Elon Musk believes that the list of his enemies is short.
In any case, that’s what he said on the microblogging site Twitter on June 4.
It goes without saying that at the speed with which he launches attacks against his peers as well as against the rivals of his companies, this list will grow very quickly.
If we take the top five richest people in the world as of June 17 per Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Musk has almost already had public bickering with at least two of them. They are Jeff Bezos, the second richest man in the world, and Bill Gates, the fourth.
The CEO of Tesla (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc. Report likes to poke fun at the new lifestyle of Bezos, the founder of Amazon (AMZN) – Get Amazon.com Inc. Report. He recently asked him to choose between partying and concentrating on the conquest of space, an area in which they compete through their companies SpaceX and Blue Origin.
‘Is TikTok Destroying Civilization?’
As for Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft (MSFT) – Get Microsoft Corporation Report, the divisions between the two billionaires are now deep. Musk questions Gates’ environmental credentials because he shorted Tesla. Gates questions Musk’s intentions once he completes the pending $44 billion acquisition of Twitter (TWTR) – Get Twitter Inc. Report. Will Musk allow misinformation to proliferate on the platform, for example?
Gates is often the subject of conspiracy theories on Twitter.
Musk is the richest man in the world with an estimated fortune of $206 billion. The CEO of French luxury giant LVMH (LVMHF) Bernard Arnault is the third richest man in the world. Larry Page, the co-founder of Alphabet (Google) (GOOGL) – Get Alphabet Inc. Report is the fifth.
If Musk has not yet attacked Arnault, he has already indirectly tackled Page since he had very harsh words recently toward YouTube.
“YouTube seems to be nonstop scam ads,” the mogul posted on Twitter on June 7.
But these enemies are not enough for the serial entrepreneur. Musk just launched attacks against the rising star of global tech, TikTok, the short-term user video app belonging to the Chinese group ByteDance and the only one to challenge the hegemony of American firms in the sector.
“Is TikTok destroying civilization?” Musk posted on Twitter on June 17. “Some people think so,” he added.
The tweet immediately went viral, with almost 315,000 likes at the time of writing.
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Musk did not explain what led him to ask this question which insinuates that TikTok is destroying humanity. In any case, such seems to be the opinion of the billionaire who has nearly 99 million followers on Twitter.
A few minutes after this message, the tech tycoon posted another tweet in which he indicated that the short video platform is not the only problem but all of social media.
“Or perhaps social media in general,” Musk added.
Musk Wants Twitter to Emulate TikTok
It’s important to note that as Musk asks about TikTok’s negative effect on society, he’s in the process of acquiring Twitter, one of the short-video app’s rivals.
In fact, during an internal all-hands with Twitter employees on June 16, Musk explained that he wanted Twitter to look more like WeChat and TikTok if he wants to achieve his goal of hitting 1 billion users.
Musk did not hide his admiration for the famous TikTok algorithm, which, according to him, allows the social network not to be boring.
“We could hone Twitter in the same way to be interesting,” Musk told Twitter employees. It also seems an important social mission to Twitter: “I think Twitter can be much better about informing people of serious issues.”
Musk was asked what success would mean for Twitter in five to 10 years, and answered that the platform should be “contributing to a stronger longer lasting civilization where we are better able to understand the nature of reality.”
At the same time, the mogul also said Twitter should make sure “people are very entertained and informed.”
His model is WeChat, the Chinese app that mixes social media with payments, games.
“There’s no WeChat equivalent outside of China,” Musk said. “You basically live on WeChat in China. If we can recreate that with Twitter, we’ll be a great success.”
It’s hard to understand the purpose of Musk’s criticism of TikTok unless it’s a tactic to try to destabilize the social network, which is challenging the Google-Facebook-Amazon triumvirate in digital advertising.
TikTok didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.