Elon Musk Breaks Twitter Silence With Photo With Pope

Elon Musk on Friday night broke his nine-day silence on Twitter, the social media platform he is trying to buy for $44 billion, posting a picture of himself meeting Pope Francis on Thursday.

The world’s richest person tweeted a picture where he can be seen standing next to the pope, captioning it: “Honored to meet @pontifex yesterday.”

Musk’s four teenage boys are also pictured, but not his 18-year-old transgender daughter who, on June 20, sought to change her name and sever ties with him. Musk has eight children.

The purpose and location of Musk’s meeting with the pope were not immediately clear.

Last month, Musk said there were “still a few unresolved matters” on the deal to buy Twitter, including the number of spam users on the system and the coming together of the debt portion of the deal.


© 2022 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.



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Tesla’s 2Q Sales Drop Amid Supply Chain, Pandemic Problems

Tesla’s sales from April through June fell to their lowest quarterly level since last fall, as supply chain issues and pandemic restrictions in China hobbled production of its electric vehicles.

The company on Saturday disclosed it sold more than 254,000 cars and SUVs from April through June, an 18% drop from the first three months of this year and also well below the pace in last year’s final quarter.

The last time Tesla sold fewer vehicles globally was in the third quarter of 2021, when it delivered 241,000.

On Friday, the rest of the industry reported a 21% drop in sales during the second quarter, as the average price for vehicles skyrocketed to a record of $45,844 amid soaring inflation, according to J.D. Power.

Tesla’s sales drop may be a harbinger of weaker second-quarter earnings for the Austin, Texas, company, which is the world’s top-seller of battery-powered vehicles and has posted net profits for nearly three years. Tesla plans to release its full results for the April-June period on July 20.

Like many other stocks, Tesla shares have been hard hit this year. But the 35% decline in Tesla’s stock price hasn’t been entirely tied to the company’s see-sawing fortunes.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk also has made a $44 billion bid for Twitter, which he placed on hold after complaining that it has too many spam bot users who aren’t humans. Much of the erosion in Tesla’s value has occurred since Musk became Twitter’s largest shareholder and then launched a takeover bid that has raised concerns he has too much on his already crowded plate

Musk has used his own Twitter account, which now has more than 100 million followers, to discuss the pandemic restrictions that forced the Shanghai factory to temporarily close during the quarter. Wedbush analyst Dan Ives estimated that more than 40% of Tesla’s sales come from China and that the Shanghai factory produced about 70,000 fewer vehicles due to the shutdowns.

But Tesla signaled things are getting better Saturday, saying it produced more vehicles during June than in any other month in its history. The company didn’t disclose the number of vehicles manufactured during June.

As of early Saturday afternoon, Musk hadn’t tweeted about Tesla’s second-quarter sales. But he created a bit of a stir late Friday with ending an uncharacteristically long nine-day silence on Twitter. His Friday tweets included one with him and four of his children meeting with Pope Francis.

Tesla’s latest delivery numbers came out a week after the release of an interview with Musk in which he described new factories in Austin and Berlin as “money furnaces” that were losing billions of dollars because supply chain breakdowns were limiting the number of cars they can produce.

In a May 30 interview with a Tesla owners’ club that was just released last week, Musk said that the Berlin and Austin plants and getting them functional “are overwhelmingly our concerns. Everything else is a very small thing,” Musk said, adding, “It’s all gonna get fixed real fast.”

Musk also has discussed making salaried workers return to offices and a possible 10% cut in Tesla’s work force due to a possible recession.

Supply chain breakdowns since the onset of COVID-19 two years ago have been especially debilitating for automakers, who get parts from all corners of the globe. A lack of computer chips needed to run cars’ computers compounded automakers’ problems and sent prices for used and new cars skyrocketing.

As the pandemic erupted in the U.S. in 2020, automakers had to shut factories for eight weeks to help stop the virus from spreading. Some parts companies canceled orders for semiconductors. At the same time, demand for laptops, tablets and gaming consoles skyrocketed as people stuck at home upgraded their devices.

By the time auto production resumed, chip makers had shifted production to consumer goods, creating a shortage of weather-resistant automotive-grade chips. Although Tesla has fared better than other automakers, the industry still can’t get enough chips.


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Elon Musk Silent on Twitter for a Week


As Elon Musk’s Twitter following sprinted past the 100-million mark this week—a milestone the billionaire shares with Barack Obama, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Katy Perry, and Cristiano Ronaldo—his followers are noticing atypical behavior: he is not posting.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO, while vocal on some of the most contentious headlines—such as the Clinton campaign’s Spygate scandal, media silence on Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking case, and union influence on the Democratic Party—stayed uncharacteristically quiet on Twitter for a week amid several high profile events his followers would normally expect him to comment on.

These events include the most consequential ruling impacting the abortion debate in the United States in half a century, plus other things more relevant to Musk himself—his June 28 birthday and cuts to the Tesla workforce, and the closure of its California office.

145 Tweets Per Week

According to Axios, the rocket-and-automotive engineer-in-chief posted an average of 145 tweets and retweets per week over the five weeks leading up to June 16, the day SpaceX employees sent a letter to the company’s executive board complaining about their CEO’s Twitter posts. Musk’s Twitter streak slowed down after June 16, Axios reported.

“Elon’s behavior in the public sphere is a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us, particularly in recent weeks,” the letter reads, first reported by The New York Times on June 16.

Some of the complaining employees were fired a day after the publishing of the New York Times article, reported the news agency. Musk alluded to the firing decision in response to another Twitter user’s post on June 17.

Musk’s last posts were tweeted on the same day as the Twitter board unanimously approved his 44-billion-dollar offer on June 21.

Not long after, Musk told attendees of the Qatar Economic Forum that there were a few “unresolved matters” before he could seal the deal, including fake accounts, shareholder approval, and debt financing.

Andrew Moran contributed to this article.

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Gary Bai is a reporter for Epoch Times Canada, covering China and U.S. news.





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Elon Musk Hasn’t Tweeted in More Than a Week

Elon Musk has slowed his Twitter use dramatically since SpaceX employees said the CEO’s tweets were “a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment.”

Musk even refrained from tweeting after reaching 100 million in followers, Axios reported.

In fact, as of Wednesday morning, Musk hadn’t tweeted in more than a week, since June 21 when he posted about a $7.11 per gallon gas price, and also commented on tweets about SpaceX and Tesla.

Also on June 21, it was reported that Musk’s purchase of Twitter unanimously had been approved by the Twitter board. Shareholders still must vote on the proposed $44 billion deal.

Marca reported that Musk’s Twitter inactivity could be due to him negotiating the deal to buy the company. The outlet said there likely was a clause in the contract that prevents him from making any publication about anything while he is closing the $44 billion deal.

Axios reported that during the five weeks leading up to June 16, Musk averaged 145 tweets and retweets weekly and about 21 daily.

The New York Times reported that SpaceX on June 16 fired employees who helped write and distribute an open letter criticizing the Musk’s behavior.

The SpaceX letter, headed “an open letter to the Executives of SpaceX,” seen by Reuters, called Musk a “distraction and embarrassment” to the company he founded.

The world’s richest person previously used Twitter to criticize the social media company, from its moderation and safety policies to its anonymous user accounts. He also has said that he would restore former President Donald Trump’s banned account on Twitter if his deal to acquire the company is completed, CNN reported.

Musk has said there were a few “unresolved matters” left before he can seal his Twitter deal.

“There is the question of, will the debt portion of the round come together, and then, will the shareholders vote in favor,” Musk said in a June 21 interview with Bloomberg at the Qatar Economic Forum.

Musk met virtually with Twitter employees on June 16 to address several issues, including possible layoffs at the company, and potential company growth.


© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.





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‘Optimus’ Prime: Tesla to Unveil Humanoid Robot This Fall

Tesla Inc., which designs and manufactures electric vehicles and battery energy storage from home to grid-scale, plans to release a prototype of its humanoid robot this fall, according to CEO Elon Musk.

Tesla’s scheduled unveiling for the “Optimus” robot will come on Sept. 30, as part of the company’s “AI Day.”

AI Day,” the second of its kind for Tesla, was apparently slated for August, according to reports. But now, the company is seemingly primed for a September unveiling.

Here are the reported capabilities of the robot:

  • Optimus will stand at 5-foot-8inches tall and weigh 125 pounds.
  • The robot will have a walking speed of 5 miles per hour.
  • Optimus will have a carrying capacity of 45 pounds and a dead-lift capacity of 150 pounds.

The CEO Musk — the world’s richest man, according to Forbes — hopes Optimus will have the capabilities to handle most chores.

“We have these sort of AI Day events to just emphasize that Tesla is a lot more than a car company and that we are, in my view, the leading real-world AI company that exists,” Musk said.

In a previous tweet, Musk confirmed the prototype will not look similar to previous renditions displayed at similar technology conferences.

Tesla will begin production of Optimus in 2023, according to reports.

The cost and availability of the robots have yet to be announced by the company.


© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.



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Casey Fleming Breaks Down the Threat

TikTok secretly accesses American data, despite denying it to the public, according to audio obtained by Buzzfeed. Now, questions arise over data safety and China’s subversion of U.S. society, as well as the national security threat of TikTok and other intrusive apps from China. Where do we go from here? I have Casey Fleming, CEO of BlackOps Partners, to break down the threat of TikTok and China’s data war on America.

 

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Elon Musk Calls out TikTok Over ‘Civilization’ Risk


Elon Musk recently questioned whether short video app TikTok is leading to the collapse of civilization, following a new report that alleged the China-owned platform had obtained private U.S. user data.

“Is TikTok destroying civilization?” the billionaire said on June 17 via Twitter. “Some people think so,” his post reads, offering no further explanation.

The remarks came after leaked audio from more than 80 internal meetings showed employees of TikTok’s Beijing-based parent company ByteDance have “repeatedly accessed nonpublic data about U.S. TikTok users” in China, according to Buzzfeed. It said the recordings include 14 statements from nine employees who indicated engineers had access to U.S. user data “at the very least” for five months between September 2021 and January 2022.

Although the company has also previously claimed that it does not share user information with Beijing, and has a “world-renowned U.S.-based security team” to ​​decide who can access this data, evidence shows employees had to turn to colleagues in China to decide how user data would flow.

“U.S. staff did not have permission or knowledge of how to access the data on their own,” the Buzzfeed report reads, citing tape recordings. It was hours before TikTok announced it had completed migrating its American user data to U.S.-based servers at Oracle, a move that could address U.S. regulatory concerns over data integrity on the popular short video app.

Counting the United States as its largest market, TikTok has more than 1 billion active users globally. Washington has been scrutinizing app developers over the personal data they handle, especially when it involves U.S. military or intelligence personnel.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Musk later posted that perhaps it is “social media in general” that poses the risk to civilization.

He called censorship on Twitter a “civilization risk” in April. While negotiating a $44 billion buyout of Twitter, Musk has said his offer is about “the future of civilization,” not for profit.

The billionaire, who used to stay out of politics, has also declared his concerns over Twitter’s apparent left-wing political bias. When asked on Twitter last month about his intentions in wading into political controversy, the founder and chief engineer of SpaceX mentioned “civilization” again, in the context of what he called “woke” progressive policies.

“Unless it is stopped, the woke mind virus will destroy civilization and humanity will never reached Mars,” Musk wrote.

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Rita Li is a reporter with The Epoch Times, focusing on U.S. and China-related topics. She began writing for the Chinese-language edition in 2018.



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Elon Musk’s SpaceX Fires at Least 5 Over Critical Letter

Private rocket company SpaceX fired at least five employees after it found they had drafted and circulated a letter criticizing founder Elon Musk and urging executives to make the firm’s culture more inclusive, two people familiar with the matter said.

SpaceX did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The New York Times reported on Thursday that SpaceX had fired employees associated with the letter, citing three employees with knowledge of the situation. It had not detailed the number of employees who had been dismissed.

SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell sent an email saying the company had investigated and “terminated a number of employees involved” with the letter, the New York Times said.

The newspaper said Shotwell’s email said employees involved with circulating the letter had been fired for making other staff feel “uncomfortable, intimidated and bullied, and/or angry because the letter pressured them to sign onto something that did not reflect their views.”

Reuters could not independently confirm that report.

Billionaire Musk is pursuing a $44-billion bid for Twitter and has made clear his support of freer controls on speech on the site. On Thursday, he told Twitter employees the platform should allow “pretty outrageous things” as long as the content is not illegal.

The SpaceX letter, headed “an open letter to the Executives of SpaceX,” seen by Reuters, called Musk a “distraction and embarrassment” to the company he founded.

In a list of three demands, it said “SpaceX must swiftly and explicitly separate itself from Elon’s personal brand,” “hold all leadership equally accountable to making SpaceX a great place to work for everyone” and “define and uniformly respond to all forms of unacceptable behavior.”

Musk, also head of electric automaker Tesla Inc, has been in the headlines and featured in late-night comedy monologs in recent months, including over his quest to take over Twitter, his criticism of Democrats and a reported allegation of sexual harassment, which Musk has denied in a Twitter post.

The open letter at SpaceX, first reported by The Verge, was drafted by SpaceX employees in recent weeks and shared as an attachment in an internal “Morale Boosters” group chat that brings together thousands of employees, a person familiar with the matter said, asking not to be named.

Musk, also the company’s chief engineer, has been viewed as a central figure in many of SpaceX’s high-profile successes, such as pioneering the re-use of orbital rocket boosters and bringing back routine human spaceflight from U.S. soil after a nine-year hiatus.

Shotwell, who leads much of the company’s day-to-day business, has said she will enforce SpaceX’s “zero tolerance” standards against employee harassment.

Founded by Musk in 2002, SpaceX has played a central role in the U.S. space program, becoming the only company capable of launching NASA astronauts into space from U.S. soil and planning to send humans to the moon for the space agency within the next decade.

SpaceX is also one of two companies on which the Pentagon depends to launch into space the bulk of U.S. military and spy satellites.


© 2022 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.



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Here’s How Much Elon Musk-Related Scams Have Cost Traders and Investors


An estimated $5.4 million worth of cryptocurrency has been lost to scams perpetrated in the name of Tesla CEO Elon Musk from 2018 to May 2022, an analysis conducted by blockchain visualization and risk mitigation software company Blockchain Intelligence Group (BIG) has revealed.

The research further indicates from 2018 to May 2022, a total of 2,703 people possibly fell victim to such scams.

The data shows that 2021 saw an exponential rise in such scams. This can be attributed to the cryptocurrency boom of 2021 and it coincides with the announcement of Tesla’s $1.5 billion dollar Bitcoin investment in February 2021.

“Over this period, about $5.4m were stolen in BTC and Ethereum (including ERC-20 tokens like Shiba Inu) in such scams,” the BIG report states.

William Callahan, Director of Government and Strategic Affairs at BIG and a former US Department of Justice Special Agent says since Musk is the most well-known cryptocurrency advocate, bad actors frequently take advantage of Musk’s popularity and influence to defraud unsuspecting consumers.

“Scammers go to great lengths to make their schemes look legitimate, impersonating him, hacking his Twitter account, and promoting scams with Deep Fake Videos of his interviews,” Callahan adds.

Elon Musk Giveaway Scams

Giveaway scams are attempts to trick victims into thinking that a legitimate cryptocurrency exchange or a celebrity is funding a cryptocurrency giveaway.

Scammers began impersonating Musk in 2018 to trick investors into thinking he was giving away BTC. A message for a BTC giveaway scam was made and disseminated by several verified Twitter accounts impersonating Musk.

Giveaway Doubler Scams

Doubler scams guarantee to double any cryptocurrency deposit made through the scam’s site. Several YouTube accounts were utilized in June 2020 to entice owners of cryptocurrencies into fake Tesla and Musk giveaways that were later discovered to be doubler scams.

For example, scammers broadcasted a live video from the Live News YouTube channel, showing a Bitcoin SpaceX speech by Musk labeled “Elon Musk–SpaceX Dragon & NASA Astronauts return to earth & Dragon Crew Demo-2 Keynote,” with a thumbnail announcing a giveaway.

Elon Musk Investment Scams

While new currencies are continually added to the blockchain, and new trading platforms are being developed, smart contracts with attractive returns may be used to market a fraud. A corporation may claim to have an opportunity to invest with guaranteed 1000 percent profits. The victims are then lured into an investment scam, where they buy the currency intending to sell it when prices increase.

This year, scammers tried marketing a trading platform called BitVex using Deep Fake Videos of Musk and other prominent Bitcoin proponents to steal assets. These videos are real interviews that have been altered with Deep Fake Technology to use the subject’s voice in a script written by the criminals.

Recognizing Celebrity-Backed Scams

BIG states investors should watch out for the following:

Claims of a safe investment: Trading cryptocurrencies involves many risks, including unpredictable market price fluctuations or flash drops, market manipulation, cybersecurity threats, and the possibility of losing your entire investment. Any cryptocurrency offer that guarantees you will make money is in all likelihood a scam.

Promises of free money: Any service or individual offering to double the cryptocurrency you send them is a scam. Bitcoin doublers do not exist. Even if a celebrity announces a giveaway, it is highly unlikely that they would ask you to send them any funds.

Projects with anonymous founders: If you see a celebrity promoting an obscure project, do your due diligence and find out the team behind the project and their background. If there is no mention of the team behind the project or a member of the team has a questionable track record, the project is most likely a scam and you should avoid investing in the project regardless of who promotes it.

By Murtuza Merchant

© 2022 The Epoch Times. The Epoch Times does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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Elon Musk: Twitter ‘Biased Against Half of the Country’

Elon Musk took another swipe at Twitter on Monday night, when he claimed the social media platform was “biased against half the country.”

Musk, who is set to purchase Twitter for $44 billion, responded to a tweet that said “on a just platform, everyone would be treated equally. As it is, you can be banned for merely criticizing (not even threatening) woke progressives, but they can send conservatives death threats without any repercussions.”

“A platform cannot be considered inclusive or fair if it is biased against half the country,” Musk tweeted Monday night.

Both tweets were on a string started by a Libs of TikTok comment stating that, “I have now received about a dozen death threats after radical leftists accused me of being a domestic terrorist extremist. Twitter has not removed any of the accounts of those who sent the threats.”

Libs of TikTok, which Media Matters described as a “wire service for the broader right-wing media ecosystem,” is operated by former real estate salesperson Chaya Raichik.

Raichik also alleged that Twitter staff were “debating whether to ban” her account, claiming that she has screenshots of internal conversations.

Musk has tweeted against the alleged “left wing bias” of Twitter before, which the company has denied.

The Tesla CEO also has said he would allow former President Donald Trump to return to the social media site. Twitter banned Trump’s account in January 2021 for “incitement of violence” after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Musk last month said he would vote for Republican candidates in the upcoming 2022 midterm election — a break from his usual Democrat-leanings.

It was reported Monday that Musk would speak to Twitter, Inc. employees this week for the first time at a company-wide meeting since launching his $44 billion bid in April, said a source, citing an email from Twitter Chief Executive Parag Agrawal to staff.

Twitter plans to hold a shareholder vote by early August on its sale to Musk as it continued to work “constructively” to complete the deal with the world’s richest person.

Musk’s lawyers warned Twitter earlier this month that he might walk away from the deal if the company fails to provide the data he seeks on spam and fake accounts.

Twitter has said it is continuing to share information with Musk.


© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.



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