- BBC News World
The announcement of an agreement for the purchase of Twitter by Elon Musk generated a lively debate about the future of the platform.
Even the US government weighed in, expressing “concerns about the power of big social media.”
But the projected $44bn takeover also exposed the South African-born billionaire businessman’s controversial “Twitter story.”
Since joining the platform in 2009, Musk has often gotten into trouble and more than once faced legal action for it.
Here’s a look back at some of the most controversial tweets from Twitter’s soon-to-be new owner.
1. Rescue of Thai cave boys
In 2019, Elon Musk faced trial for defamation after calling the British diver Vernon Unsworth as a “pedophile” on Twitter; the post was later deleted.
Unsworth had risen to international fame a year earlier after leading efforts to rescue 12 teenagers when they became trapped in an underground cave in Thailand.
Musk was trying to help the operation and wanted to donate a mini-submarine.
Instead, he got into a war of words with Unsworth on the social network after the diver turned down the offer, calling it a “PR stunt.”
After Musk’s comments, Unsworth sued him for defamation and US claimed him$190 millionbut a Los Angeles court ruled in favor of the businessman.
At the time, Unsworth’s lawyer, Lin Wood, said: “This verdict sends a signal … that you can make any accusation you want, however vile and however false, and someone can get away with it.” .
2. Reactions to covid-19
When Covid-19 infections were spreading across the globe in March 2020 and little was known about the disease, Elon Musk pulled no punches when he criticized measures like lockdowns and called the coronavirus panic “foolish.”
In one of his tweets on the subject, published on June 30 of that year, Musk questioned the criteria for determining if someone had died from the new coronavirus.
The businessman, who is vaccinated against covid-19, publicly opposed the obligation to be vaccinated and angered Jewish organizations by comparing Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Adolf Hitler during the Canadian truckers’ protests against compulsory inoculation. .
3. At the height of Putin
There were many passionate reactions from public figures to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but Elon Musk’s was certainly one of the most peculiar.
On March 14, the businessman took to Twitter to challenge the Russian president to a duel, Vladimir Putin.
“I hereby challenge Vladimir Putin to single combat. What is at stake is Ukraine.”
Later, he went directly to the official account of the Russian presidency, reiterating the invitation. Putin, judo black belt, did not answer.
4. Offense to the US president.
Elon Musk made his fortune from a number of companies including the electric car factory Tesla, which became the leading player in the business.
Last January, the billionaire seemed irritated by a comment by the US president, Joe Bidenon the production of electric cars in the United States, in which Tesla is not mentioned and its competitors are.
“Biden is a wet sock puppet in human form,” he tweeted.
5. Damage to Tesla with a tweet
Elon Musk has gotten into trouble with the Tesla shareholders several times due to his comments on Twitter, which have cost the company money.
Last November, Tesla shares fell almost 5% after the businessman conducted a Twitter poll on whether he should sell part of his stake in the company; in fact, 58% of the 3.5 million accounts that voted said it should.
In May 2020, Musk wreaked even more havoc by tweeting that he thought the company’s stock price was “too high.”
The comment removed $14 billion from Tesla’s market value.
6. And more recently… that Coca-Cola joke
Elon Musk’s most recent Twitter controversy, which came after he announced the deal to buy the company, caused a stir.
On Wednesday, he jokingly announced plans to purchase the business Coca-Cola to be able to add cocaine to the formula of the most famous soft drink in the world.
The original drink, invented in 1885 by American pharmacist John Pemberton, contained coca leaf extract. At the time, cocaine was legal and a common ingredient in medications, according to the US National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The substance was later removed from the drink and has not been an ingredient since 1929.
While some of Musk’s 87.4 million followers reacted favorably to the post, others criticized what they saw as a reference to drugs.
It was not the first time that the businessman got into trouble for illicit substances.
In a commented video interview with podcaster Joe Rogan in 2018, Elon Musk smoked marijuana. They were in California at the time, where the drug is legal, but critics argued it didn’t look good.
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6 times Elon Musk tweeted and got into trouble – BBC News