Our friend Stephen Kruiser, who writes PJ Media’s Morning Briefing, put it this way:
Billionaire Elon Musk did a most billionaire-y thing yesterday when he bought a chunk of Twitter after having hinted at starting his own alternative upon growing frustrated with the social media giant.
Following Twitter’s suspension of the Babylon Bee, Mr. Musk appeared to get a little irritated. In late March, Musk asked his more than 80 million followers what to do about Twitter’s failure to adhere to free speech principles:
Asking Twitter to recommend a life choice is pretty dangerous, you are more likely to get “burn it down” than buy it.
However, conservatives seemed largely in favor:
Our friend @robbystarbuck tweeted: Buy it and fire the communists who run it right now. You can save free speech. In Congress we must make platform access a right so no one can ever be removed from the public square over unpopular speech!
@ChristinaPushaw, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis fabulous Press Secretary, tweeted: Elon please buy it and enact a new policy to make it an ideologically neutral platform.
While Tom Fitton, President of Judicial Watch asked via tweet: In DC, restricting access to public accommodations based on political affiliation is prohibited under the DC Human Rights Act. Does Section 230 exempt @Twitter from this and similar laws?
Elon’s 9.2% is allegedly a “passive stake” meaning in theory, he won’t be influencing the company, but this is still a bold move. And as Stephen Kruiser observed, Musk really doesn’t do anything passively. In fact, he wasted no time stirring things up, tweeting a poll that addressed and poked fun at Twitter’s failure to have an edit button, a big beef with users.
The funny thing is, Musk’s move is already paying off financially.
As Breitbart’s Alex Marlow and John Carney noted, “Elon Musk's investment was already doing very well before the announcement. He purchased 73,486,938 shares of Twitter's common stock on March 14, probably paying around $33 a share or $2.4 billion. As of Friday, the shares were up to $39 or so, a return of around 18 percent. Following the disclosure in a regulatory filing, shares jumped another 27 percent to $49.97. Musk's shares are now up 50 percent from when he acquired them.”
Marlow and Carney further reported, “There is some talk that Musk might try to acquire Twitter altogether. After its gains Monday, the company has a market cap of $40 billion—putting it theoretically in reach for Musk. Most of his wealth, however, is shares of Tesla, and selling those to buy Twitter might rattle investors in those companies.
“Or maybe not. Those investors certainly seemed to like Musk's acquisition of part of Twitter. Tesla shares rose 5.6 percent on Monday, which means Elon made even more on Monday in Tesla gains than he spent to acquire those Twitter shares. In other words, the market reaction to the Twitter investment has more than paid for the investment itself.”
The reaction of Twitter’s current management was highly amusing to longtime observers of the platform.
The Epoch Times reported, “Through conversations with Elon in recent weeks, it became clear to us that he would bring great value to our Board,” Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal wrote on Twitter. “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.”
After Musk was tapped to join Twitter’s board, there was rampant speculation that Musk—who previously criticized the company for failing to adhere to “free speech principles”—would push to get Trump’s account reinstated. Before his suspension in January 2021, Trump, for years, extensively used Twitter and would often trigger news cycles with his tweets.
But The Epoch Times reported a spokesperson for the San Francisco-based social network told the Mercury News on Tuesday, in response to a question about Trump’s ban, that “our policy decisions are not determined by the board or shareholders, and we have no plans to reverse any policy decisions.” The spokesperson added that its board of directors merely “[play] an important advisory and feedback role.”
Seeing what impact Elon Musk has on Twitter is going to be fun, especially because we think Twitter’s San Francisco-based spokesperson might want to look into what the law and the SEC say about fiduciary responsibility and the role of the Board of Directors in the management of a public corporation and Elon Musk’s record of hands-on management of any enterprise with which he is associated.
Side Note: The Babylon Bee, whose censorship was allegedly one of the triggers for Elon Musk’s move on Twitter chimed in with some helpful suggestions now that Elon is on the Board. Click the link for some classic Babylon Bee humor: The Dumpster Fire Is Saved: 9 Positive Changes Coming To Twitter.
Board of Shareholders
Donald Trump Twitter suspension
Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal