Tesla’s Value Crashes by $200bn (But Elon Musk’s Fake Followers Don’t Care)

Elon Musk's sometimes trivial recent troubles have been compounded by a much more serious one: Tesla's tumbling value.

It has been another rough week for Elon Musk, with news of Tesla’s value plummeting by nearly $200 billion coming hot on the heels of revelations that nearly half of the renegade tech tycoon’s millions of X followers could be examples of one of the more controversial social media trends – fake accounts.

These developments further add to Musk’s current troubles, many of which are rooted in his chaotic rebranding (and general stewardship) of Twitter, now known as X. Recent “highlights” for the erstwhile microblogging giant include being fined by the DOJ, sued by the world’s oldest news agency, and perhaps most infamously, charged by the authorities in San Francisco over an obnoxious new glowing HQ sign.

All of which has led Musk to publicly admit that X might fail for the first time, even before analysts started questioning Tesla’s financial future.

Tesla Value Falls, Worse May Still Be To Come

OK, we get it: Elon Musk is rich. The world’s richest man. A man so rich his spare change alone would probably break the best accounting software. Yet Tesla’s recent stock market troubles surely can’t be ignored by the South African billionaire, especially if they’re set to continue.

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Tesla could seemingly do no wrong in 2023, reaching a high on the stock market in mid-July of $291. However, it has since dropped as low as $215 per share, with even a recent bounce back only seeing it recover to around $235, as of the time of publication.

In the big picture, this amounts to nearly a fifth of the company’s value, with $200 billion wiped off of Tesla’s market cap since last month. To put this into context, that’s roughly equivalent (in billionaire terms, at least) to Musk’s entire $227 billion personal fortune.

Worse still, Wall Street pundits such as Gordon Johnson have pointed out the fact that Tesla inventory is “exploding” at present, which could force the electric car maker to slash prices – something likely to trigger further short-term stock market instability. All that said, Tesla’s long-term outlook is still an extremely rosy one according to Wall Street, with most analyst talk being of “when” rather than “if” the EV trendsetter will hit $1,000.

Are Elon Musk’s X Followers Fake?

Musk’s current business challenges are well publicized, but the tech tycoon is undeniably savvy when it comes to these things. In all honesty, he may not even have broken a sweat when it comes to Tesla’s recent Wall Street woes. Reports suggesting that a large proportion of his X followers are fake is another matter entirely, as it’s the sort of thing the firebrand may take more personally.

The revelation is based on data gleaned by German-based software developer Travis Brown and crunched by Mashable. It shows that of Musk’s over 150 million followers on X (formerly Twitter), the vast majority are inactive. This is signaled by the fact that nearly 112 million of them (73%) have less than 10 followers, with more than 65 million having none at all (42%).

The conclusion drawn is that the vast majority of Musk’s followers are either fake, inactive, or what’s known as “lurkers” – people who created an account simply to consume content, but are not an active part of the community. In terms of the out-and-out fake or bot run accounts following Musk, 38 million of them had the default “X” logo as their profile image – something that’s commonly associated with illegitimate handles.

Unfortunately, it’s also commonly associated with X (and its avian-themed predecessor) in general, which is why the hunt for Twitter alternatives has been such an enthusiastic one.

Tesla Faithful Keep on Truckin’

It’s not all doom and gloom for Tesla fans, though.

In between presumably culling his X account of bogus followers, Elon Musk has shared the first photo of a Tesla Cybertruck prototype – and it looks as much like the Batmobile as ever.

Musk has famously said he believes it’s Tesla’s “best ever” product in the past, and the photo dropping will no doubt help reignite excitement for the Cybertruck’s launch, with the company previously promising a delivery event by the end of Q3 2023.

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Written by:
James Laird is a technology journalist with 10+ years experience working on some of the world's biggest websites. These include TechRadar, Trusted Reviews, Lifehacker, Gizmodo and The Sun, as well as industry-specific titles such as ITProPortal. His particular areas of interest and expertise are cyber security, VPNs and general hardware.
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