Billionaire Elon Musk seemed to be part of yet another controversial exchange on Twitter this week. He was part of a rather unnecessary conversation with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asking her to ‘stop flirting’ with him. His remark was a response to Ocasio-Cortez’s attack on an unnamed billionaire ‘with an ego problem.’
In her initial tweet, the lawmaker stated how she was ‘tired’ of constantly worrying about what ‘explosion of hate crimes’ would occur. This was, she mentioned, as ‘some billionaire with an ego problem’ has full control of a ‘massive communication platform,’ and ‘skews it’ for Peter Thiel or Tucker Carlson took the billionaire ‘to dinner and made him special.’
Though the New York progressive did not take any names, many, including Musk assumed it was about him. This was for Musk had successfully acquired Twitter Inc for $44 billion after the company had accepted his offer for buying it at $54.20 per share. To Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet, Musk replied urging her to ‘stop hitting’ on him as he was very ‘shy.’
“Stop hitting on me, I’m really shy.”
Stop hitting on me, I’m really shy ☺️
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 29, 2022
However, soon after, the New York lawmaker responded to Musk’s remark, stating how she was rather talking about Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, not Musk. She responded saying, “I was talking about Zuckerberg but ok,” referring to Zuckerberg owning Facebook parent company, Meta. However, soon after, Ocasio-Cortez deleted the tweet. Moreover, neither Musk, nor Zuckerberg gave any further replies to the tweet which is now deleted.
Ocasio-Cortez mentioning Fox News host Carlson and venture capitalist Thiel in her initial tweet might refer to a 2019 Politico report. The report claimed that Facebook CEO had hosted a private dinner with Carlson. Thiel was one of Facebook’s early investors and Zuckerberg’s mentor for years. However, their trajectories have run parallel for a while since the founding of PayPal in the year 2000. Moreover, Carlson stated that he would be coming back to Twitter Inc following Musk’s acquisition.
Clearly, both the social media giants are deeply involved in a continuing culture wars over the issue of free speech. As we know, Twitter had previously faced criticism for enabling accounts that visibly amplify misinformation. Musk, being a self-proclaimed ‘free speech absolutist,’ had often called out Twitter for ‘free speech’ issues. This is why many believe that the Tesla CEO can possibly reinstate accounts that were banned earlier for breeching the platform’s policy on hate speech.