Elon Musk's most controversial tweets

A look at some of the billionaire's most notorious tweets, some of which caused Tesla's stock prices to slump

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Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter and its self-proclaimed Chief Twit, has promised the platform will be a bastion of “free speech” without becoming a “free-for-all hellscape”.

The world's richest man is himself a prolific and spontaneous tweeter, and has since 2009 used the platform to share memes, boost cryptocurrencies, promote his many businesses and, more recently, weigh in on geopolitics.

Here's a look at some of Mr Musk's most notorious tweets.

'Funding secured'

In 2018, Mr Musk tweeted that he had secured funding to take Tesla private at $420 per share.

The tweet sparked an investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Mr Musk exposed himself to legal risk by tweeting he had the funding for a buyout, without providing specifics to back up the claim. He was fined $40 million.

Alienating some of his fan base

Mr Musk's all-electric vision and his reinvention of the electric car won him a devoted fan base from environmentally-minded wealthy people, particularly in the liberal coastal areas of the US.

The billionaire had long grumbled about the regulations he faced running his business in Democrat-held California, so it was no surprise when he moved Tesla to Texas last year.

But coming out in support of the Republican Party, which for years has pushed for additional oil drilling while playing down or denying humanity's impact on climate, came as a shock to many and arguably began a slide in Tesla stock prices that continues to this day.

Wartime diplomacy?

Mr Musk also saw Tesla's shares slump after he waded into the thorniest issue of all, opining on Russia's war in Ukraine.

Even though Twitter's new owner is supplying free internet service to Ukrainian forces and civilians through his Starlink system, many saw a survey he ran as parroting Moscow's lines on the war.

A British legislator accused Mr Musk of playing a “double game” in Ukraine and Ukrainian President responded Volodymyr Zelenskyy responded with a survey of his own, asking who people like more: one who supports Russia, or one who supports Ukraine.

To the moon?

Mr Musk is an ardent fan of cryptocurrencies and in 2021 Tesla invested $1.5 billion in Bitcoin and began accepting the currency for payments.

The move sparked a rally in Bitcoin, which was mostly used as a speculative investment instrument rather than a mode of day-to-day payment. But Tesla recently reported it had lost $170 million in its digital asset programme.

Mr Musk also famously boosted Dogecoin, sending what once had been a joke crypto up more than 36,000 per cent over two years before it crashed.

Mr Musk, SpaceX and Tesla are being sued for $258bn over claims they were part of a racketeering scheme to back Dogecoin.

Not feeling the Bern

Mr Musk enjoys taking on politicians and has a long-running spat with President Joe Biden, who pointedly ignores Tesla even when talking up the importance of electric cars in the US.

The billionaire called the president a “damp sock puppet in human form” on Twitter in January, and last year took on Senator Bernie Sanders after the liberal icon said the extremely wealthy should pay higher taxes.

Updated: October 28, 2022, 4:34 PM
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