While Elon Musk is busy trying to buy Twitter, another shareholder has upped its stake in the company, knocking Musk off his perch as the company’s largest shareholder.
“Asset manager Vanguard Group recently upped its stake in the social-media platform and is now the company’s largest shareholder, bumping Mr. Musk out of the top spot,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “Vanguard disclosed on April 8 that it now owns 82.4 million shares of Twitter, or 10.3% of the company, according to the most recent publicly available filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.”
Musk gave a TED Talk on Thursday where he addressed matters involving his attempts to buy the company, including his backup plan in case the plan fails.
“If in this case you are not successful in that the board does not accept your offer, you’ve said you won’t go higher, is there a plan B?” Musk was asked.
“There is,” Musk responded while smiling.
When asked what his backup plan is, Musk said he would discuss that at another time.
Q: "If in this case you are not successful, you know, the board does not accept your offer, you've said you won't go higher. Is there a plan B?"
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) April 14, 2022
“I think it’s very important for there to be an inclusive arena for free speech,” Musk said during the event. “Twitter has become kind of the de facto town square, so it’s really important that people have both the reality and perception that they’re able to speak freely within the bounds of the law.”
Musk said that Twitter needed to make its algorithm open sourced and that any action the company takes against tweets need to be thoroughly explained to the public to stop “behind the scenes manipulation” on the platform by the company.
“It’s important to the function of democracy, it’s important to the function of the United States as a free country and many other countries, and to help freedom in the world more broadly than in the U.S.,” Musk said. “Civilizational risk is decreased the more we can increase the trust of Twitter as a public platform, and so I do think this will be somewhat painful.”
“My strong intuitive sense is that having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization,” Musk said. “I don’t care about the economics at all.”
According to Musk, Twitter’s secret algorithms, which he said promote some tweets while not promoting others, can be “quite dangerous.”
Musk said when it comes to judging whether tweets should be taken down due to the nature of the content in the tweet, the policy should be: if in doubt, let the tweet exist.
Musk added that a good sign as to whether or not free speech exists is if someone is allowed to say something that you do not like.
On the issue of world’s richest man owning Twitter, Musk pointed to Mark Zuckerberg’s ownership of Facebook and Instagram.
This report has been updated to include additional information.