Elon Musk ‘fills the gap left behind by Donald Trump’ as Twitter’s most controversial public figure, expert claims
- EXCLUSIVE: Tech expert says Musk is the most divisive public figure on Twitter
- He believes he has filled the void as most controversial celeb after Trump’s ban
- Musk has been in trouble before due to his tweets, including one which saw him lose his position as chairman of Tesla
Elon Musk is Twitter’s most controversial public figure, according to an expert.
Tech insider Sam Gilbert says Mr Musk, the pioneering billionaire behind SpaceX and Tesla, has filled the void left behind by former US president Donald Trump as Twitter’s most divisive celebrity.
Mr Gilbert says Musk’s combination of ‘real world power’ (the world’s second richest man) and his fan base (49.2million followers) gives him a huge amount of influence.
As a result, ‘Elon Musk is the public figure most likely to cause a Twitter controversy’, Mr Gilbert told MailOnline.
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Tech insider Sam Gilbert says Elon Musk’s combination of ‘real world power’ (the world’s second richest man) and his vast fan base (49.2million followers) gives him a huge amount of influence
Musk is no stranger to controversy. He was forced to step down as Tesla CEO in 2018 after being charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
It was his enforced punishment for an ill-advised tweet where he said: ‘Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.’
The tweet saw Tesla’s share price rise more than 13 per cent but was ultimately misleading as Tesla did not go public until June 29, 2010.
‘However, that hasn’t stopped Musk tweeting about other topics in a way that influences financial markets – including GameStop shares and cryptocurrencies during 2021,’ Mr Gilbert adds.
‘If he continues, it seems likely that controversy will spill over into the political arena.’
From calling the coronavirus pandemic ‘dumb’ to announcing Tesla’s – his own company’s – stock price is ‘too high’, Musk is known for his bizarre tweets
He says that Musk has a lot of ‘reach power’ which comes as a result of his digital profile.
‘Reach Power can be used in myriad ways; for political purposes or for commercial ones; for good or for ill,’ Mr Gilbert says.
‘At the moment, Musk seems to be using Reach Power from Twitter to mobilise his admirers in service of his own agenda.’
Following Trump’s twitter ban, ‘Elon Musk is the public figure most likely to cause a Twitter controversy’, tech expert Sam Gilbert told MailOnline
Tech insider Sam Gilbert says Elon Musk is now Twitter’s most divisive celebrity. His book ‘Good data’ is published April 1
Despite Mr Musk’s divisive nature, it is unlikely he will meet the same fate as Donald Trump, according to Mr Gilbert, author of the upcoming book Good Data.
‘Unlike Trump, Musk can’t be said to have broken any of Twitter’s rules with his tweets on GameStop, Bitcoin, or Dogecoin,’ he told MailOnline.
‘So, Twitter wouldn’t have grounds to suspend his account.
‘But this might say more about the gaps in Twitter’s rules than the acceptability of Musk’s tweets.
‘If there were Twitter rules on promoting high-risk financial products – and/or stricter “Authenticity” rules for highly-followed accounts – he would surely have fallen foul of them.’
Good Data – An Optimist’s Guide to Our Digital Future by Sam Gilbert is published by Welbeck on 1 April, hardback £14.99.
WHAT WERE ELON MUSK’S OUTBURSTS LEADING UP TO ‘PEDO GUY’ COMMENT?
In July 2018, Musk attacked British diver Vern Unsworth, who had dismissed the Tesla chief’s efforts to help the rescue mission for the 12 boys as a ‘PR stunt’ in a widely seen interview on CNN.
Musk, without providing any justification or explanation, referred to Unsworth as ‘pedo guy’ in a since-deleted tweet. ‘Pedo’ is short for pedophile.
Unsworth told AFP he had not reviewed the tweets in full and had only heard about them.
But asked if he would take legal action against Musk over the allegation, Unsworth said: ‘If it’s what I think it is yes.’
Musk also denied giving donations to a political action committee dedicated to helping the Republicans maintain control of the house.
This was despite the Federal Election Commission releasing annual filings this week showing Musk as one of the top 50 donors.
While Musk has described himself as ‘half Democrat, half Repulican’ in the past, it struck many as hypocritical that a green energy CEO would donate nearly $40,000 (£30,700) to help keep in power a political party that has largely ignored or denied climate change.
Despite the fact that publicly-available FEC documents prove his donations to the PAC, Musk tweeted afterward that ‘reports that I am a top donor of the GOP are categorically false’.
‘I am not a top donor to any political party,’ he said.
In the past few months, Musk has become embroiled in a series of spats with the news media.
He has chastised reporters for focusing on accidents of autonomous cars instead of their safety potential, and accusing one news organisation of being ‘relentlessly negative’ about Tesla.
Shares were pummeled in May after Musk abruptly cut off questions from Wall Street analysts over Tesla’s spending plans.
In an earnings call, he berated analysts for asking ‘boring’ questions and sidestepped questions about Tesla’s massive capital needs.
The billionaire branded one industry analyst a ‘boring bonehead’ during the bizarre session, saying another’s ‘questions are so dry they are killing me’.
He also alleged ‘sabotage’ at Tesla’s operations by an employee, who responded by claiming to be a ‘whistleblower.’
The Tesla CEO wrote a lengthy note to all of his staff stating that he had discovered someone working intently on causing malicious damage within the company’s ranks.
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