Elon Musk, the soon to be new owner of Twitter Inc. (TWTR), has been an active presence on the social networking website for many years now. The billionaire entrepreneur regularly uses his account to discuss whatever is on his mind—whether that be someone he has a problem with, politics, investment markets, business ventures, or just some really random thought—and has a tendency to invite controversy.
His tweets have sent asset prices surging and crashing, triggered lawsuits and regulatory investigations, and earned him a pretty big fan club along the way—Musk is the seventh most followed user on the platform. And Musk's tweets are now being picked apart more than ever before as people around the world attempt to guess what's in store for one of the internet's most loved websites.
- Elon Musk uses Twitter to make jokes and share his opinions, which both often happen to be controversial.
- He's the seventh most followed Twitter user and highly influential.
- Musk is renowned for poking fun at people who cross him, weighing in on global events, manipulating asset prices, and sharing his thoughts on how Twitter should be run.
- It is his tweets about Twitter that are generating most of the attention now that he's set to take over the company.
Making Fun of People
Musk is known for lashing out at people on social media, particularly those who cross him. A few days before striking a deal to buy Twitter, Musk mocked Bill Gates by tweeting a photo of him alongside an emoji depicting a pregnant man. The joke, intended to make fun of Gates' weight, was made off the back of speculation that the Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) co-founder shorted Tesla Inc. (TSLA) stock.
It isn't just high-profile figures that Musk taunts. On one occasion, the man behind Tesla and SpaceX was sued for defamation for calling a diver working to rescue boys trapped in a cave in Thailand a 'pedo.'" Musk made the controversial comment after the diver mocked Musk's proposal to use a mini-submarine crafted out of a SpaceX rocket part to assist in the rescue mission.
Musk craves attention and isn't afraid to offend or get in trouble for expressing his opinions. Classic examples include criticizing Democrat proposals to launch a billionaire tax and downplaying the COVID-19 pandemic. Musk spoke out against lockdowns and compared Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Hitler because of his vaccine mandates.
Musk has also come out with some random, borderline crazy stuff, presumably with the aim to get people's attention. In the past, he's talked about a desire to nuke Mars and buy The Coca-Cola Corporation (KO) so that he can "put the cocaine back in."
Sending Cryptocurrency Markets Crazy
Another thing Musk hasn't been able to stay quiet about is cryptocurrency. Apparently, he is a fan of digital currencies. However, Musk is also hugely influential, meaning any time he talks about an investable asset its valuation tends to fluctuate significantly.
Toying With Tesla's Share Price
It's not just the prices of various cryptocurrencies that Musk has affected with his tweets. He's also used the platform to alter how much shares in the company he owns trade hands for.
In 2018, Musk got into trouble for misleadingly tweeting that he was considering taking Tesla private after securing the necessary funding. That tweet led Tesla's shares to soar and the regulators to get angry. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused Musk of fraud, hit him with a fine, and ordered him never to tweet information about the company again without first getting the approval of other Tesla executives and the company's lawyers.
Musk mainly abided but every now and then couldn't resist the chance to flout the rules a bit. In 2020, he drove down Tesla's share price by claiming that it was too high. Then, in 2021, he asked his Twitter followers if he should sell a 10% stake in the car manufacturer, prompting further action from the SEC.
Musk has also had plenty to say about Twitter over the years. The billionaire has spoken of his admiration for the social networking service in the past, although lately his comments have turned much more negative.
Among other things, he's criticized Twitter for spending engineering resources on creating NFT profile pictures, not making its algorithm public, and not upholding the principles of free speech. Musk's obsession with the latter began around the time the SEC limited what he could write about. And he is now claiming that defending free speech is the main reason why he wants to buy Twitter.
The Bottom Line
Musk's often controversial tweets have crafted a public image of him as a joker, rebel, freethinker, bully, and sometimes just a regular Joe.
There are millions of ways to interpret what he says on the website and what that says about his character. However, some of his tweets at least maybe offer us a glimpse at what a Musk-owned Twitter could look like. If Musk was sincere about what he said, then plenty of changes could be forthcoming, including less moderation of content, bringing back banned accounts, making algorithms open source, killing off spam bots, and enabling posts to become editable.
How Much Is Musk Paying for Twitter?
Musk has agreed to pay $54.20 per share in cash to acquire Twitter in a deal that values the company at roughly $44 billion.
Does Twitter Make Money?
Twitter generates revenues through two main channels: advertising and data licensing. It consistently struggles to turn a profit, though, which is something that new owner Musk, assuming the deal goes through, will need to address.
How Many Followers Does Elon Musk Have on Twitter?
As of April 29, 2022, Musk has just over 88 million followers, making him the seventh-highest followed user on Twitter and the most followed business leader.