitter Inc's shares soared 26 percent in premarket trading in the US.

Musk's shareholding comprises 73.48 million shares in Twitter, the filing showed.

The news follows a series of tweets by Musk last week, where he asked his followers if they believed the social media platform was upholding the tenet of free speech — to which 70.4 percent of individuals responded, saying "NO".

He further asked, if Twitter's algorithm should be open source, and 82.7 percent said yes. Twitter Founder Jack Dorsey stepped in to say the choice of the algorithm should be open to everyone.

Musk has been an ardent advocate for decentralising the internet, and last week, he said he was giving starting his own social media platform built on an open-source algorithm a "serious thought".

A self-labelled "free speech absolutist", Musk has, ironically, often been pulled up by the US SEC for his tweets around Tesla and its stock. In 2018, the regulator ordered the Tesla founder to submit to increased oversight of his social media activity after he tweeted about taking the electric car maker private.

The SEC slapped him with a fine and sought for Tesla executives to pre-approve his social media posts related to the company. A few months later, Musk tweeted, asking his followers if he should sell 10 percent of his Tesla shares.

The billionaire entrepreneur, in a court filing, accused the SEC of engaging in "outsized efforts" to "chill his exercise" of free speech.

Still, Musk has remained unrelenting in his pursuit to engage in free speech and has often spoken candidly in interviews and on podcasts.

Edited by Suman Singh


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