Tesla CEO Elon Musk had a mild Twitter meltdown recently vowing to delete his account — which is still currently active, briefly changing his display name to “Daddy dot com.”
The Verge recently published a breakdown of the series of events that led to Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s latest online meltdown. In short, Musk was once again taken to task for refusing to credit someone for their work, something which he has received criticism for in the past.
The Verge’s Elizabeth Lopatto breaks down Musk’s latest tweetstorm which she states — likely accurately — is just “shitposting,” a common term used to refer to making jokes and stirring trouble on the Internet. Lopatto writes that the situation is almost too stupid to explain but with many outlets taking Musk’s tweets seriously, she felt it was necessary.
Here is what happened: Musk got wild on Twitter this weekend. On Saturday, Musk tweeted fan art of a video game character, without identifying the artist (Meli Magali, by the way). Naturally, artists and other creative types take it pretty poorly when their work is taken without acknowledgement, regardless of whether that use is legal.
Musk promptly got into a troll-y fight about his right to use other people’s work without giving them credit. He’s actually lost this fight before — in that case, the dispute over was a farting unicorn design. If you want a sense of the Twitter back-and-forth, Kotaku has some screenshots. The part of the fight that is possibly relevant for our purposes is when one of his interlocutors points out that it feels bad when someone avoids giving you credit for your work. The user has a sore subject to use as an example: “Martin Eberhard is responsible for all of Tesla’s success.”
Lopatto then goes on to explain the significance of Martin Eberhard, the co-founder of Tesla, and his relationship with Elon Musk:
Martin Eberhard is a co-founder of Tesla, along with Marc Tarpenning; the two founded the company in 2003. Musk came in as an investor, ponying up €5.80 million. That much is clear. Musk at some point took over and Eberhard was fired in 2007. Musk became CEO of Tesla in 2008. Eberhard later sued Musk for libel and slander, alleging Musk had downplayed Eberhard’s contributions and that Musk was claiming he was a co-founder. The details of the settlement aren’t public, though Musk and two others are now considered co-founders of Tesla.
So Eberhard is, obviously, a point of aggravation. And when the user brought him up, Musk said in a tweet that has now been deleted: “Tesla is alive in spite of Eberhard, but he seeks credit constantly & fools give it him.” (Business Insiderhas a helpful screenshot of the exchange.) If you are too nosy for your own good — hello, sit next to me — you may be wondering if there was a non-disparagement clause in Musk’s settlement with Eberhard. You may be wondering also, uh did that tweet violate it, if such an agreement exists?
Musk then deleted a number of tweets, changed his Twitter name to Daddy dot com, and announced he was going to delete his Twitter account — on Twitter. Musk’s account is still active and is likely to stay that way given the CEO’s fondness of social media and causing drama via the internet. Musk has previously used Twitter to imply that a cave diving rescue hero was a pedophile, and to tweet that he had the backing to take Tesla private at $420 per share which resulted in an overall $40 million fine for Tesla and himself.
Musk’s Twitter account is likely here to stay, as are his social media meltdowns.