The microblogging website has implemented a smelly response to media requests.
Elon Musk plays by his own rules.
The whimsical and charismatic entrepreneur likes to challenge the conventions which dominate in business circles and markets.
Sometimes this costs him dearly.
This is the case when he was fined $20 million in September 2018 and lost the title of Chairman of the Board of Tesla (TSLA) – Get Free Report after tweeting that he was going to take the electric vehicle manufacturer private. He had also indicated that he had secured the financing for the deal.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) came down on him, reminding him that one should be extremely cautious when posting information that could potentially impact the share price of a public company.
Despite the fact that Musk paid dearly for his non-compliance with this rule, the billionaire has not stopped mocking the SEC or engaging in a new showdown with the federal agency.
This is what Musk is like. He is unconventional. When it comes to conventions, he wants to undermine them, push the limits if necessary, circumvent them and invent new ones.
While he shies away from labels, there is one that applies to him: the billionaire is unpredictable, provocative and likes to test the limits of others. He likes to challenge the norm. He sees himself as the leader of the world in which he belongs while, at the same time, he feels too big for it. He therefore believes that he can get away with almost anything.
One of his latest provocations is reserved for the media, when asking a question or soliciting a comment on a subject, an article, something that requires a response. No other big company in the world, no other CEO would indulge in this latest whim.
As part of an article on a report that the billionaire has slashed Twitter’s valuation, TheStreet sent a request for comment to the platform, to inquire whether this information was accurate. It is the general journalistic rule, when writing an article, to reach out to the parties that are mentioned in it.
Within a minute of sending the request, TheStreet received a response that boils down to an emoji. The poop emoji.
A Special Treatment for Journalists
A few days ago, Musk warned that the poop emoji would be the automatic response anyone will receive whenever they write to the Twitter media inquiries email address. At the time, the message seemed to be some kind of joke. But, the tech mogul has kept his promise.
“Press@twitter.com now auto responds with 💩,” the billionaire announced on March 19.
Musk has a complicated relationship with the media, especially the on the mainstream side. He criticizes them, believes that they have an agenda against him and only seek to write critical pieces against him.
“Why is the ‘traditional’ media such a relentless hatestream? Real question,” he wrote on February 2022.
His criticisms have grown even harsher since he acquired Twitter for $44 billion last year.
“As Twitter pursues the goal of elevating citizen journalism, media elite will try everything to stop that from happening,” he lamented in November.
The media coverage of his early days as owner and boss of Twitter didn’t sit well with him. He didn’t particularly appreciate the headlines about the layoffs he carried out and the chaos that ensued. Musk also didn’t appreciate the media’s reporting of advertiser departures after he relaxed hate content safeguards.
“That American media would argue *against* free speech in America – within the bounds of the law – is an utter travesty. Shame on them! Shame, shame, shame,” he blasted out on November 27, 2022.
He believes that Twitter has been called upon to play the role of the media from now on, because according to him, the media have become servile, succumbing to power rather than holding it accountable.
“There appears to be zero self-awareness among legacy media that they behave like an NPC drone collective 🤣🤣,” he posted on Mar. 20.
But at the same time, Musk who regularly brags about the fact that Tesla, his other company, does not advertise, often gives interviews to the same media outlets whose credibility he considers to be non-existent.