Although his expertise lies firmly in the building of electric cars and the exploration of space, Elon Musk has, over the years, emerged as one of the most prominent tech commentators in Silicon Valley.
His cult-like following often look to him to validate what's cool, what's meme-worthy and what to watch out for in the worlds of both tech and pop culture, from his thoughts on renewable energy and transportation, to his quest to deliver wireless internet across the world, to his low-key status as a Soundcloud rapper. Safe to say, it's a mixed bag.
When Musk does get serious, he's generally doing so with some pretty radical views on how to shake up the tech space. Now, he's jumped behind Sacha Baron Cohen, who in the last few months has been the most vocal critic of Facebook and its policies regarding content moderation, in suggesting that Facebook should not only be regulated, but outright deleted.
Comedian Cohen gave one of the most influential speeches of 2019 at an Anti-Defamation League event, saying that it's the "the greatest propaganda machine in history," and saying that due to its history both grossly mishandling user data and neglecting the fact-checking of political ads, it needs to come under far harsher regulation than is currently being applied.
Cohen jumped on twitter again last night to re-affirm these beliefs, stating "Why do we let 1 man control the information seen by 2.5 billion people? Facebook needs to be regulated by governments, not ruled by an emperor!" This prompted a call of support from Elon.
This isn't actually the first time that Musk has expressed disdain towards Facebook. He himself doesn't have a profile on the site, preferring instead to spend most of his time on the incubator for memes and shit-talk that is Twitter.
In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, he also took the rather drastic step of deleting the Facebook profile of both of his main companies — Tesla and SpaceX — going on record after to say that he doesn't particularly trust the company now most notorious for its handling of user data. "[I don't] like Facebook," he said. "Gives me the willies. Sorry."
Musk and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg have emerged as two of Silicon Valley's most powerful frenemies, having publicly clashed on many poignant issues before. When the Zuck expressed his excitement about the potential of AI in a 2017 Facebook Live broadcast and called Musk's warnings against it 'irresponsible', the Tesla founder clapped back, saying that "I've talked to Mark about this. His understanding of the subject is limited."