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Expectations mount as Elon Musk acquires largest stake in Twitter

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THERE are high expectations as news emerged on Monday that the world’s richest man and Chief Executive Officer of Tesla, Elon Musk, had acquired a 9.2 per cent stake in Twitter – approximately 73.5 million shares – to become its largest shareholder.

According to a regulatory filing, Musk was described as a long-term investor looking to minimise his buying and selling of the shares, and so it is not immediately clear the purpose of his most recent share purchase said to be worth $2.9 billion.

However, Musk, one of the biggest personalities on Twitter, has regularly run into trouble on the platform.

Recently he raised questions about free speech on Twitter and whether failing to adhere to its basic principles undermines democracy.

About two weeks ago, he told his more than 80 million followers on Twitter that he was “giving serious thought ” to creating his own social media platform with an open-source algorithm that prioritizes free speech which is central to a functioning democracy.

“We would expect this passive stake as just the start of broader conversations with the Twitter board/management that could ultimately lead to an active stake and a potential more aggressive ownership role of Twitter,” Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities said in a client note early on Monday.

Also reacting to the news, former US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Public Affairs Monica Crowley expressed hope that Musk could use his influence to reinstate former US President Donald Trump, whose Twitter account was permanently suspended on January 8.

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“Now that @elonmusk is Twitter’s largest shareholder, he should demand the end of political censorship, company-wide reform, and the reinstatement of President Trump,” Crowley⁩ said via her verified Twitter handle.

Trump launched his own ‘Truth’ social app on February 21 in an attempt “to stand up to the tyranny of big tech,” but the app has been described as a disaster as there is a long list of over 1.4 million users waiting to be registered.

“It’s been a disaster,” Joshua Tucker, Director of New York University’s Center for Social Media and Politics, said.

A Republican ally of Trump’s, who did not wish to be identified, said: “My attempt to register, this week, was placed at number 1,419,631 on the waiting list. Nobody seems to know what’s going on.”

Since the debut of Truth Social, many who downloaded the app have been unable to use it. There was an assumption the problem would soon be resolved and Mr Trump would start posting his “truths” in the coming days – but neither of those things happened.

Meanwhile, another Twitter user @CryptoPavlenko tweeted: “The #DOGE Father” @elonmusk has a substantial stake in #Twitter. Hopefully, the man will help make this platform even more #crypto friendly.”

Twitter’s stock reportedly surged 20 per cent before the opening bell on Monday. The company has set ambitious goals for growth including increasing annual revenue to $7.5 billion from $3.72 billion in 2020 and getting to 315 million monetisable daily active users from 217 million by the end of 2023.

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