Who is Elon Musk, the unlimited billionaire who buys Twitter?

Hopefully even my worst critics will stay on Twitter, because that’s what free speech means. “, said Elon Musk, the day of the announcement of his agreement for the controversial acquisition of the social network. Like each of his interventions on the site, his intervention attracted millions of likes, and thousands- thousands of invectives.The entrepreneur remains one of the most followed – and criticized – personalities on Twitter.

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The richest man in the world

Prior to taking over the platform, which has several hundred million regular users, it was largely as the head of Tesla known as Elon Musk. Since 2008, the billionaire from South Africa has led this company, the world’s leading manufacturer of electric vehicles. The entrepreneur developed his speech combining the environment and the market.

Tesla’s mission is ” accelerate the global transition to a sustainable energy pattern “, He wanted to repeat. More importantly, Tesla was a huge financial success, breaking revenue records.

At the age of fifty, Elon Musk is now the richest man in the world, ahead of Jezz Bezos. His fortune is estimated at $ 219 billion by Forbes, boosted by Tesla’s recent large stock market value. The company distinguishes itself largely by the enthusiasm of the markets, more than the volume of vehicles sold, unlike large traditional car manufacturers.

Testla’s valuation exceeded 780 billion dollars in 2021 for a turnover of 50 billion dollars, a relatively modest number compared to other sector giants.

But the entrepreneur’s plans don’t stop with electric vehicles. As the British media group National World put it, ” unlike most other billionaires, Elon Musk made most of his wealth by establishing and investing in a few lucrative businesses rather than just having a big hit, like Jeff Bezos at Amazon or Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook.. »

Colonization on Mars: a titanic project

Its ambitions are so extra-planetary. Founder of the SpaceX company in 2002, the entrepreneur’s real goal was to colonize the galaxy, seeing Mars. This is one of the crazy projects that he is most popular today.

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Over the years, it has multiplied announcements about more or less realistic goals of installing human bases on the planet. Meanwhile, SpaceX became the first private company in the world in 2020 to send astronauts into space, in partnership with NASA. It was a technological innovation that marked the company’s success: the development of the reusable rocket, allowing it to stand out from its competitors and lower space access costs.

As for Mars, the realization of fantasy promises to be more complex. In addition to technological and human barriers, the sum required to perform this journey is titanic. ” Right now, you can’t get to Mars with $ 1 trillion. No amount of money can take you to Mars. We need to make it possible “, he advanced in an interview.

Last March, however, he promised 2029 as the end date for the project. Elon Musk even said he wanted to die on the red planet, taking part in the journey itself.
In a broader way, Elon Musk promised the development of tourism in the galaxy, aimed at the very rich. The first SpaceX trips were arranged in September 2021. Ticket cost: several tens of millions of dollars.

For billionaire critics, this is one of the elements that presents the problem. Energy waste, unsustainable inequality, pollution, risk … Competition in this field, especially with Amazon boss Jeff Bezoz, has been severely criticized.

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“Changing Mankind”

On the contrary, Elon Musk claims to revolutionize humanity, even save it, through his futuristic projects. According to him, it runs into its disappearance, threat of global warming or other disasters, and the conquest of the galaxy may include one of its hopes for redemption.

And the capital he has accumulated, especially thanks to Tesla, allows him to invest in this kind of personal adventure. This is the case, for example, of start-up Neuralink, which he founded in 2016, and aims to directly connect the human mind to the computer. This includes creating electronic components that can be incorporated into the brain.

Aside from his space adventures, the Canadian-American businessman is indeed famous for his pharaonic ambitions. Its goal is to build networks of tunnels to avoid traffic jams in large cities like Las Vegas or Los Angeles, by moving automated Tesla there. The effectiveness of the project, costly and difficult, remains to prove.

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Racial segregation at Tesla

A fate at the expense of working conditions: Tesla has been notably accused of racial segregation. A California state agency even filed a lawsuit against the company in February, citing ” hundreds of worker complaints “. The manufacturer has already been sentenced to a record fine of $ 137 million in 2021, for blinding to racial discrimination suffered by a former employee. Several women also testified that sexual harassment was permitted within the company. .

Outside his company, the businessman was also criticized for his opposition to unions or taxation of the richest. He also downplayed the Covid-19 pandemic, while leaving one of his factories open at the start of the health crisis.

“Person of the Year” for Time Magazine

The decision of Time to choose him as the personality of the year 2021, calling him “ clown, genius, visionary, () showman “, Therefore desecrated in some media.

In his picture, the Time returns a glimpse into the origins of his career. Elon Musk was born in 1971 into a wealthy family in Pretoria, apartheid South Africa-his family partially owned an emerald mine in Zambia. From the age of 17, the young man left for Canada for his education, before quickly starting the foundation of small online businesses. It is in X.com in particular, partly at the origin of Paypal, that will attract investors and signify its success. According to the newspaper, “instead of a set of smart and safe investments, he just made some awesome risky investments“.

Some commentators believe he is bordered on the far right ( stop ), such as Roger Kay, of Endpoint Technologies Associates, who was interviewed by AFP. Elon Musk is particularly close to former President Donald Trump, after criticizing his candidacy.

In any case, he moved Tesla from Democrat California to Texas Republican in 2021, against the policies of the California governor. Conservative rights have also welcomed its take on Twitter.

Opposing positions on freedom of expression

Aside from his political positions, his personality and his protrusions in networks attract criticism. On Twitter, where he has 85 million subscribers, he recently compared Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Adolf Hitler.

Elon Musk is generally considered a libertarian, i.e., a supporter of extreme liberalism and very limited state intervention, although he does not use the term itself. And because of this, he finds Twitter moderation too harsh. The inclusiveness and freedom of expression on the platform, which he wants to preserve, will be “extremely important for the future of civilization“. However, some media recalls that he himself has repeatedly sought to hurt those who criticize him, from defamation to the cancellation of Tesla orders, through waves of harassment by his fans. against female journalists, underlined the French daily Le Monde.According to Bloomberg, Tesla has even asked Chinese authorities to block some critical social media posts in the country.

Meanwhile, he made sure he wanted to bring more freedom, more transparency and less spam to Twitter by owning it.

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