back to article Elon Musk buys 9.2% of Twitter, sends share price to the Moon

Social media service Twitter saw its stock surge on Monday because tech thinkfluencer Elon Musk took a 9.2 percent stake in the company. Musk acquired his share in the firm on March 14, and before the sale was disclosed to the public on Monday, April 4, in an SEC filing, he used Twitter – a free social media service – to …

  1. PhilipN

    Remembering Jack Ma

    .. and hubris.

    1. Snake Silver badge

      Re: Remembering Jack Ma

      It's not hubris, it's entitlement. The rich and powerful will always complain about things they believe in, until such things negatively affect them.

      Then they change their tune right quick.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Remembering Jack Ma

        Well, in this case he now has the tools for censorship..

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Remembering Eugene Pottier

      No saviour from on high delivers;

      No faith have we in prince or peer.

      Our own right hand the chains must shiver:

      Chains of hatred, greed and fear.

      - The Internationale

  2. IGotOut Silver badge

    Alternative headline.

    Pedo Brat buys his way out of trouble.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Alternative headline.

      I think he his buying himself into trouble. He gave up the right to free speech when he became CEO of a publicly traded company. One of the few laws that rich people have to obey is "Do not make provably false statements to investors". Ask Elizabeth Holmes.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Alternative headline.

      from the article: to freely impugn Twitter for exercising its constitutionally protected right to moderate speech on its platform

      Or, as I see it, "for exercising its power to control the narrative across its platform by silencing, shadow banning, and outright banning anyone who disagrees with the WOKE LEFT"

      Which, of course, is why Elon is buying an interest in it, enough to be on the board, and maybe even a CONTROLLING interest, if need be. He even said so.

      I say GO for it.

      The alternative: to do what Trump is doing, by making a competing platform. Buying Tw[a,i]tter is probably faster.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. bazza Silver badge

    Tesla PR?

    Is Twitter going to become Tesla's new PR department?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tesla PR?

      Maybe he can expand the audience by giving it a catchier name. Something like X Æ A-42.

  4. DerekCurrie
    Mushroom

    Blame the likes of me for calling out hypocrites

    "We think we know what we're doin'

    That don't mean a thing

    It's all in the past now

    Money changes everything

    They shake your hand and they smile

    And they buy you a drink

    They say, we'll be your friends

    We'll stick with you till the end

    Ah, but everybody's only looking out for themselves

    And you say, well, who can you trust

    I'll tell you, it's just nobody else's money

    Money changes everything"

    - Tom Gray

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_Changes_Everything

    1. razzaDazza1234

      Re: Blame the likes of me for calling out hypocrites

      downvote for wasting 3-4 seconds of the reader's life before realising it's another sh-tty song lyric.

      "They shake your hand and they smile

      And they buy you a drink

      They say, we'll be your friends"

      Oh no. 3rd person plurals everywhere. Trite.

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Blame the likes of me for calling out hypocrites

        Sorry, have I ended up in the Journal of Literary Criticism by mistake? I was looking for The Register. I'm sure it's round here somewhere. You must have come across it, full of raucous weirdos wearing faded T-shirts with incomprehensible slogans on them, arguing about God knows what.

  5. Teejay

    No, sorry

    "...freely impugn Twitter for exercising its constitutionally protected right to moderate speech on its platform"

    This totally misses the point. The criticism towards Twitter is very much about an unequal bias in respect to ideas criticising the truly powerful, or, as it today is called, the left-liberal mainstream, which of course is mostly powerless, but tribal towards the powerful.

    Musk is one very rich individual, so what he does regarding censorship in his personal sphere has nothing to do with platforms like Twitter, which actually are about free speech for billions of people.

    The 'constitutional right' is a cheap excuse, because platforms like Twitter pick whatever suits them, i.e. they are either a publisher or a mere data transporter.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: No, sorry

      "which actually are about free speech for billions of people." Well speaking is allowed, but those whose speech is preferred by the advertisers will be heard, not the billions of people.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No, sorry

      Twitter will soon be implementing a new rule.

      Thou shalt not slag off their new 'dear leader' aka Elon 'mines a joint' Musk.

      Twitter feeding the hand that owns it.

      Personally, I hope Much loses every penny of his investment in Twitter. Not gonna happen but you can dream can't you?

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: No, sorry

        "Projecting" - in this particular case, when you assume those you are opposed to are doing THE VERY SAME THING YOU ARE, and then you point fingers and accuse them of it, often FALSELY.

        Happens all of the time, from the WOKE, the LEFT, and those who seek to SILENCE OTHERS that disagree with them.

        Sad.

        (here "brother", ignore the log in my eye, while I remove the spec of sawdust from yours)

    3. genghis_uk

      Re: No, sorry

      <quote>The 'constitutional right' is a cheap excuse, because platforms like Twitter pick whatever suits them, i.e. they are either a publisher or a mere data transporter.</quote>

      They are neither, in fact they are an 'interactive computer service'.

      If they write posts themselves (including the fact check posts), they are publishing but otherwise they are just hosting other people's speech. They have no requirement to host speech that violates their rules and no real requirement to be unbiased - their house, their rules. They are also not a public forum nor a common carrier as many erroneously think.

      Just because they have a huge number of people on their site, the same rules apply as to this site or any other... are you saying the Reg can't moderate because it is a public square/publisher/common carrier?

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: No, sorry

      see icon

  6. Winkypop Silver badge
    Alert

    Culty

    Twitterists and Muskites

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Re: Culty

      If I was forced into a Hobson's choice between the two, I'd take Musk. At least he's funny. Like a clown, but I actually laugh.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Culty

        Musk also has spaceships. Which is surely a point in his favour…

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh good..

    Now it definitely should be called Twatter, and I'm doubly glad I tried it for a week several years ago, then deleted it and never looked back.

    IMHO, he's just hedging his bets for the next time he calls someone a peadophile because they call him out on a dumb idea.

  8. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Pump and Dump

    When you are this rich you can just secretly buy a load of shares through shell companies. Then announce you are buying some publicly, watch the price rocket. 27% rise yesterday - after a 2 month long fall? Sell off the shell company shares. Rinse and repeat...

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Pump and Dump

      Given that he was publicly claiming Twitter was overvalued in the past if he was buying up shares during that period the SEC could hit him with charges a lot more serious than the "$420 funding secured" thing.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Pump and Dump

        You'd have to prove the shell companies were controlled by him. In the UK you cant tell who owns them, not sure about the US but I'd imagine they have similar methods of hiding real ownership - the political system would collapse pretty quickly without it.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pump and Dump

        When has the SEC ever gone after a zillionaire?

    2. Def Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Pump and Dump

      When you are already that rich you don't need to resort to get-rich-quick schemes to make bank.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Pump and Dump

        "When you are already that rich you don't need to resort to get-rich-quick schemes to make bank."

        When you're already that rich, you don't need any more money to do almost anything you want to do. Yet, rich people frequently decide that they do want more money after all. Rich investors gamble their billions of savings to try to get even more billions, taking the risk that they lose it all. Rich people sometimes run criminal operations to get even more cash, when they could just retire and let someone else take the risk. Rich people run many schemes, both legal and illegal, to try to increase their wealth.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pump and Dump

      ... and also comes with the added bonus that Twitter messaging can itself be used to do the same with recently acquired Cryptocurrency positions.

  9. DS999 Silver badge

    I hope he does take it over

    And makes changes to "maximal free speech". Once it starts becoming like Gab, and neo nazis are allowed free run, all the normies will drop Twitter and it'll turn into a wasteland. Musk will have blown tens of billions to buy something that's value has crated and killed off a useless social media platform. Bank shot!

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: I hope he does take it over

      That would be nice but it's not how capitalism works. While he is no doubt a talented and impressive entrepreneur, most of Musk's money comes from investors rather than profits from companies: faith in the future of Tesla causes people to buy shares now, driving up the price. This in turn drives down the cost of capital for the company, which provides an advantage over other companies that finance from cashflow. Lax monetary policy over the last decase has increased this advantage.

    2. genghis_uk

      Re: I hope he does take it over

      Well, your wish is starting to come true as they just appointed Musk to the board...

      I just hope BlueSky isn't a casualty, it may be the only thing to save Twitter

      https://twitter.com/jack/status/1204766078468911106

    3. Len
      Happy

      Re: I hope he does take it over

      The admin of one of the largest Mastodon servers (the decentralised alternative to Twitter, also some times dubbed "Twitter without the Nazis") said yesterday that he noticed that "Sign-ups really picked up" after the news that Musk has joined the Twitter board.

      A quick look at the cumulative Mastodon user count suggests sign-ups per hour are now more than double where they were a week ago so the data seems to support that statement.

    4. fandom

      Re: I hope he does take it over

      There are normies at twitter?

  10. anonanonanonanonanon

    Twitter is overhyped

    I just don't know that many people who use it regularly, is it just famous because a bunch of journos in silicon valley use it? How many of their users are bots? How many logged in once and never again? It's good marketing to overstate your influence.

    So far as free speech goes, Twitter is free to moderate itself how it bloody well likes, people who don't like it can join other platforms.

    1. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: Twitter is overhyped

      Indeed, Twitter has a somewhat interesting history. For most of its existence it's made massive losses, and has never had any plan for how to actually make money other than assuming it would magically happen if enough users showed up. Then Trump came along and used Twitter as effectively the official mouthpiece for the US government. For two years, Twitter made a profit. Trump was shown the door, and Twitter immediately dropped to making a loss an order of magnitude larger than it used to.

      It seems more successful than it really is because journalists, not just those in Silicon Valley, find it an easy source for quote from "the man in the street" without having to bother getting off their arses and actually visiting a street. The BBC has entire articles consisting of nothing more than copy and pasting crap off Twitter. But it's clear that very few normal people actually use it, and without a highly influential, controversial figure promoting it 24/7 it's clear that there's still no-one working there who has a clue how to actually get people to use it or make any money from them. Which shouldn't be surprising because it's a one-to-many platform that's potentially useful for announcements but completely pointless for any normal person to actually use for regular communication.

      And that's a big problem for Musk and others who think there's a problem with bias against right wing opinions. Twitter is propped up entirely by the liberal media. Turn it into right wing echo chamber and they'll drop it pretty much overnight. No matter how big his ego might be, Musk just isn't as big a draw as Trump was; he's been posting for years with no noticeable impact on Twitter's success or popularity. Maybe if he became president he could have a similar effect, but trying to take over and change it's operations will only kill it off faster - the problem he thinks it has is not the reason it can't make a profit.

    2. localzuk Silver badge

      Re: Twitter is overhyped

      330m monthly active users last I saw.

  11. Ken G Bronze badge
    Devil

    Why didn't old Trumper think of this?

    It's got to be easier than starting your own social network from scratch, especially when you're not very good at business.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Why didn't old Trumper think of this?

      For all his claims about his self-made wealth, he doesn't have as much money as Musk. There's money in his PACs but they would face trouble with a media investment.

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Why didn't old Trumper think of this?

      Don has always had difficulty with thinking. He regurgitates an incoherent version of whatever he heard five minutes ago. No-one put that idea into his head because Alfa bank did not have enough money to buy twitter even if Vlad wanted to and why on Earth would Vlad pay again for a president he already owned?

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Why didn't old Trumper think of this?

        I think you may have gotten 1 too many conspiracy theories from your Twatter feed.

        The Alfa Bank thing has been getting interesting as an example of tech abuse. Or political abuse, or just plain espionage. So one of Clinton's attorneys, Michael Sussmann, got indicted. During which Rodney Joffe got identified as the tech exec behind it.

        He was previously part of Genuity, UltraDns and NeuStar. They apparently had a contract to provide DNS services to the White House, and possibly other Trump properties. As part of this 'lawful access', Joffe allegedly shared/sold DNS data with Sussman, who then tried as a 'good citizen' to inform the FBI. But neglected to mention he may have been working on behalf of his client, Clinton.

        Hence the indictment, which seems along the lines of wasting the FBI's time. Much as with the dodgy Steele dossier.

        I'm expecting Joffe & NeuStar to also be indicted. Logs showing White House DNS requests I think would be considered a tad sensitive & classified, and I'm fairly certain contracts wouldn't authorise sharing that data.

        Regardless of personal politics, the idea that a tech exec would exploit client's sensitive personal information and essentially conduct unauthorised surveillance of a President just seems a tad wrong.

    3. DS999 Silver badge

      Trump always spends other people's money

      He borrows everything from banks with falsified financial statements, or nowadays shakes down all his supporters for donations. You don't pay zero taxes (or $750 in taxes so you can claim you don't pay "zero taxes") when you've got tons of your own money to spend.

      So he'd find someone else to buy it and change it how he wants. And that may be exactly why Musk is doing this.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Trump always spends other people's money

        Musk can afford to buy a seat on the board. Not sure that would also entitle him to ban people who annoy him by tracking his location.

        As for tax dodging, that's a game the rich & shameless play. So how the Clinton's spent their foundation's money. Or the Biden laptop where Hunter was seemingly expected to pay the 'big man's household expenses possibly from company funds.

    4. BGatez

      Re: Why didn't old Trumper think of this?

      Cause he couldn't get someone else to pay for it

  12. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    "Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square…"

    Please, may this never be the case. It's just one of the many echo chambers that the internet has faciltated.

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Re: "Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square…"

      The problem is, twitter just happens to be the echo chamber where all the journalists hang out, so every stupid, tiny little spat on the platform gets amplified to international, life and career destroying news before you can say "cancel culture isn't real".

    2. razzaDazza1234

      Re: "Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square…"

      Course not. You work in It an you say that. LOL.

      Have you thought of another career? Maybe babysitting might fit.

      Musk is a tosser and looks weird as F. Who gives a monkey's arse? I don't but if Robot-face is reading and accepts my challenge I will fight him on the Common near me anytime! C'mon Elon, let's go.

      " It's just one of the many echo chambers that the internet has faciltated."

      What's this place then except an older version of Twitter? Most on here are now Luddites. The echoing of recurring Victor Meldrew-like topics of IT hated is still ringing in my ears from just this piece.

      Social Media requires greater social skills to flourish in, just like the real world. Most of your failings with it are your failings.

      The Register is not quite Radio4, but on it's way, when once it's was Noel's Swap Shop with Maggie Phelbin being hot hot hot.

      Like both, but rather a bit more Maggie.

      1. Victor Ludorum

        Re: "Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square…"

        I think someone needs their morning caffeine shot...

      2. Smeagolberg

        Re: "Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square…"

        >Social Media requires greater social skills to flourish in

        I think you meant a total lack of social skills to 'flourish' (*) in.

        (*) Like rats flourish in sewers, and flies on...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square…"

        The Register is not quite Radio4, but on it's way

        You say that like it's a bad thing...

      4. trashsilo
        Meh

        Twas not Tiswas

        No Tiswas angle...+1 for bringing up impending Money Box Live Cliff facing all best topical news programmes.

        Its gone too far once there is talk of saving 20 quid on any Microsoft licence.

      5. Charlie Clark Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: "Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square…"

        The Register is not quite Radio4

        Personally, I've been pleasantly surprised at the resilience and development of commentary on El Reg. While there are plenty of oldtimers, it seems there is reasonable supply of new people with their own ideas. There are areas of broad agreement but, politics aside, I think there are few areas where the "my way or the highway" mentality of many echo chambers. And even when politics breaks through, it's generally (not always), possible to accept differing opinions may be valid. Of course, this does indicate some degree of socio-economic self-selection, but that's true for all media. And I suspect the moderators are kept busy.

        And, The Register, manages to provide a degree of balance through the bootnotes, etc.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Truth Optional

    With the current failure to thrive of Trump’s social network Pravda – sorry, “Truth” Social, it’s quite clear to me what Musk’s agenda is – to use a major share-owning lever to force Twitter to allow Trump back on their platform – if not in time for the forthcoming mid-term elections, certainly before the next presidential elections in two years’ time.

    Musk is doing what right wing psychopathic billionaires do all around the world currently – facilitate their extreme right wing psychopathic politician pals to maintain power, and using the current in-vogue dog whistle tropes used by his ilk of democracy and freedom to do so. Just imagine the dodgy contracts coming Musk’s way from a grateful Trump. And just imagine the consequences of further evaporation and permanent elimination of our democratic structures Musk’s influence peddling will bring about. And all this just to add a few billion dollars more into Musk’s already ridiculously swollen coffers.

    1. Smeagolberg

      Re: Truth Optional

      Trump vs Musk for next presidential candidate... place your bets...

      ... and what's that... Zuckface coming up on the inside?

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Trump vs Musk

        Sorry to wet your face but Elon Musk can't stand for POTUS because he was not born in the good ole USofA.

        Only natural born loonies can stand for election under the GQP ticket.

        I predict Trump + DeathSantis to be the MAGA/Q pick for 2024.

        Unless Trump is in Jail by then. In that case, it will be DeathSantis + Boebert/Palin/MTG

        1. Roger Kynaston Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Trump vs Musk

          Ooh Palin. That would be good for the popcorn market.

          On the idea of the demented musk ox buying an antisocial media platform. So what? I don't have an antsocial media account (not personal just for my wife's pen name) and I doubt I will be in the market for a Tesla or be able to afford a seat on his penis extension.

          ---> because he should have a couple.

        2. Michael Habel Silver badge

          Re: Trump vs Musk

          Why blam the GOP, when the factoid your citing has already been noted in the US Constitutiion, as drafted by them Yanks that kicked your sorry rears?

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Truth Optional

        Elon Musk can't apply because he wasn't born in the US…

        Making predictions for US elections is fraught with difficulty but I suspect Trump won't get another chance. By then the world will have moved on while he hasn't and there are plenty of "soundalikes" who fancy their own chances. If he's not in prison by then, he'll probably enjoy choosing his successor.

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Truth Optional

      Why the left/right wing distinction?

      It's just like the good'ol days where oil, banking and railroad titans would buy up newspapers.

      1. boris9k3

        Re: Truth Optional

        FREE SPEACH. WE IN THE USA STILL BELIEVE IN THAT. LET US HOPE IT'S NOT DEAD YET.

        ONCE IT IS GONE WE ARE DOOMED.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: ONCE IT IS GONE WE ARE DOOMED

          Just don't say 'Gay' or LGBT in Florida then.(or that you work for Disney coz you are apparently a paedo)

          OTOH, you will soon be allowed to legally marry your 12yr old cousin in TN.ts.

          The USA is a f'd up place that is regressing to the world shown in 'A Handmaid's Tale' at a great rate of knots

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Thumb Down

            Re: ONCE IT IS GONE WE ARE DOOMED

            you failed to do your research...

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Truth Optional

      to use a major share-owning lever to force Twitter to allow Trump back on their platform

      I'm hoping for that anyway. I'm sure it's on Elon's list.

  14. Meeker Morgan

    Never mind "free speech absolutism".

    Banning a sitting president was bad for the brand.

    Yes they have the legal right. That's not the point, nor that he was a stinker (at least in my opinion).

    It was a decision that was bad for business by people who lost sight of the reason for being in business.

  15. Mr. Skeezix

    A propaganda piece Russia would be proud of

    Came here to learn why the share price went up, got propagandized by leftism instead.

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: A propaganda piece Russia would be proud of

      Well at least we know most of the readers are from the greater London Metro area. which explans it all.

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