What auspicious timing! Last Friday, Revolver called for Elon Musk to ignite the “Battle of the Century” and declare war on the American regime by buying and remaking its favorite propaganda outlet, Twitter. Now, on Monday, the news broke that Musk has purchased a 9.2% stake in the company, making him its single-largest shareholder:
Musk owns 73,486,938 shares of Twitter, which represents a 9.2% passive stake in the company, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission 13G filing released Monday. The stake is worth $2.89 billion, based Twitter’s closing price Friday.
The purchase comes less than two weeks after Musk criticized the company, polling people on Twitter about whether it adheres to free speech principles. “Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy,” Musk tweeted. “What should be done?” [CNBC]
Musk’s new stake is four times the size of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s. It’s more than twice the size of the stake held by Elliott Management, the Paul Singer-founded hedge fund that forced out CEO Jack Dorsey last year. Initially, Musk said he planned to file SEC paperwork as a passive stakeholder in the company, but just one day later, he reversed course completely, filing an SEC 13D form reserved for active investors, while Twitter announced Musk will become one of twelve members of Twitter’s board of directors.
Looking forward to working with Parag & Twitter board to make significant improvements to Twitter in coming months!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 5, 2022
Certainly, being a passive stakeholder in the world’s primary speech platform would be lame, and unworthy of Musk.
Elon’s term on the board runs through 2024. As long as he serves on the board, and for 90 days after he leaves, his personal stake in Twitter is capped at 14.9%, meaning that he cannot bid for a full takeover for the time being. Still, as a board member, Musk gets one of twelve votes for the position of CEO and other senior leadership posts. He’ll also have a direct voice on executive compensation, dividends, and other financial matters for the company. Importantly, as a board member, Musk has a fiduciary duty to Twitter stockholders: All his actions must be carried out for the good of Twitter.
What now? Musk hasn’t said much yet. His first tweet since joining the board simply polled users on whether to add an edit button. But far bolder options are available. Musk is now the single most dominant force on the world’s most important speech platform. This is not a position to waste, and Musk is certainly not the kind of man to waste golden opportunities.
Here’s what Elon could do next:
1. Force a vote to re-admit Donald Trump onto the platform.
The cancellation of Donald Trump was the single biggest flex of the American regime in the past five years. Trump was the sitting United States president, with tens of millions of enthusiastic supporters, and Twitter, in coordination with Facebook, YouTube, and payment processor Stripe (plus many others) effectively cut him off from communicating with that base. In one single decisive offensive, Big Tech showed that “democracy” and “free speech” take a definitive backseat to propaganda and narrative control in the operation of online speech platforms.
If Elon takes a stand in support of reversing Trump’s ban, it would be a clear sign of his serious intent to revive Twitter as a real free speech platform. Even if the effort fails, the battle lines would be clearly drawn.
2. Push out CEO Parag Agrawal
When Jack Dorsey stepped down as CEO last November and Indian immigrant Parag Agrawal took his place, the ramifications for Twitter free speech were immediate and severe:
Since Agrawal took the reins, the site permabanned one of the accounts of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) for allegedly violating its “COVID-19 misinformation policy.”
Twitter also permanently barred Dr. Robert Malone — who has widely been credited with inventing the mRNA technology used in the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 immunizations — without identifying the offending content. Malone’s posts had questioned the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.
Another scientist, Prof. Michael Makris, who specialized in hemostasis and thrombosis at the University of Sheffield, had to delete a tweet on a new type of COVID-19 vaccine under development, or face a ban. [NY Post]
All of this was just as Musk himself anticipated:
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 1, 2021
A more ban-happy Twitter under Agrawal did not actually come as a shock. While Jack Dorsey had an actual ideological commitment to free speech (and clearly disliked the anti-speech direction others were dragging his company), Agrawal seems indifferent. In a 2020 interview with the MIT Technology Review, Agrawal said “our role is not to be bound by the First Amendment,” and instead argued Twitter’s purpose was to decide “who can be heard.”
If Musk is serious about reviving the old Twitter, a good start would be shoving out its anti-speech CEO. And he’ll have a good financial argument for doing so, as Twitter stock was barely half of what it was a year ago until Musk swooped in to boost it.
3. Declassify everything.
Okay, Twitter isn’t the CIA (it merely works for them), so it doesn’t have “classified” information. But it has plenty of internal secrets about how it really operates. It routinely bans users who have committed no actual offense, based on some kind of algorithm about them liking or following the “wrong” people. It claims not to shadowban users, yet it clearly does so (or uses some alternative tactic whose effect is indistinguishable from shadowbanning).
Even if Musk doesn’t yet have the power to change all these policies, he may have the power to reveal them to the world. Musk can use his board seat to demand transparency and accountability. One place to start: How did the company end up suppressing completely accurate reporting about Hunter Biden’s laptop? As Twitter’s most powerful stakeholder, Musk is in a position to find out, and then tell the world.
4. Destroy the bluechecks.
Twitter user @PresentWitness presented a worthy idea on Tuesday morning:
11. Remove 'verified status' for most journos, commentators, and media outlets. These individuals /companies do not deserve to have their signal amplified. The decision to grandfather in legacy media single-handedly preserved their control over The Narrative.
— J. (@PresentWitness_) April 4, 2022
Twitter was originally created as a decentralized, democratic speech apparatus. But the blue checkmark, at first instituted to verify famous users, has given rise to a class system. Twitter initially gave blue checkmarks even to its most controversial users, to prevent impostors and fraudsters from impersonating them. But then, sometime after the rise of Donald Trump, Twitter stopped handing out blue checkmarks even to those users who could prove their identity, while liberally handing them out to its most liberal users. Twitter also “punished” certain “naughty” users, like Milo Yiannopoulos and Richard Spencer, by stripping them of their blue checkmarks. Thus, those possessing a verified “blue checkmark” on Twitter evolved into an elite class of yappers, with corresponding stereotypical “woke” views and attitudes. Instead of simply reflecting who has a “confirmed” identity, blue checkmarks became a status symbol handed out to those deemed worthy. Blue checkmarks elevate the voices of even the most useless “journalists” while suppressing those of genuinely worthwhile anons.
So break up the system. Reserve a check mark for official government actors, and get rid of them for the commentariat. Alternately, propose changing the symbol to something more fitting. Since bluechecks are overwhelmingly hall monitor types who love homework, a gold star may suffice.
5. Troll everyone
Twitter, like so many other corporations, is registered in Delaware, and Delaware corporate law grants stockholders the right to “inspect corporate books and records” if they have a “proper purpose” that is “sufficiently tailored” to identify the specific records demanded. The records that can be demanded aren’t just financial statements, but thanks to quite recent Delaware court precedent can even include things like internal emails and communications.
Now, obviously, cranks with a single share aren’t simply allowed to demand every internal secret of a major company. But if any person has the resources necessary to develop and then request detailed records from within Twitter using existing legal avenues, it’s the world’s richest man. Musk can finance all the paperwork and legal challenges necessary to put Twitter’s records under the microscope. How do the company’s algorithms decide whom to censor? How do the company’s news curators decide what hashtags to “organically” promote as trending? Are these decisions really made with an eye toward maximizing returns for Twitter shareholders, or are they done for reasons of political ideology? Musk can make the case, and force Twitter higher-ups to either reveal the truth or squirm uncomfortably trying to hide it.
Musk should do all of this as loudly and publicly as possible. Besides getting positive public attention on the cause of reforming Twitter, Musk could cause individual Twitter employees to leave the company in a tiff, and that can only be a good thing.
6. Go all the way: Take Twitter private.
Musk’s board seat deal caps his stake at below 15 percent, but there’s no reason Musk couldn’t walk away from the deal if the board unites to sabotage him. Musk is the world’s richest man, so he could easily swallow up all of Twitter in one gulp, just as Revolver suggested last week. This is the most powerful option and the most compelling, for obvious reasons. Musk could restore Twitter to its old 2012 censorship rules, or go even further and announce that Twitter’s speech policies will henceforth be constrained by the U.S. First Amendment and nothing else. He could air out all the company’s dirty laundry from a decade of steadily-escalating control and censorship, and promise that his new speech platform would be run on very different lines.
He could, in short, dare to be a great man, and not just a very rich one.
As we wrote several days ago:
Free speech online is what enabled the Trump revolution in 2016. If the Internet had been as free in 2020 as it was four years before, Trump would have cruised to reelection. Massive censorship and suppression are the tools needed to prop up Covid tyranny, the Ukraine war fever, and the idea that Lia Thomas is a “woman.” America’s decrepit and illegitimate ruling class intuitively understand this: Absolute freedom of speech, or even the speech norms that prevailed a mere decade ago, would instantly cause the American regime as we know it to crumble.
In short, transforming Twitter back into a real free speech platform would represent nothing less than a declaration of war against the Globalist American Empire.
Revolver is happy to see that Musk has put his money where his tweets are and entered the fray. We look forward to the battle to come.
Support our war chest with a monthly subscription and enjoy a faster, minimal Revolver.News reading experience.