Op-Ed: Elon Musk’s Twitter shows its dark side
Updated on October 21, 2016
There are very few people in the world who can make a living generating social media commentary. Elon Musk is among these people. As of this writing, the Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity CEO has more than 3 million followers on Twitter, has more than 1 million followers on Instagram, has more than 10,000 followers on Facebook, and is worth more than $20 billion on the web.
He also has no shortage of detractors: President-elect Donald Trump has attacked him, calling him a “fraud” and an “idiot” and suggesting that he is a “dope” and a “moron.”
But that’s nothing compared to what the former PayPal PayPal CEO and founder of the world’s most famous car company sees in his Twitter feed. While Musk has publicly apologized for the tweets he posted in April of this year, which reportedly included “inappropriate, racist and sexist language,” tweets that were “incomprehensible,” Musk’s followers on Twitter have criticized him and his tweets, creating a debate that has gone worldwide.
In the past four months, Musk has attracted more than 80,000 followers on Twitter for every one of his critics. The list includes celebrities like John Legend, Stephen Colbert and Kim Kardashian West.
Musk’s detractors have included some of the world’s most famous and respected physicists, physicists, mathematicians, economists, researchers, inventors and academics. They include:
• Sir Isaac Newton, the father of modern science and mathematics. He argued that the universe is “perfect” without the need for God, and criticized Charles Darwin’s theories. He also stated: “It is the glory of God that I know not what He does: I only know that He does it.” • Sir Martin Rees, the British-born neuroscientist, inventor, and director of the Allen Institute for Brain Science. He has called Musk’s tweets “childish, immature, and reckless.” • Lawrence Summers, the former president of Harvard University. According to The New York Times Magazine, he said, “Mr. Musk’s tweets are irresponsible, stupid, and dangerous.” • James Mattis, the retired four-star general