Avid Twitter users have been asking for an edit button since 2016. It seems like their wishes have come closer to fulfillment. The world’s richest person Elon Musk has purchased a 9.2% stake in Twitter, making him its biggest shareholder. It was disclosed in Musk’s filings to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on 4th April. According to reports, Space X and TESLA CEO bought nearly 74 million Twitter shares in March and was holding since. His stake was nearly valued at 3 billion USD which was way more than Twitter’s co-founder Jack Dorsey’s 2.3% stake. Twitter shares soared by 25% in pre-market trading on Monday after Musk’s move.
Elon Musk Takes a Poll for Edit Button
Soon after the revelation, Musk started a poll on Twitter, asking his followers to vote if they wanted an edit button. Twitter’s new CEO Parag Agarwal also backed the poll and asked users to vote carefully as there will be important consequences. In just a few hours, the poll exploded with more than 2 million votes out of which 75% agreed with having an option to edit tweet.
The micro-blogging website also teased a possible Edit Button on 1st April but turned out that it was just an April Fool’s Joke. It first tweeted that it was working on an edit button but upon comments, it gave highly diplomatic answers. It failed to confirm its position but said that “we may edit our tweet later”. Undoubtedly, there is strong support for the edit feature but some are also against it. In 2020, Jack Dorsey told the media why Twitter did not have this feature. He said that the platform started as a text messaging service. Whenever someone sends a text, it’s gone and cannot be reversed. Dorsey explained that Twitter wanted to preserve that vibe.
Can This Stake Influence Change?
The poll also led many to debate if Musk has the required authority to bring something like an edit button to Twitter. Musk’s stake is defined as passive at the moment. It means that the shareholder currently has no power to influence change in the social media company. However, market watchers and analysts presented a different view. Many expect that this passive stake is a gateway for broader conversations with the management that could eventually make it an active stake. They argued that it can potentially put Musk in an ownership role in Twitter. Finance experts noted that the billionaire’s initial investment was a very small percentage of his wealth, which means that he was able to buy the whole thing at any point. Moreover, the Twitter stake would become more expensive if Musk decided to take an active role and Twitter went private. Therefore, when other companies or individuals wanted to purchase Twitter stock in the future, they would get it at a much higher price.
Pressurizing Twitter over Free Speech
The move came 2 weeks after Musk floated the idea of introducing his own social media company while questioning Twitter’s commitment to Free Speech. The eccentric billionaire who has 80 million followers often uses the platform to make certain announcements. He also used to post the company information that got him into trouble with SEC in 2018. The authority charged him with fraud for misleading tweets about Tesla. However, lately, he has been critical of Twitter, saying that the company undermines the principles of Free Speech.