For a few hours or at least minutes on Friday, a not inconsiderable number of people thought that Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk had died. Because later in the afternoon German time, shortly after the opening of the US stock exchanges, the hashtag #RIPelon suddenly became active on Twitter. The Tesla boss was killed in the explosion of a lithium-ion battery, the articles said. As evidence, pictures with alleged headlines from well-known media and a sad message from Musk’s partner Grimes were posted.
Reddit warns of Musk hoax
According to research by the Cleantechnica blog, the first “rest in peace” messages on the alleged death of the Tesla boss were published on Friday at 4.30 p.m. German time, one hour after the US stock market launch. At first they came from relatively new accounts that started a few weeks ago with a few posts and then remained silent until Friday. These accounts quoted each other, probably to make themselves more credible. According to Cleantechnica, real Twitter users soon began to spread the supposed death news.
With that she came into the world – even if it also only took a few minutes until the attempt at disinformation was seen through. “Elon Musk is NOT dead,” wrote a user on Reddit at 4:51 pm. Fake links are published on Twitter that lead nowhere, and the screen photos are also fake. The Reddit moderators are active to delete posts on this basis. Apparently that succeeded quickly, because another member wrote that he had not yet heard of the report.
Tesla boss answers with emoji
Soon there were probably more warnings about the misleading than further attempts on Twitter, at the latest as Tesla CEO Musk himself at 11.30 p.m. German time with an uncomprehending emoji firstly indicated that he still exists, and secondly, what he thinks of the matter, the report was also quasi-officially denied. For Cleantechnica, however, the previous events clearly show that either only one person or a small group was behind it.
What the motivation for this was initially remained open. Negative stock market speculation would be an option, but if so, then the action should hardly have been worth it. Because Tesla shares were again in the red on Friday and even fell by more than 10 percent to $ 540 shortly after the first reports of death. Several German media later reported that the false report had charged Tesla on the stock exchange. However, the price development followed almost exactly that of the overall market, only with stronger fluctuations, as is usual with Tesla. In any case, the Tesla share and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indices reached their low on Friday at almost the same time around 5.30 p.m. in Germany, only to recover from then until the end of trading.