The CEO of Tesla has recently come under fire from shareholders criticizing his omnipresence on the platform he has owned since the end of October.
His detractors will have to get used to it.
Elon Musk has just answered them. And it is clear that this answer will not please them. The serial entrepreneur definitely rules out the idea of reducing his activity on the platform. He won’t leave Twitter.
The question was indeed posed to him during Tesla’s fourth quarter earnings’ call with analysts on Jan. 25.
“Let me check my Twitter account. Okay, so I’ve got 127 million followers, and it continues to grow very rapidly. That suggests that, you know, I’m reasonably popular,” the billionaire said.
“I might not be popular with some people, but the vast majority of people that follow the account speaks for itself.”
The Net Value Is ‘Gigantic’
He then indicated that his omnipresence on Twitter is even beneficial to Tesla.
“I think Twitter is actually an incredibly powerful tool for driving demand for Tesla. And I really encourage companies out there of all kinds, automotive or otherwise to make more use of Twitter and to use their Twitter accounts in ways that are interesting and informative, entertaining, and it will help drive sales just as it has with with Tesla.”
He concluded by saying that his use of Twitter had more positive effects for Tesla than negative.
“The net value of Twitter apart from, you know, a few people are complaining is gigantic, obviously.”
The platform, which he calls the town square of our time, is where opinion makers and trendsetters meet. He’s a member of both those groups.
Musk has also decided to make Twitter the place of expression for conservatives, who criticized Twitter 1.0 for muzzling them and favoring the progressives. Seeming to share these criticisms, the entrepreneur, who calls himself a free-speech absolutist, reactivated most of the accounts of conservatives who had been suspended because they violated the social network’s content policies.
Musk does regularly denounce the symbols of progressive ideology like wokeism, pronouns and ESG — environmental, social and corporate governance — activism.
He campaigned for the Republicans: In Novembe,r he urged voters to back the GOP candidates to create what he described as a balance of power in Washington, which at the time leaned in favor of the Democrats.
Musk has also stepped up attacks on elected Democrats. And he orchestrated the publication of what he calls the Twitter Files, which he says contain revelations showing collusion between the platform’s leaders and Joe Biden’s campaign during the 2020 presidential election.
How About Tesla Brand?
The problem with all this political activism is that it hampers Tesla, which went through stock-market hell in 2022. Tesla shares last year lost two-thirds (65%) of their market value.
“In the past year, we have seen Tesla’s brand lose equity across every brand value, from foundational safety to refinement,” said Alexander Edwards, president of the San Diego consulting firm Strategic Vision.
“These problems are magnified in that battery electric vehicles are more often purchased by self-identified Democrats who have generally opposed Musk’s actions with Twitter. It will become more difficult to sell Tesla vehicles as the narrative of Twitter makes the vehicles seem less fun and alienates the primary buyer.”
Sharing this view, some of Tesla’s most vocal shareholders, such as Gary Black and Ross Gerber, have publicly called on Musk to get out of politics and focus on the automaker, particularly at a time when the economy could plunge into recession.
While Musk has said he’d be stepping down as CEO of Twitter, the tech mogul has previously signaled that he isn’t giving up on his tweets about politics.