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Tesla shares plunge after Elon Musk banned journalists from Twitter – Rolling Stone

Elon Musk’s flagship Tesla shares hit a new two-year low of $150.04 on Friday morning, fueling renewed concerns that the billionaire’s recent acquisitions and chaotic management of Twitter are crumbling the bedrock of his financial empire.

The stock plunge came the morning after Musk booted several prominent journalists from the platform, and after Musk spent most of this week offloading more than 22 million shares of Tesla stock, worth more than $3.5 billion. Musk has now sold almost $40 billion worth of the electric car company̵[ads1]7;s shares in the past year.

Musk’s tumultuous takeover of Twitter, a deal announced in April and finalized in October, has coincided with a truly abysmal year for technology markets. But Tesla has underperformed the NASDAQ Technology Sector Index ( NDXT ) by more than 20 points. As of Friday, the company is down 57.12 percent year-to-date compared to NDXT being down 35.53 percent. The value of the company has fallen from over $1 trillion at the start of the year to under $500 billion, costing Musk the title of “world’s richest man” in the process.

Friday’s plunge came after Musk was suspended New York Times reporter Ryan Mack, Washington Post‘s Drew Harwell, Mashable’s Matt Binder, CNN reporter Donie O’Sullivan, The Intercept’s Micah Lee, independent reporter Aaron Rupar, political commentator Keith Olbermann and freelance journalist Tony Webster of Twitter. Most had voiced criticism of Musk’s content moderation decisions. Earlier this week, Musk impulsively rewrote Twitter’s content guidelines to consider any post including real-time location data a prohibited offense. The platform-wide policy change appears to have been created retroactively to justify the platform removing the accounts of Jack Sweeney, who tracked the movements of planes and private jets through publicly available aviation data. Musk accused reporters covering Sweeney’s ban of posting “my exact real-time location, basically assassination coordinates, in (apparent) direct violation of Twitter’s terms of service.” Rolling stone has not identified any instances of journalists posting direct coordinates to Musk’s location.

Throughout the week, investors have called on Musk to find someone else to run Twitter’s day-to-day operations, shifting the focus back to Tesla. On Wednesday, the EV company’s third-largest investor Leo KoGuan tweeted that Musk had “left Tesla” and that the company “has no acting CEO.” After the platform’s journalistic purge, investor Joe Cirincion tweeted a conversation for Musk to leave Twitter, accusing him of “killing the company with his antics.”

The company itself has admitted that it is “heavily dependent on the services of Elon Musk, Technoking at Tesla and our CEO,” to manage the company. If investors have noticed, so have major financial institutions. Goldman Sachs cut its price target for Tesla earlier this week, citing the increasingly “polarizing” nature of Tesla’s branding given Musk’s engagement on Twitter, and recommended the company shift back to its “core attributes of sustainability and technology.”


Musk also faces the threat of sanctions abroad. European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova on Friday accused the company of violating the EU’s digital services law and media freedom law through its “arbitrary suspension of journalists.”

“There are red lines,” she tweeted. “And sanctions, soon.”

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