Elon Musk invests $2.9 billion in Twitter, increasing the company’s shares by 26%

Twitter shares increase as Elon Musk buys a $2.9 billion stake in the social networking site, making him the platform’s largest shareholder.

According to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Musk’s investment has given him a 9.2% stake in Twitter – four times the amount of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s 2.25% stake. News of the investment spurred a 26% increase in Twitter shares, giving Musk an increased stake of $3.6 billion.

Musk, who is the richest person on the planet, is an avid Twitter user and boasts over 80 million followers on the site. He is amongst Twitter’s top ten followed users, a list that includes Barack Obama, Rihanna, and Cristiano Ronaldo. 

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO often posts memes on the microblogging site, but has been criticised in the past for his outspoken and controversial tweets. In 2018, Musk was forced to step down as Tesla’s Chairman after tweeting he had “secured” funding to make the company private.

Only a week prior to his $2.9 billion investment, Musk had condemned Twitter – asking users through online polls what they wanted the platform to be like. 

On 24 March, Musk asked users to vote if the “Twitter algorithm should be open source” and over 80% of users answered “yes”. 

The following day, he asked his followers whether Twitter “rigorously adheres” to the idea that “free speech is essential to a functioning democracy”. To this, over 70% of participants answered “no”. 

Responding to the poll’s outcome, Musk tweeted: “Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy. What should be done?” and asked his followers if a new platform is needed.

Musk’s current poll asks users if they “want an edit button?” – referencing the inability of users to alter tweets once they have been posted. 

Twitter CEO, Parag Agrawal, responded by warning users that the “consequences of this poll will be important” and followers should “vote carefully”.

However, these tweets would have been after Musk’s investment, as reports suggest shares were bought on 14 March.