Before the sale went through, Elon Musk plunged Twitter into stock chaos. When he first bought his 9.1% stake, the share price shot up 27 percent. But in his SEC filing, he made it crystal clear that he was willing to tank the stock as well: “If the deal doesn’t work, (…) I would need to reconsider my position as a shareholder.”
He added: “This is not a threat, it's simply not a good investment without the changes that need to be made.” But it wasn’t as simple for the company whose stock value was at the mercy of his decision.
Musk had made Twitter’s stock value into a meme – a meme he can control through his immense popularity on social media. Twitter had become dependent on the same power its platform had helped create. Even if the stock could have recovered from a rejected deal, it’s future would have remained volatile and uncertain.
We are increasingly experiencing this phenomenon in the editorial society. Share prices become pawns of individual players if they know how to leverage their power on social media and thus massively influence the perception and valuation of the company. You don't have to be the richest man in the world to do this, as the cases of GameStop and AMC have shown. A critical mass of like-minded people in a Reddit forum can be enough. He who controls the narrative in social media can also control the value of a company.