(AbsoluteNews.com) – Twitter’s censorship has become a hot button issue in the country. For years, the company has been accused of censoring conservative voices. Those accusations have reached a fever pitch since the company’s decision in 2021 to ban then-sitting President Donald Trump. Since then, the tech giant has repeatedly silenced voices on the Right.
Recently, billionaire Elon Musk criticized Twitter for its problematic behavior. Now, he’s been named the biggest stakeholder in the company.
Twitter’s Largest Shareholder
On Monday, April 4, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) 13G filing revealed Musk owns 73,486,938 shares of Twitter which accounts for a 9.2% passive stake in the company, with a worth totaling nearly $3 billion. Comparatively, Twitter Founder Jack Dorsey only owns 2.25% of the company’s stock.
The news about Musk comes days after he criticized the company for censoring users. On March 26, he asked his Twitter followers whether they believe the company is adhering to the principles of free speech. Over 70% of respondents said “no.”
Free speech is essential to a functioning democracy.
Do you believe Twitter rigorously adheres to this principle?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 25, 2022
When Musk asked his followers to vote in the poll, he prefaced it by arguing that Twitter has become the “de facto public town square” and therefore should respect the First Amendment.
The Tesla founder isn’t the only one who has made the town square argument. When the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, the internet wasn’t even a blip on the radar. When people wanted to speak out and reach a large audience, they’d literally walk to the town square and talk to their fellow townsfolk. In 2022, social media platforms have become that – on steroids. One person has the potential to reach millions of people instantly. When companies like Twitter suspend or censor accounts, they effectively silence the person in the town square.
Over the years, experts have made the argument that silencing people in the new town square should be unconstitutional. In fact, in the case of Packingham v. North Carolina, the SCOTUS ruled states can’t limit a person’s access to social media. Although the argument was more that the government couldn’t silence a person. On the flip side, Conservatives believe it should mean the platforms themselves don’t have a right to censor people in the public square.
What does that all mean for Musk and Twitter? That’s unclear at this time. Musk is a passive shareholder, a type that doesn’t typically hold an active role, however, a US Securities and Exchange Commission filing shows Twitter is appointing Musk to its board of directors. Will the Tesla CEO be able to succeed in making the company more First Amendment friendly and less prone to silencing Conservatives?
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