Beautiful Virgin Islands

Thursday, Feb 02, 2023

What are Elon Musk's plans for Twitter?

What are Elon Musk's plans for Twitter?

Elon Musk didn't actually tweet about his new stake in Twitter, which for an avid tweeter seemed somewhat ironic.

Maybe it was because the 9.2% he now owns is described as a passive stake, although those who know Musk do not expect it to stay that way for long.

His first move was to launch a poll - asking whether people want an edit button, something long called for and perhaps something he personally needs.

The new announcement that he will join Twitter's board comes as no surprise.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Twitter chief executive Parag Agrawal said "through conversations with Elon in recent weeks, it became clear to us that he would bring great value to our Board".

He added that "as a passionate believer and intense critic" of the service, he is "exactly what we need".

Later Musk replied saying he was looking forward to making changes at the social network giant.

Musk's 9.2% stake in the social media company may sound small, but Dan Ives, from analyst firm Wedbush, describes it as "eye-popping" - equating to 73.5 million shares in the social network.

Shares in the platform soared following Monday's revelation that the Tesla founder had become the largest shareholder in the company - meaning that stake has already grown in value and is now worth more than $3bn.

Musk's shareholding is four times greater than that of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, who stepped down as chief executive in November.

Mr Ives believes the South African entrepreneur now has his eyes "laser set" on Twitter, and his significant holding will see him push for an active role in the management of the company.

"We would expect this passive stake as just the start of broader conversations with the Twitter board/management that could ultimately lead to an active stake and a potential more aggressive ownership role of Twitter," he said.

When Elon Musk has an idea, he often turns to Twitter to express it

Musk has something of a love-hate relationship with Twitter. He is a frequent tweeter, with more than 80 million followers - and no stranger to controversy in his interactions on the social media site.

The platform seems to suit his impulsive personality - last year he famously asked if he should sell 10% of his stock in his electric car firm Tesla, to which Twitter users said 'yes'. It led to Musk selling around $5bn (£3.7bn) of shares in the firm in November.

Months earlier he had offered to sign a cheque for $6bn if the World Food Programme (WFP) could explain how it would be used to solve hunger around the globe - after an assertion made by the head of the UN programme.

But tweeting has also got him into trouble. A 2018 post about Tesla stock led to an investigation from the Securities and Exchange Commission which ended with an agreement requiring the firm's lawyers to pre-approve certain tweets. It is unclear if that actually happens.

Interestingly, the Wall Street Journal reports that his Twitter share filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which under normal circumstances would include a line saying he doesn't intend to influence the company, came with a 'Not Applicable' mark.

The timing of the deal has also raised questions and could once again put Musk at loggerheads with financial regulators.

His investment in Twitter was filed on 14 March, but not announced until this week. US securities law requires disclosure within 10 days of acquiring 5% of a company.

Free speech

Musk uses Twitter not just as a barometer for how he runs his own companies, but also increasingly to take the temperature of the nation.

Last month, after he had lodged his investment with the SEC - but before his shareholding became public knowledge - he asked users whether they believed that free speech was essential to a functioning democracy and whether Twitter adheres to this principle.

Cornell University's assistant professor Alexandra Cirone thinks this is evidence he may use his new stake "to try to influence Twitter practices" and for a "more active play in the social media eco-system".

But others see more immediate issues with his musings.

Howard Fischer, partner at law firm Moses & Singer, told Reuters that, given he had already bought a stake in Twitter, these questions could be seen as a form of market manipulation. "I do suspect the SEC is going to look long and hard into whether they can bring manipulation charges, along with the failure to file," he said.

Mr Agrawal is clearly watching his every move. In response to his edit button poll, which currently has 2.6 million responses, he urged voters to do so "carefully".

"The consequences of this poll will be important," he said, echoing the exact same words Musk used after he launched his free speech Twitter poll.

Jack Dorsey had always rejected the idea, and critics point out that it could allow people to fundamentally change the meaning of tweets after they have been shared.

It would be a big change for Twitter to include an edit button, and Musk is clearly keen to be part of that conversation.

Many wishing to join Trump's new Twitter have found they are on a waiting list

For a while last month, it looked as if Musk was intent on building a new social media platform as a rival to Twitter - and there he does have precedent from another prolific and controversial tweeter.

Donald Trump, who was banned from Twitter in January 2021 after the Capitol riots, announced last autumn that he was launching his own social network - dubbed Truth Social - to "stand up to the tyranny of big tech".

But six weeks after its launch, there is a waiting list of 1.5 million who are unable to use it - with the platform branded a disaster by Joshua Tucker, director of NYU's Center for social media and politics.

According to Reuters, two key executives quit after the troubled launch.

For those with shares in Musk's many other businesses - Space X, Tesla, Neuralink, The Boring Company - there will doubtless be a sigh of relief that he didn't go down the same route as Mr Trump.

But there will also be concerns that he has yet another passion project to distract him from the serious business of running his established firms.

Not to mention the issues that might now be raised about the Twitter deal by the SEC.

Social media expert Casey Newton points out that it is not the first time a big tech firm has eyed Twitter. Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer once bought a four percent share of the company "and essentially did nothing with it," he writes.

But he goes on to say that Ballmer never tweeted like Musk did: "gleefully, annoyingly, constantly".

And it seems most likely that it will be from this Twitter account that Musk will let the world know what he intends to do next.


Related Articles

Beautiful Virgin Islands
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
I have a dream, MLK inspiring speech
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Aretha Franklin, Marvis Staples - Oh Happy Day
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
BVI Freedom Song
What is ChatGPT?
Billy Preston - You Can't Beat God Giving (Live)
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Oh Happy Day Edwin Hawkins - Anthony Brown w FBCG Combined Choir
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
'Stand by Me' performed by Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
National Anthem of the British Virgin Islands - Oh, Beautiful Virgin
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Hello Dolly
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
for KING & COUNTRY - Amen (Reborn) [feat. Lecrae & The WRLDFMS Tony Wi
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
Bob Marley - Get Up Stand Up
China's first population drop in six decades
Yes He Can
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
What A Friend We Have In Jesus
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
Touch The Hem Of His Garment
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
The Lord's Prayer
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Ray Charles And The Voices Of Jubilaton, Oh, Happy Day
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Ramblin' Rose
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Protoje - Who Knows ft. Chronixx
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Pressure - Virgin Islands Nice
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
Phil Wickham - House Of The Lord
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
My God Is Real (Yes, God Is Real)
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
The Lion King Circle of Life by LEBO M. — LIVE at the HAVASI Symphonic
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
Louis Armstrong - When The Saints Go Marching In
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Kanye West Sunday Service - hallelujah, salvation, and glory
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Jonathan Nelson - I Believe (Island Medley
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
From The Virgin Islands Sqad Up
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
Common, John Legend - Glory
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Anthony Evans vs. Jesse Campbell - If I Ain't Got You
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
I have a dream, MLK inspiring speech
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
Aretha Franklin, Marvis Staples - Oh Happy Day