CEO of Tesla Elon Musk revealed in tweets posted on Saturday that he is giving serious thought to creating a social media platform.
“Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy,” Musk further tweeted.
Meanwhile, on Friday, he put out a Twitter poll asking users if they thought Twitter adhered to the principle of free speech. Over 70% of respondents voted "no".
"The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully," he further said, adding that “free speech is essential to a functioning democracy."
The billionaire has run into some trouble with Twitter in the past relating to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
In August 2018, Musk posted what would seem like a harmless tweet announcing that he was considering taking Tesla private. At the time, observers simply saw it as a way to annoy short-sellers, but the announcement soon gathered some pretty serious consequences sending investors scrambling, causing regulators to fine Tesla $20 million, and creating a class-action lawsuit.
Indeed, the 2018 tweet set off a chain of events that continued all the way in February of 2022 when new information about federal oversight was made public. The tweet claimed that Musk could take Tesla private with a stock value of $420 per share as the CEO had "funding secured" to buy the shares from everyone who didn't want to stay committed to the firm. This caused Tesla stocks to soar and then return to normal.
A subpoena issued
In the Tesla SEC filing, the company wrote that the commission issued a subpoena on November 16, 2021, because of another tweet by Musk, wherein he discussed plans to sell 10 percent of his stake in the company. The tweet landed partly as an apparent reaction to a since-jettisoned proposal from the administration of President Joe Biden to tax financial gains made on the stock market as income.
But federal regulators, who had been following the CEO's comments on Twitter about his company's finances for years apparently felt they had enough cause to investigate further. Tesla reached a settlement with the SEC in 2019 that placed enumerated restrictions on Musk’s tweeting about specific company information, but did not push for further sanctions.
But in February of 2022, the organization released a new subpoena showcasing how the CEO's tweet was coming back to bite him once again. With all these Twitter woes, one can see why the prolific entrepreneur would like to create his own social media platform.