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Elon Musk just bought a big stake in Twitter

Space X and Tesla founder now owns 9.2% of the social media giant.
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Written by Steve Ranger, Editorial director, ZDNet on

Elon Musk has unexpectedly become the largest shareholder in social media giant Twitter, with a holding worth around $3 billion.

The Tesla and SpaceX chief now owns 73,486,938 shares in Twitter which accounts for 9.2 percent of the social media company's common stock.

The information comes from a new regulatory filing by Twitter to the Securities and Exchange Commission, and is based on the 800,641,166 shares of common stock outstanding as of February 10, 2022. It appears that the purchase took place on 14 March.

Musk is a regular and enthusiastic user of Twitter and has around 80 million followers, using it for everything from jokes and memes, and pondering the nature of the universe, to news about rocket launches and Tesla's performance.

He's also used the platform recently to debate the role of Twitter itself, in a conversation that may take on additional resonance after his giant shareholding was revealed.

Late last month Musk posted a Twitter poll on the subject of Twitter, asking "Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy. Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?" 

At the time he noted: "The consequences of this poll will be important. Please vote carefully." 

Just under a third (29.6%) said 'yes' but a significant majority – 70.4% -- said 'no'.

After the results came in he noted: "Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy," and followed that with another question: "Is a new platform needed?" 

However, so far he hasn't used Twitter to discuss why he's made such a large investment in the company.

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