Owning Less, Doing More: Elon Musk Updates Paperwork On Twitter Purchase As Employees Reportedly Raise Concerns


Topline

Billionaire Elon Musk has not sold part of his newly-acquired stake in Twitter, he confirmed on Wednesday, while insiders reportedly voice concerns over the platform’s future as Musk, who is an advocate of “free speech” and has a history of spreading misinformation, is now its largest shareholder and a board member.

Key Facts

In a regulatory filing on Tuesday, Twitter disclosed Musk held roughly 73.1 million shares, roughly a 9.1% stake in the company.

The figure was around 400,000 shares shy of a filing the company made the day before, which said Musk held a 9.2% stake, leading some to question if the billionaire had sold the shares already.

On Wednesday, Musk confirmed that “no sale took place,” describing the discrepancy as a mistake on the initial filing.

The new disclosure also marked an update to Musk’s status as an investor—having changed from a passive shareholder to a more active board member—at the company, something insiders fear could influence policy on issues like content moderation and whether users are banned.

While Twitter has said neither its board nor shareholders determine company rules and policies, employees told Reuters it’s “hard to believe” the board doesn’t have an influence.

They said Musk, who has previously used Twitter to attack critics and promote misinformation, could weaken efforts to improve Twitter and tackle harmful abuse and content on the platform.

Key Background

Musk is a prolific user of Twitter and his use of the platform has been marked by controversy. He was sued by the SEC in 2018 for tweets about Tesla it said were false and misleading, something Musk denies. As part of a settlement, many of Musk’s tweets about the company must be vetted by lawyers. He has also been (unsuccessfully) sued by a British cave explorer for defamation after he called him a “pedo guy” on the platform. More recently, Musk has hinted at building a rival platform and been openly critical of the company, questioning whether the company censors speech and undermines democracy.

Big Number

$219 billion. That’s how much Forbes estimates Musk is worth, making him the world’s richest person. He is an estimated $68 billion richer than a year ago, calculated using stock prices and currency exchange rates from March 11, 2022.

Further Reading

Elon Musk’s arrival stirs fears among some Twitter employees (Reuters)

Twitter’s New CEO Gets His First Public Challenge: Elon Musk (Forbes)





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