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Elon Musk deletes the Facebook pages for Tesla and SpaceX

The tech guru chipped into the anti-Facebook conversation by deleting pages he hadn’t known existed.

Elon Musk Presents SpaceX Plans To Colonise Mars Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images
Aja Romano writes about pop culture, media, and ethics. Before joining Vox in 2016, they were a staff reporter at the Daily Dot. A 2019 fellow of the National Critics Institute, they’re considered an authority on fandom, the internet, and the culture wars.

Elon Musk took a flamethrower to his company Facebook pages after going on a mischievous Twitter riff about how insignificant Facebook is.

The head of SpaceX and Tesla ordered the pages for both companies to be deleted on Friday after responding sarcastically to an article on Vox sister site The Verge about companies deleting their Facebook accounts — but only temporarily. “Wow, a whole week,” Musk snarked. “Risky.”

Facebook’s ongoing scandal related to data firm Cambridge Analytica has prompted a public backlash against the company, including the rise of the hashtag #DeleteFacebook and an outpouring of takes about how, why, and whether you should or shouldn’t stop using the cultural juggernaut that is Facebook.

Musk evidently sees Facebook differently than many of us, however; he followed up his response to The Verge with a tweet to WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, as Acton encouraged people to take the plunge and say goodbye to Facebook; Musk responded with “What’s Facebook?”

When challenged to delete his own company’s Facebook page in response, Musk kept up the flippancy by insisting he didn’t even know SpaceX had a company Facebook page.

Musk, true to his word, reportedly had the SpaceX Facebook page taken offline barely half an hour later. After followers alerted him to the Facebook page for Tesla, that, too, soon bit the dust.

Of course, the Facebook page deletion could be just temporary — especially given how notoriously hard Facebook makes it to permanently delete your accounts. And let’s not forget that we’re talking about Elon Musk, the guy who made a company called the Boring Company and then used it to sell 20,000 flamethrowers. Who is also the guy who named a company “Thud” and won’t tell anyone what it’s for. Who is also the guy who gave the Tesla a bioweapon defense mode button. With Musk, it’s frequently hard to tell whether you’re dealing with technological innovation, blatant trolling, or an unlikely mix of both.

Still, when a Silicon Valley guru with this much influence makes a stand, even capriciously, against a titan like Facebook, it sends a message — if only to the fans who now want him to create a Facebook alternative.

Lest you think that Musk is gearing up for a principled fight, however, think again: Both SpaceX and Tesla have still kept their respective Instagram pages because even though Instagram is completely owned by Facebook, Musk seems to view them as separate, independent entities:

In other words, this is a low-stakes battle for Musk. For the rest of us, deleting Facebook might not be so simple.

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