Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk is one of the most widely followed billionaires on Twitter. His love for Twitter is no secret. In fact, in December 2017, he openly expressed his love for Twitter in a tweet saying, “I love Twitter.” His activeness on the social media platform also makes him one of the few corporate CEOs who is followed by tens of millions of followers.
Love for Twitter or an addiction?
Elon Musk’s Twitter love, which may also be called an addiction, has led him into trouble lately. In August 2018, Musk tweeted that “he’s ‘considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.’” The tweet led him into legal trouble with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The regulatory authority accused him of securities fraud for misleading tweets. To settle the charges, Musk and Tesla had to shed $40 million in penalties. He also had to step down as Tesla’s chairman for three years.
Musk found himself in a pickle again for another tweet from February 2019. In the tweet, he said that Tesla “will make around 500k in 2019.” The SEC found that the $500k figure didn’t match Tesla’s official guidance for 2019. Musk realized his mistake and said he meant “annualized production rate at the end of 2019 probably around 500k.” Later in April, a federal judge asked the regulatory body and Musk to settle the dispute and approved the settlement in May.
Elon Musk’s Twitter following continues to grow
Since then, Musk certainly has been more careful while tweeting anything related to Tesla. However, these legal battles haven’t made him less active on Twitter. On the contrary, his popularity on Twitter continues to grow. As of September 20, Musk has 28.3 million followers on Twitter as compared to nearly 27 million about three months ago.
Maybe his witty, and sometimes sensible and playful, tweets could be one of the reasons for his large social media following. Let’s take a closer look.
Musk’s hide and seek on Twitter
On June 16, Tesla CEO surprised everyone by saying, “Just deleted my Twitter account” This was a tweet that he deleted later. To make his claim more believable, he changed his Twitter handle name from @elonmusk to “Daddy DotCom.”
Back then, we told you why it was very difficult to believe. Interestingly, the news of Musk leaving spiked Tesla’s stock. On June 17, Tesla stock settled with 4.7% day gains. If Musk leaves Twitter, he might not get into legal trouble as he did twice in the last year. However, he ended this prank by making a comeback on Twitter in the coming days.
Warren Buffett’s advice to Musk
On April 12, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett commented on Musk’s extensive use of Twitter. In an interview with Yahoo Finance, Buffett said that he doesn’t see “the necessity to communicate.” Called the Oracle of Omaha by fellow investors, Buffett added that Musk “has room for improvement” in his behavior as Tesla’s CEO.
As expected, Musk couldn’t keep quiet and started trolling Buffett with his witty tweets. Messing up with fellow billionaires and celebrities appears to be Musk’s habit. While replying to a tweet by MIT Technology Review on April 10, Musk called Jeff Bezos a copycat.
In the tweet he was replying to, he stated that “Now Amazon plans to launch a massive constellation of more than 3,000 internet satellites.” In the tweet, Musk was referring to recent similar action by his aerospace company Space X.
Elon Musk’s latest tweets
On September 19, Musk praised Daimler – the German auto giant for its move to abandon the development of gasoline engines. In a series of tweets, Musk congratulated Daimler for its move saying, “Electric is the future!” He called Daimler’s decision “very meaningful” as it comes from “the company that invented the internal combustion engine.” Musk added, “People will remember this day. Respect.”
This tweet is one of Musk’s more sensible ones. However, he doesn’t shy from making sarcastic comments about other automakers. On September 4, Porsche, the German luxury carmaker, unveiled its all-electric Taycan Turbo. A couple of days later, Musk made fun of its name on Twitter saying, “Um @Porsche, this word Turbo does not mean what you think it does.”
Tesla’s continued success with electric cars
While many criticize Musk for being super active on Twitter, Tesla’s contribution to making electric cars popular can’t be ignored. He started the company with a “mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.” He seems to be doing a great job at that.
Tesla currently is constructing its Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai, China. The production facility, which will open by the end of this year, will help improve Tesla’s already impressive sales.
Tesla’s continued success is making other legacy automakers nervous. Those competitors include General Motors (GM), Ford Motor Company (F), and Fiat Chrysler (FCAU). Despite being larger in terms of total vehicle sales and resources, GM, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler continue to struggle in the electric car segment.
However, Tesla’s stock price is continuing to struggle in 2019. Year-to-date, Tesla stock has lost 25.9%. In contrast, GM, Ford, and FCAU have gone up by 11.7%, 19.9%, and 3.5%, respectively.