Tesla CEO Elon Musk hinted Tuesday, Aug. 11, that he would have started his own social media platform if he hadn’t been forced to close a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter.
Musk was asked on Twitter Tuesday if he would launch his own social networking site and simply replied “X.com. The tweet comes on the heels of revelations that Musk sold $6.9 billion worth of Tesla stock, possibly in preparation for a forced takeover of Twitter.
Musk tweeted about the sale of Tesla stock, saying, “It’s critical to avoid an emergency sale of Tesla stock if Twitter asks the court to force this deal and some equity partners can’t close the deal.”
This isn’t the first time Musk has hinted at launching a direct competitor to Twitter. Before the proposed acquisition of Twitter, Musk had told the company’s CEO, Parag Agrawal, that he had considered creating his own social platform.
What’s more, Twitter cited the idea as a cause for concern in its lawsuit against Musk, saying they believe Musk may be compiling internal data about the company and trying to replicate its model.
At Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting last week, Musk commented on the site, which he bought back from PayPal in 2017. He wrote: “I do have a grander vision, and that is that I think X.com might be restored to its former glory. It’s a pretty grand vision, and it could certainly start from scratch, but I think Twitter will speed up the process by three to five years.”
X.com started out as an online bank co-founded by Musk in 1999. The company eventually merged with another payment system, Confinity, to become what became PayPal, which eBay bought for $1.5 billion in 2002.
In 2017, Musk bought the domain name “X.com” from PayPal, saying the site had “tremendous sentimental value,” and relaunched it. At the time, he said he had no plans to do so. Today, if you visit the site, it just shows a blank page with a small “X” logo in the corner of the page. The site has remained largely unchanged for the past five years.
If X.com does become some sort of social network or Twitter replacement, Musk will probably focus on eradicating bots from the site and minimizing censorship. The billionaire has always been a strong critic of bots on Twitter.
Musk may not have decided whether to create his own social network yet, as his court battle with Twitter is set to begin in October. Twitter has said it wants the court to force Musk to acquire the platform under an agreed agreement. In recent weeks, Twitter has subpoenaed many of Musk’s close business partners and friends.
The case will be heard in the Delaware Court of Chancery. Twitter appeared to win its first battle with Musk last month when Justice Kathaleen St. J. McCormick of the Court of Chancery agreed to speed up the trial.
Several experts previously said Musk faced an uphill battle in his efforts to get out of the deal because of the acquisition contract signed earlier this year.