Fact-Check: Did Elon Musk Really Offer To Buy And Delete Facebook?

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Elon Musk is the billionaire entrepreneur behind Tesla and SpaceX. (Image credit: AFP)

A viral image that resembles the headline of a news piece claiming that Elon Musk has decided to buy and delete Facebook has been found to be fake. “Elon Musk Offers To Buy And Then Delete Facebook” reads the text on the viral image, along with a photo of the Tesla and SpaceX CEO. A meme below the headline says “he is the chosen one”. Though the billionaire tech tycoon has an ongoing feud with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg over a host of issues, including their differing understanding of artificial intelligence, Mr Musk has not announced any move to buy Facebook.

The user, who shared the post in a Facebook group dedicated to Mr Musk on August 5, captioned it, “I love him”. It has received more than 1,600 “likes” and a further 184 people shared it.

A similar upload claiming the same thing was shared in another group on August 4. This one, too, has been shared by more than 1,000 people.

However, a little digging reveals that the Tesla tycoon has no plans to buy and delete Facebook, though he deactivated his own Facebook account a long time ago. 

The misleading claim actually comes from a 2018 article published on the satirical website Alternative Science. The article details a fictional story of Mr Musk telling investors during a chat that he would purchase the social media network to “do humanity a favour.”

Mr Musk has previously criticised Facebook and Mr Zuckerberg. Tesla and SpaceX closed their accounts on Facebook in 2018, around the time the satirical article was published, Mr Musk had said about the move, “It’s not a political statement and I didn’t do this because someone dared me to do it. Just don’t like Facebook. Give me the willies. Sorry.”

He had also asked people to “delete Facebook” last year, writing: “it’s lame”.

Previously, the two billionaires have argued over the worthiness of AI. Mr Zuckerberg had then said that Mr Musk’s statements on AI are “irresponsible”. Despite that, Mr Musk has not made any public announcement that he intended to own or shut down Facebook.

The social networking site was founded by Mr Zuckerberg and his roommates at Harvard University in 2004. As of 2020, it had an estimated more than 2.5 billion monthly active users.

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