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Billionaires can retain grudges with just as much gusto as the bourgeoisie, it seems. And when it comes to Elon Musk, the grudge is likely to be perpetuated until kingdom come. Case in point: the bad blood between the CEO of Meta, Mark Zuckerberg, and the owner of X, Elon Musk. There is, however, a much more somber undercurrent to Musk’s witty – and sometimes juvenile – jibes against his competitor, highlighting X’s vulnerability vis-a-vis the Threads app.
The current acrimonious relationship between the CEO of Tesla and Mark Zuckerberg came to the proverbial limelight when news emerged that Meta was seeking to launch an X rival called Threads. In the ensuing back-and-forth, Musk even challenged Mark Zuckerberg to a cage match.
It would be a much better name! https://t.co/FNggp3FO2U
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 1, 2023
This brings us to the crux of the matter. Elon Musk has now responded to an X post by the satire publication “The Babylon Bee,” noting that “Faceboob” would be a “much better name” for Meta’s Facebook app.
While many would be quick to dismiss Elon Musk’s latest comments as another example of his characteristic witty riposte, such jibes do indicate an undercurrent of vulnerability. Bear in mind that Musk often reserves some of his most persistent attacks for those he feels genuinely threatened by. Case in point: the SEC and Jeff Bezos.
With X’s valuation having tumbled by over 50 percent under Elon Musk’s steerage, hammered by a slow but steady decline in daily active users, there remains a cause of concern. As per the admission by Linda Yaccarino, X’s new CEO, the social media platform’s daily active users have declined by 11.6 percent to 225 million users under Musk’s tutelage. Concurrently, based on the equity awards of X’s employees, the platform is now worth just $19 billion, a far cry from the $44 billion that the CEO of Tesla paid for it back in 2022.
Of course, it’s not as if the newly launched Threads app is doing any better. In fact, it might be doing a lot worse. Since the frenzy of its initial days, the app has lost around 80 percent of its daily active users.
As long as X continues to contend with its own challenges, however, and remains vulnerable to being dethroned by an upstart like the Threads app, Elon Musk would likely continue to vent his frustration by resorting to jibes and snide remarks. In fact, this paradigm can very well act as a reliable barometer for gauging Elon Musk’s innate confidence in X’s success.
Yaccarino believes that X will turn profitable in 2024. To achieve this, the platform has been introducing a series of new tweaks and features. A few days back, news emerged that X was testing a program under which it would charge new users $1 per year to access a host of basic features. While this move won’t be a “profit driver,” as per X’s own admission, it would help in curbing the proliferation of spam bots.
Do you think Elon Musk’s attacks against Zuckerberg are a manifestation of his own vulnerability vis-a-vis X’s prospects? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.