Elon Musk compared Mark Zuckerberg’s role at Meta to that of a monarch.
The Facebook founder owns the majority of Meta’s voting shares.
The Tesla CEO said if he owned Twitter he would avoid a similar stronghold.
Elon Musk rejected Mark Zuckerberg’s enduring control over Meta during an interview on Thursday.
Musk was asked about his recent bid to buy Twitter during an interview at the TED conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. Interviewer Chris Anderson asked Musk if his status as the richest man and one of the platform’s top influencers might pose a conflict of interest.
Musk took the opportunity to hit Zuckerberg.
“On media ownership, I mean, you have Mark Zuckerberg owning Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, and with an ownership structure that will make Mark Zuckerberg the 14th still control those entities,” Musk said.
“Like, literally,” Musk added amidst laughter from the audience. “We won’t have this on Twitter.”
Musk’s statement could refer to a future long line of descendants from Zuckerberg or could be a reference to King Louis XIV, who ruled France for more than 72 years and is known as the longest reigning monarch.
The Tesla CEO was also referring to Zuckerberg’s stronghold on Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. The Facebook founder owns 55% of the company’s voting stock, meaning Zuckerberg essentially has full veto power over other shareholders when it comes to the company’s future. The company has a two-class share structure that gives Zuckerberg, certain executives and directors supervisory power to the extent that one of their shares is worth 10 votes, while other shareholders are limited. one vote per share.
A spokesperson for Meta did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Tesla doesn’t have a two-class stock structure, but Musk still wields considerable clout. He is the largest individual shareholder in the electric car manufacturer, with a 17% stake. Although Musk doesn’t have the same level of control over the company that Zuckerberg did with Meta, Tesla has supermajority voting rules that require two-thirds approval of the shares to pass major changes, giving Musk a level of veto power.
If successful in buying Twitter, Musk said he would structure the company to avoid any perceived conflict of interest, including making the platform’s code publicly available.
“I personally wouldn’t be in their editing tweets.” Musk said. “But, you’ll know if anything was done to promote a demo or otherwise affect a tweet.”
Musk said his bid to buy Twitter was “not a way to make money” but an attempt to protect free speech. The Tesla CEO also appeared to dismiss Meta’s handling of moderation efforts. The social media company has come under pressure from both sides of the aisle over its handling of COVID-19 misinformation, as well as the Capitol headquarters. Musk seems to believe that it is necessary to err on the side of allowing the dissemination of information as long as it is legal in the countries in which the platform operates.
“I’m not saying I have all the answers here, but I think we just want to be very reluctant to take things down,” Musk said. “And be very careful with permanent bans. Timeouts, I think, are better than permanent bans.”
Musk and Zuckerberg have a longstanding feud. In 2016, Zuckerberg issued a public statement saying he was “deeply disappointed” with SpaceX after one of the company’s rockets destroyed a Facebook satellite. Musk said Facebook gave him “the jitters.” More recently, Musk criticized Facebook for its handling of the Capitol siege on January 6, 2021.
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