Business

Why Elon Musk just spent $4b buying a big chunk of Twitter


His Twitter rants and raves have been wide-ranging and unfettered. He as soon as tweeted, then deleted, a meme evaluating Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Hitler. He’s tweeted transphobic memes. He’s slagged a British cave explorer as a “pedo guy.” That’s lots of free speech, and Twitter hasn’t completed rather a lot to curtail it.

One rationalization for Musk’s sensitivity may be present in his libertarian leanings. Belated efforts by social media platforms to constrain a few of the most virulent types of political propaganda have raised the hackles of that crowd (together with far-rightists and Trumpistas). Now Musk has at the least fired a shot throughout Twitter’s bow by buying 9.2 per cent of its inventory — which can also be a lot inexpensive than doing the identical to Facebook (a 9.2 per cent stake in Meta would have value him about $US58 billion).

Elon Musk is now Tesla’s largest shareholder.

Elon Musk is now Tesla’s largest shareholder.Credit:Bloomberg

Does Musk need to take over Twitter? I don’t assume so. The firm’s financials aren’t nice, and working social media corporations is difficult. The automotive crash that’s former President Donald Trump’s social media experiment, Truth Social, is a cautionary story for Musk. Does Musk need to identify some individuals to Twitter’s board of administrators? Maybe. That would enable him to have some say over its affairs with out spending an excessive amount of time or cash.

That’s worrisome, as a result of it’s not excellent to have a free speech absolutist who isn’t completely in favour of free speech on the helm of — and even near — a media firm. Musk has already obtained a pleasant pop on his Twitter stake. The shares jumped 26 per cent on Monday after his funding was disclosed in a regulatory submitting. He’ll stick round longer, in fact, and hypothesis that Twitter could also be in play will additional inflate his holdings.

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But Musk in all probability isn’t on this for the cash. He’s in it to make some extent. And he’s in it to scare Twitter’s administration. Somebody who has complained that his free speech is being “chilled” ought to, maybe, be delicate to these nuances. But that might assume that Musk is extra of a thinker than a bully.

Bloomberg

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