Elon Musk made headlines this month when it was announced he amassed a 9.2% share in Twitter, making him the largest shareholder for the social media company.
The richest man in the world, Elon Musk, has become Twitter’s largest shareholder with a 9.2% stake in the company. Musk immediately took to Twitter to announce some of his plans for the social media site, while other shareholders expressed their concern over Musk’s lack of communication with the company and refusal to join the board.
A group of Twitter shareholders has even gone as far as to sue Musk for allegedly failing to disclose he had bought the significant stake in the company when he legally was required to. While shares for the social media company soared when Musk’s stake was announced, federal trade laws require investors to inform the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) within 10 days when they take more than a 5% stake in a company.
Musk initially began buying Twitter stock in January, and allegedly hit the 9.2% acquisition on March 14th, which means the SEC should’ve been informed by March 24th at the latest. The lawsuit alleges that Musk was able to buy up more Twitter stock at a deflated price in the time between him acquiring 5% of the company and publicly disclosing his stake.
Legal and security experts told the media that the delay of his announcement likely helped him net $156 million. Alon Kapen, a corporate transaction lawyer with Farrell Fritz, made a statement regarding Musk’s stake and the legal issues with it.
“What seems crystal clear is that Elon Musk missed the applicable deadline to report 5% ownership in a public company. That gave him an extra 10 days to buy additional shares before the price spike that occurred when he finally announced his holdings on April 4.”
After Musk disclosed his Twitter stake, it was revealed that he intended to take a seat on the board of the company to implement changes he thinks would improve the app, and society as a whole. However, it has since been announced that Musk has decided not to take the seat for reasons that have not been disclosed.
Despite not sitting on the board, Musk still has plans for the social media company. The first idea he announced was to turn Twitter Inc.’s headquarters in San Francisco into a homeless shelter. Musk posted a poll on Twitter to ask the general public what they thought of the idea, adding that “no one shows up to the office anyway,” and expressing his seriousness about the idea.
Fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos responded to Musk’s idea by suggesting that he leaves a portion of the headquarters open for employees who volunteer to come into the office space. Bezos wrote that Amazon did the same thing with one of their office buildings, which made it easy for employees to continue to work in the office if they wanted to while helping the local homeless population. Musk replied to Bezos, claiming that it was a “great idea.”
Technology journalist Shiyin Chen wrote about why the public was also seemingly in favor of Musk’s plans for the platform and its headquarters.
“Musk’s Twitter poll closed with 91% of people voting in favor of the homeless shelter. Homelessness is a particularly visible problem at Twitter’s headquarters, located in a part of San Francisco where residents have grappled with urban decay and drug addiction.”
Other individuals on Twitter weren’t sure how serious Musk was about the idea, however, many users became convinced after he continued to tweet out his ideas for other aspects of the app that would especially make it more user-friendly for Twitter Blue users. Twitter Blue is “a monthly subscription that gives Twitter’s most loyal customers exclusive access to premium features and app customizations for a small fee,” according to the website.
Twitter Blue users “have access to premium features like ‘Undo Tweet.’ These features are available anywhere the user uses the Twitter account they purchased their subscription from.” Musk announced that he wants to add even more special features for users who opt to pay for Twitter Blue.
In his initial tweets, he suggested that Twitter Blue users should have authentication checkmarks (the blue verification check that most celebrities and public figures have on their profiles) and zero advertisements if they’re paying for the service monthly. As of right now Twitter Blue users have access to ad-free articles, but still need to endure advertisements on their feeds; a feature that most social media platforms will remove if an individual is paying a premium price.
Musk also discussed various ways in which the premium service could structure payments differently depending on the services users want to take advantage of. He also suggested that users should be able to pay with the cryptocurrency Dogecoin.
“Everyone who signs up for Twitter Blue and pays $3 a month should get an authentication checkmark and no advertisements. The power of corporations to dictate policy is greatly enhanced if Twitter depends on advertising money to survive,” Musk tweeted.
He continued to discuss how, like many Twitter users, he wants an edit function to be available. While Musk himself is a huge figurehead for cryptocurrency and digital financing, he criticized cryptocurrency bot accounts as being the “most annoying” problem on the app. Time will tell how much of Musk’s ideas will actually be implemented into the app, but users are excited to potentially see some of their long-awaited desires come to life with his new involvement.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.