Elon Musk Hints at Taking on Youtube Head-on

The billionaire is frustrated with the platform and its content moderation policy.

Elon Musk is one of the harshest critics of Silicon Valley giants. 

The Tesla  (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc. Report CEO’s main targets are often Mark Zuckerberg, whom he dubbed “Zuck the Fourteenth,” – an apparent nod to the French king famous for his hubris and excess, Louis the XIV- Twitter  (TWTR) – Get Twitter Inc. Report and Youtube  (GOOGL) – Get Alphabet Inc. Report

For the tech tycoon who defines himself as an ardent defender of free speech, these platforms go too far when they remove content because it is deemed misinformation, fake news, hateful or racist. Musk believes that all opinions should be allowed as long as they do not violate the laws of the country in which they are held. 

Beyond this fight for free speech, he also has specific battles he leads against each of these social networks. He abruptly withdrew his $44 billion acquisition offer from Twitter because he said the firm lied about the number of spam bots, or fake accounts on the platform. 

Twitter has filed a complaint and a five-day trial is scheduled for October 17. 

It’s Personal

His fight against Youtube is less publicized but it’s also personal.

The billionaire has been accusing the flagship of Alphabet for several months of having left scams on the platform using his person and the image of his companies. He therefore believes that Youtube is failing in its duties and commitments to eliminate all disinformation. The platform would thus have a policy of double standards.

Musk and SpaceX were used for false ads — fake SpaceX digital coin — on Youtube when the billionaire was to present the iconic SNL TV show in 2021.

“In early May [2021], scammers compromised Twitter and YouTube accounts to promote a series of cryptocurrency scams ahead of Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s appearance on Saturday Night Live, stealing over $10 million dollars in Bitcoin, Ethereum and Doge tokens. The scams conducted via YouTube were the most successful, resulting in a theft of over $9 million,” a report from risk management firm Tenable found.

In June, Musk said on Twitter that scammers were using Tesla and in particular its solar panel business to defraud people.

“Other companies are using the Tesla name for solar and Powerwall. Will put a stop to that.”

Could Rumble be the Answer?

The richest man in the world might have a way to attack YouTube head-on. This means would be the social network Rumble, which is rising. Musk isn’t ruling out chatting with the Rumble CEO soon, he tweeted recently. 

It all started with a video posted by actor Russell Brand accusing Youtube of censorship.

“We have been officially censored by YouTube,” Brand said in the video which has been viewed by more than 3 million people on Twitter at last check. “They took down one of our videos for misinformation. But why are big media organizations not censored for misinformation in the same way?” 

The more than two-minute video was posted on Sept.27.

“Is it because YouTube are part of the mainstream media now? Earlier this month, we did a video about the changing narratives around covid, the pandemic and covid treatments in which we cited information on official government websites, which we misinterpreted,” Brand continued. 

“I’ll have to be careful talking about it now. So I don’t want to make the same mistake that had one of our videos pulled down on an official warning issue. The good news is we’re moving to Rumble. All of our content is up on rumble first, and we’ll be streaming on rumble every day. We have been persecuted for misinformation.”

“Good point,” Musk commented.

That’s when Dan Bongino, the highly popular right-wing commentator who published a book about the “deep state” conspiracy theory and frequently publishes unverified information, chimed in. He pointed out to the serial entrepreneur that he should join forces with the video-sharing platform Rumble.

“Elon, It would be really incredible if you and Rumble got together. A force multiplier like no other,” Bongino said.

Musk did not rule out this possibility. He explained that he was currently “preoccupied” but he could discuss with the platform “at some point.”

“I’m a little preoccupied rn [right now],” the tycoon said.

Musk+Rumble vs. Youtube?

The founder of Rumble then took the opportunity to sell the platform himself to Musk

“Elon, I founded Rumble and forever wanted to work with you. Below is from 2010 when I visited SpaceX. I was ready 12 years ago, and I’m ready 12 years from now. Whenever you’re ready 🚀,” Chris Pavlovski wrote.

“Maybe worth talking at some point,” Musk responded, without providing a time table.

This comes at a time when Musk announced he will vote for Republicans in the midterm elections.

Rumble was launched in 2013 by tech entrepreneur Chris Pavlovski as an alternative YouTube-like site, and is popular among American conservatives seeking an alternative to Big Tech. 

Its most popular videos are those of conservative commentators including Bongino and Dinesh DSouza, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, QAnon members, as well as former Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon. Rumble is backed by venture capitalist billionaire Peter Thiel among others. 

The company recently completed a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (Spac) with CF Acquisition Corp VI on Sept. 16.  

“This Russell Brand show is rocking on Rumble! This is the future of television and internet livestreaming!” Pavlovski posted on Twitter on Sept.28.

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