Elon Musk bought 73,486,938 Twitter shares on March 14, amounting to a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter, a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing reveals.
The stake makes Elon Musk one of Twitter's largest shareholders as he now owns more than four times Twitter founder Jack Dorsey's holding of 2.25 percent, according to the BBC.
The Tesla and SpaceX CEO, who has gotten into trouble over his behavior on Twitter in the past, recently tweeted about his belief that the social media platform is failing to rigorously adhere to free speech principles.
Elon Musk: "Twitter serves as the de facto public town square"
The news of Musk's Twitter share buyout comes shortly after the SpaceX founder took to Twitter to ask users their thoughts on the social media platform's track record when it comes to free speech.
In a tweet on March 25, Musk wrote: "Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy. What should be done?"
Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 26, 2022
What should be done? https://t.co/aPS9ycji37
This came after Musk also tweeted a poll asking followers whether they think "Twitter rigorously adhered to [the] principle [of free speech]." Roughly 70 percent of the respondents said they believe it doesn't.
Musk later said he was giving "serious thought" to building a new social media platform following the results of his poll.
Judging from Musk's purchase of $3 billion in Twitter shares, it may be that the serial entrepreneur — one of the richest people in the world — decided to join Twitter's ranks to instigate change from the inside. In an interview with CNBC, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said this "eventually could lead to some sort of buyout" from Musk.
Musk's tweets have landed him in hot water in the past
Musk's views on Twitter's free speech failings likely come from the social media platform's efforts to quell hate speech and misinformation in recent months and years. Last month, for example, Musk also claimed he is a "free speech absolutist", claiming he would not block Russian news sources using SpaceX's Starlink satellites "unless at gunpoint."
The SpaceX founder has more than 80 million followers on Twitter and he is an avid user of the social media platform — so much so that some of his posts have gotten him in trouble with the SEC. Perhaps the most infamous occasion came in 2018, when he tweeted that he had secured funds to take Tesla private if it reached $420 a share — a reference to the slang expression referring to cannabis.
Unsurprisingly, news of Musk's acquisition sent Twitter shares soaring roughly 25 percent in pre-market trading. Musk's stake is worth $2.89 billion based on Twitter's closing price on Friday. It's unclear what Musk will do next, but Twitter's executives may now be at the mercy of a man whose memes have caused his own company's share prices to tumble.