Elon Musk or the power to turn everything upside down with 280 characters

The tweets of the richest man in the world have a lot of power. They can cause the short-lived value of cryptocurrencies to rise or fall or affect Wall Street. His influence reaches such a point that even the US Securities and Exchange Commission fined Musk for spreading false information in 2018.

According to Bloomberg, the fortune of Elon Musk, the world’s richest person, is worth $279 billion. In addition to his portfolio, the CEO of Tesla likes to show his power with controversial tweets. 280 characters is enough space for the tycoon to send cryptocurrencies “to the moon” or underground, send hateful messages to politicians fighting for billionaires to pay their taxes, or simply confuse his more than 63 million followers with abstract poems in Chinese.

He has also used this social network to do surveys. In early November he asked on Twitter if he should get rid of 10% of his shares in Tesla. “There is a lot of talk lately that unrealized profits are a means of tax avoidance, which is why I propose to sell 10% of my Tesla shares. Do you support this?” the South African-born billionaire wrote referring to the United States. The United States doesn’t have to declare the shares that one owns until they are sold, although products can be contracted (such as a line of credit) with those shares as collateral.

More than 3.5 million people participated in the poll and the “yes” has won with almost 60%. However, according to a document held by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Musk had decided to get rid of that package before listening to his followers to cover tax obligations, since according to CNBC he owes in taxes up to 15,000 million of dollars and analysts suggest that selling part of your stake in Tesla is the only way you could generate enough cash.

In this thread, Musk noted that he didn’t receive a salary or bonuses for his position at Tesla, but instead was rewarded with options on shares of the company. What he forgot to mention is that he has an option – expiring in August 2022 – that would allow him to buy 22.86 million Tesla shares at $ 6.24 each. A negligible figure compared to the value of the NASDAQ stock, which is currently around $ 1,000.

This unusual tweet generated turmoil during the Wall Street session, as Musk lost several tens of millions of dollars selling at a price significantly lower than if he had done so before his tweet, but that also helped him pay less tax for its sale. So far this month, Musk has sold less than 5% of his stock for $ 7.8 billion.

The most expensive tweets

It’s not the first time that a post has cost money to the founder and chief engineer of SpaceX. In 2018, the SEC fined Musk and Tesla $ 20 million, after the mogul announced on Twitter that he was considering taking the company off the stock market. The SEC claimed that the information released in the tweet was “false and misleading” and also forced Musk to step down as Tesla’s presidency for three years.

In May 2020, the 50-year-old businessman managed to sink his company’s shares after tweeting that in his opinion the price of Tesla’s shares was “too high”. Not only does Musk go online to make business announcements, but he also tweets about anything.

For example, that same day he also announced that he was selling “almost all” of his physical possessions. “I will not own any house,” he tweeted. He then posted the lyrics to the US anthem and also a tweet about his girlfriend – the pop singer Grimes, with whom he has a son named X Æ A-Xii. “She’s crazy about me,” he wrote. And after the share price tweet, Musk posted another, saying “now give people back their FREEDOM”, in an apparent reference to restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

His fortune discussed in the networks

Beyond being against lockdowns, there is no question that Musk has managed to do good business and investment during the pandemic. Before the coronavirus hit, the billionaire’s net worth was $ 27 billion. Now it is around 279,000 million dollars.

David Beasley, the director of the UN’s food shortage program, said in late October in an interview that 2% of Musk’s wealth could solve world hunger. And, of course, the richest man in the world decided to take this discussion to Twitter. In a tweet, Musk offered to sell Tesla shares immediately if the UN can show how it will end world hunger with $ 6 billion. “But it must be open accounting so that the public can see precisely how the money is being spent,” he added. Beasley has responded and offered to “be on the next flight” to speak on the matter in person. However, the conversation took a 180 degree turn when, in a separate tweet, Musk shared an article from the English newspaper Express from 2015 claiming that UN peacekeepers sexually abused children in the Central African Republic in 2014, adding the comment: “What happened here?”

Musk, like other American billionaires, for instance, Jeff Bezos (Amazon founder), is cited by more liberal Democrats to list the top 700 Americans who will have to pay more taxes. “Eventually, they will run out of other people’s money, and then, they will come after you,” Musk wrote in his networks, referring to an annual tax for billionaires, a proposal that some Democrats proposed to finance Biden’s billion-dollar reform plan.

The most inappropriate response that this South African has given in the networks in relation to the taxes that the richest people should pay is the one he gave to the senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders, saying: “I constantly forget that you are still alive”. Sanders, who is 80, had tweeted a day earlier: “We must demand that the extremely wealthy individuals shall pay their share. Period.”


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