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Elon Musk Revives Feud with Bill Gates

The two billionaires have been at loggerheads for a few weeks because Bill Gates shorted Tesla, Musk's baby.
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Elon Musk vs. Bill Gates, Episode 3. 

The chief executive of electric vehicle maker Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc. Report seems to like having enemies. It seems to stimulate him. 

When a feud is dying or disappearing, the billionaire does not hesitate to revive it. It seems to give him energy. This is the case of his recent dispute with his fellow billionaire Bill Gates. 

The problem: the co-founder of software giant Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report shorted Tesla and Musk can't stomach it. Selling stock short is a bet that the stock's price will drop. 

Therefore, he takes every opportunity to criticize Gates, and sometimes with language that very few CEOs as influential as him would ever use in public.

He just did it on the social network Twitter, which he is buying for $44 billion. Indeed, Musk did not hesitate to comment on a tweet by Mike Cernovich, a right-wing activist who gained notoriety for promoting the "pizzagate" conspiracy theory.

New Colorful Insult Against Gates

In the tweet, Cernovich accused Gates of spending billions to attack Musk. He linked to a story from the far-right online news website Breibart News.

The platform does not provide any evidence on its accusations. Except that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has made donations to The New Venture Fund and The Tides Foundation. These two organizations have, according to Breitbart, in turn made donations to organizations that signed an open letter to advertisers asking them to boycott Twitter  (TWTR) - Get Twitter Inc. Report if Musk ever applied his version of free speech there. There's no direct link between Gates and these organizations.

Musk has already indicated that when he would take control of the platform -- the transaction is expected to close in October if no twist -- all remarks will be made up to the limit authorized by the law of the country where they are pronounced.

This position worries left-wing organizations and personalities who fear that discrimination, hateful and racist remarks, bullying and misinformation will return to Twitter because of such a lax content moderation policy.

"Bill Gates Poured Millions into Dark Money Fund Attacking Elon Musk," Cernovich posted on Twitter on May 24 with a link to the Breitbart story.

"What a dick move!" Musk commented.

To another Twitter user reposting the same link to Breitbart's article, Musk reacted with a sigh.

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Musk's two posts were followed by an outpouring of comments and misinformation against Gates. But some commenters also questioned the veracity of Breitbart's information.

"Breitbart is extremely partisan don’t u think?" a Twitter user asked Musk.

How About The Short Position

"Why would you give credence to a Breitbart article?" another user asked.

Musk did not respond.

Earlier this month, Gates expressed concern that Twitter under Musk's control would become a platform dominated by disinformation in the name of free speech.

"Do you have any advice for Elon Musk as he buys Twitter of what he should do?" Gates was asked at The Wall Street Journal's CEO Summit on May 4.

"He actually could make it worse," Gates responded. "That's not his track record. I mean, his track record with Tesla and SpaceX is pretty mind blowing at putting together a great team of engineers and ... taking the people who worked in those fields in a less bold way, and really showing them up.

"I kind of doubt that will happen this time, but we should have an open mind and never underestimate Elon."

The former world's richest man also talked about conspiracies theories about him on social media.

"You know, what's his goal where he talks about the openness, and how does he feel about something that says vaccines kill people or ... that Bill Gates is tracking people? Is that one of the things he thinks should be spread? So it's still not totally clear what he's going to do," the philanthropist said.

Gates has pledged to support vaccine makers and dedicate at least $1.75 billion to the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic. But he then became the target of falsehoods and fantasies accusing him of launching the pandemic.

Gates also responded to Musk's disqualification of his environmental credentials simply because he shorted Tesla.

"I don't think that whether one's short or long Tesla is a statement about your seriousness about climate change," the billionaire said. "I'm putting billions of dollars into climate-change innovation, I applaud Tesla's role in helping with climate change."