OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Billionaire Tesla CEO Elon Musk is back in the news again regarding his plans to expand into social media.
Musk, who is currently engaged in a court battle with Twitter after initially making an offer to purchase the platform for $44 billion, suggested on Wednesday that he is open to working with Rumble, an up-and-coming video platform competitor to YouTube, in which conservative talker and Fox News host Dan Bongino has a financial interest.
The exchange began after Russel Brand, a Hollywood celebrity who has taken up the cause of free speech, claimed that YouTube censored him for making a minor mistake — one he says the legacy corporate media made as well but did not suffer any consequences for doing so because Brand believes the platform is now part of the mainstream media.
“Good point,” Musk responded.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 27, 2022
That exchange prompted Bongino to make a pitch for his platform.
“Elon, it would be really incredible if you and Rumble got together. A force multiplier like no other,” he wrote.
Musk replied, perhaps in reference to his ongoing legal battle with Twitter: “I’m a little preoccupied rn [right now].”
I’m a little preoccupied rn
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 27, 2022
Then, Rumble’s founder, Chris Pavlovski, joined the fray and made a pitch of his own 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,” he wrote in response. “In the meantime, let’s peer our datacenters with Starlink to secure free speech.”
Maybe worth talking at some point
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 28, 2022
Musk replied: “Maybe worth talking at some point.”
Earlier this month, Musk scored a major court victory in his battle with Twitter when a judge ruled that the Tesla CEO can use information obtained by a whistleblower in his case against the website, The Daily Wire reported, adding:
Twitter is currently battling Musk in court over his attempt to nix a previous offer to buy the company for $44 billion. Musk claims that the true number of fake accounts on the platform could number as high as 33% rather than the company’s reported 5%, with a lower number of monetizable daily active users potentially justifying a lower valuation. A trial to determine the status of the acquisition deal is scheduled for October 17.
Although she did not amend the date of the trial, Delaware Chancery Court Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick granted attorneys representing Musk permission to use the account of former Twitter executive Peiter “Mudge” Zatko — who claimed in a recent whistleblower account that his colleagues did not have the resources or motivation necessary to determine the number of bots on the platform — in their arguments.
Twitter reported losses of $0.08 per share in its second-quarter earnings, falling below the $0.14 gain per share expected by analysts. The rough quarter was attributable to “advertising industry headwinds associated with the macroenvironment as well as uncertainty related to the pending acquisition of Twitter by an affiliate of Elon Musk,” the company said in a press release.
According to leading cyber security specialist Dan Woods, who formerly worked for the FBI and CIA, as many as 80 percent of Twitter accounts are bots, The Australian reported.
“Sure sounds higher than 5%!” Musk wrote on the platform in response to Woods’ findings.
Sure sounds higher than 5%!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 1, 2022
“More than 80 per cent of Twitter accounts are likely bots, according to former CIA and FBI cyber security specialist Dan Woods, who created a fake profile and quickly gained more than 100,000 fake followers in one weekend by purchasing them on the dark web,” the outlet noted further.
“Mr Woods, who studies bot traffic as part of his current role with global cyber security provider F5, told The Australian that Twitter’s bot traffic was almost certainly far greater than it has expressed publicly and greater than it believes internally,” the outlet continued.
“I’m not a programmer, but I watched YouTube and in a weekend I wrote a script that automatically creates accounts on Twitter without encountering any obstacles,” he told the outlet.
“There’s huge demand (for bots), there’s a marketplace to serve that demand, and if I can write a bot that creates accounts on Twitter, and I’m not even a programmer, imagine what a sophisticated programmer could do,” he continued.
“Twitter doesn’t want (its number of bots) to be that high, so they’re going through the motions of canceling some accounts,” Woods saio.