Elon Musk Gets Into Spat with Twitter Mega Shareholder

Multi-billionaire Elon Musk came face to face with Saudi Arabian business tycoon Alwaleed bin Talal, who is also a shareholder of Twitter, which Musk pitched to buy a couple of days ago.

The Saudi prince voiced his opposition to Musk’s offer. 

Two Twitter Shareholders Came Face to Face

According to Saudi Prince Talal, Musk’s offer of $43 billion does not come even close to “the intrinsic value” of Twitter.

He stated he is the largest and long-term shareholder of the platform, alongside the Saudi conglomerate Kingdom Holding Company (KHC). So, he announced neither he, nor KHC, wanted Musk to buy the platform.

The prince also shared his seven-year-old tweet, in which he mentioned he bought 5.2 percent of Twitter shares.

This is when things got heated up.

Musk retaliated on Twitter and asked the prince what his and his country’s views were regarding freedom of speech on the platform.

Musk also asked Talal how much he and his country hold the stakes on Twitter.

According to the tech billionaire, he wants Twitter to turn into a private entity to unlock the full potential of the platform. Musk already indicated he is not buying Twitter to make money out of it, but to promote freedom of speech.

Many Twitter users and human rights activists quickly put their weight behind Musk and started questioning the Saudi government’s human rights designs.

A US-based Freedom Initiative highlighted the story of an internet activist, Abdulrahman, who was recently jailed for 20 years, due to his tweets.

Saudi Arabia had more than 12 million Twitter users in January, the eighth highest in any country in the world.

Still, the country makes headlines for its oppressive behavior against activists and bans any independent media entity.

The US has even linked the crown prince of the country, Mohammad bin Salman, to the barbaric murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi for his criticism of the Saudi government.

Critics Don’t Want Two People Deciding Twitter’s Future

In 2019, the US government charged two Twitter employees recruited by Saudi Arabia, who were involved in spying on Americans by stealing their data.

Thus, Musk tweeted about the report in the New York Times which mentioned those arrests.

He is one of the biggest critics of censorship on the platform, which is prompting him to turn the company into a private entity to keep it as free as possible.

However, people from academia also jumped into the discussion of Musk and Talal and raised their concerns about the possible deal.

An assistant professor of Middle East studies, Marc Owen Jones, stated it is “disturbing” to see the future of any global communication platform is about to be decided by only two people.

Twitter responded to Musk’s offer, stating the company would “carefully review” the offer to decide what is in the best interest of every stockholder.