Tesla CEO Elon Musk, temporarily known on Twitter as "Daddy DotCom," has announced that he has "just deleted" his Twitter account early Monday morning. Despite the account remaining active (and its name change reverted), the act followed a weekend of deleted tweets and heavy ranting on the topic of recognition.
It's unclear if the CEO was joking, trolling, or if he was stating that his Twitter account would henceforth be inactive, however, he has not tweeted since the announcement.
Over the weekend, Musk was met with heavy criticism from the Twitterverse after posting artwork and then refusing to credit the artist under the grounds that "no one should be credited with anything ever." He then followed up that particular tweet with another that brought forth even more confusion: "Always credit everyone."
The artist, Meli Magali, eventually appeared retweeted Musk's original post, shaming the CEO for refusing to credit her artwork.
This also is not the first time Musk found himself at the center of an artwork-related dispute on the internet. In 2017, Musk tweeted a photo of a mug that featured a unicorn farting to power an electric car. The artist of the mug experienced a spike in sales following the initial tweet, but that's not where things got weird. The similarities of the artwork was then used in Tesla's in-car operating system and led to an escalation of the issue. Musk said that the artist could "sue for money" but it would be "kinda lame." The artist hired an attorney to diffuse the situation and eventually resolved the dispute.
Shortly after the ordeal, Musk would delete the entire series of tweets, but not before attacking Telsa co-founder and former CEO Martin Eberhard.
Eberhard served as Tesla's inaugural CEO until August 2007. It was at that time when the company's Board of Directors, complete with Musk at the reins as Chairman, had a meeting that resulted in asking Eberhard to resign his executive position. He was re-titled "President of Technology" and would remain with Tesla until January 2008. Meanwhile, the board appointed Michael Marks as the interim CEO until he was replaced by Ze'ev Drori in December 2007. Drori would serve as the CEO until October 2008—it was at this time when Musk would become the face of Tesla as we know it.
In May 2009, Eberhard would strike up a legal battle with Tesla and now-CEO Elon Musk, bringing to light a world of corporate conflict that revolved around the very same complaint Musk now has on Twitter: credit.
According to legal documents filed in the case, Eberhard accused Musk of spearheading a "campaign to appropriate control of Tesla Motors and of Eberhard's legacy as the company's founder and visionary." Ultimately, the case was dismissed after Eberhard reportedly requested it to be dropped. While there is no official mention of a settlement, sources familiar with the matter claim that there was already a non-disparagement agreement in place between Eberhard as part of his prior severance agreement with Tesla.
So when Musk rebutted against the tweet seeking credit for Eberhard's hand in Tesla's success, the former CEO's supporters were not far behind. One individual even replied with a photo of two emails allegedly exchanged between Musk and other individuals dated July 2006. Specifically, the conversations outlined the lack of credit given to Musk for his role in Tesla's uprising.
While this entire exchange of tweets debating the importance of credit may seem strange, it's not exactly out-of-this-world when it comes to Musk's Twitter feed. The CEO has found a sense of notoriety for posting memes and generally outlandish content on social media. From taunting the Flat Earth Society to commenting on a viral porn video, and even dropping a rap single about the late silverback gorilla, Harambe, predicting what Musk might tweet next is anyone's guess—but whether or not we'll be able to do that again (or if Musk has really dropped Twitter) is unknown.