Product reviews, deals and the latest tech news

Elon Musk acknowledges in court that he disregarded requests to stop tweeting

No one will ever be able to convince Elon Musk to quit tweeting.

That’s one thing we learned during his short testimony at the San Francisco courtroom on Friday, when he was on trial for securities fraud. The plaintiffs’ attorneys grilled Musk on his tweets leading up to his now-famous “funding secured” post from 2018. Investors who lost money on Musk’s botched effort to take Tesla private that year have filed a class action lawsuit against him.

Though, no one has yet dared to question Musk on that tweet. For around 30 minutes, he testified before the trial was adjourned till Monday. But the plaintiff’s attorneys peppered him with questions regarding his use of Twitter, including how many individuals he knows who have urged him to stop.

Antonio Gracias, a former director on Tesla’s board, investors Ron Baron and Sam Teller, Musk’s ex-de facto chief of staff, and others have all advised him to cease tweeting.

Musk was asked a number of questions concerning his use of Twitter, the most prominent of which concerned the several individuals in his life who had urged him to stop.

Musk said, “I guess I continued to tweet, sure,” when asked whether he disregarded his advisers and investors.

(It is interesting to note that seven minutes after Musk’s last Twitter, he took the stand, and it was about 45 minutes after he left the stand before he tweeted again.)

Lawyers for the plaintiffs are trying to paint a picture of Musk as a careless tweeter who doesn’t take into account the potential damage his words may have to Tesla’s stock price and stockholders. One of the first questions posed to Musk during his hearing had to do with the connection between his tweets and Tesla’s retail investors.

Retail investors are quite important to me,” Musk stated. They are our most reliable and consistent shareholders.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys will certainly remind him of the financial agony his tweets have caused these investors, so it’s easy to see how this comment may come back to haunt him later in the trial.

Musk has said, “I care much about retail investors.”

Musk was also probed for insight into one of his pet peeves: short sellers. Musk hasn’t been shy about his disdain for the speculators who bet against Tesla’s success, and the stock is among the most shorted on the market as a result.

He even went so far as to say, “I think short selling should be made illegal.” In my perspective, it’s a way for shady Wall Street types to fleece unsuspecting investors. Really bad.

Harvard Business School professor and plaintiffs’ expert witness Guhan Subramanian spent much of the day testifying about how unprecedented it was for Musk to attempt to twitter his way through Tesla’s controlled buyout.

Subramanian stated that the unique aspect of this case was the use of Twitter to disseminate substantial non-public information regarding a controlled buyout. “No one has ever thought of doing it before.”

In a later part of his testimony, Musk added, “There are two primary businesses that I oversee and where I am basically the principal technologist and product person,” which may be an indication of the tiredness about which he has been so often questioned. These firms are SpaceX and Tesla.