Twitter CEO Elon Musk testified Friday that his tweets are no big deal as he tried to defend himself against a class action lawsuit that claims investors lost billions of dollars over one of his posted messages about taking Tesla private.
“It is difficult to say that the stock price is linked to [a] tweet,” he told jurors in federal court in San Francisco. “Just because I tweet about something doesn’t mean people believe it or act on it,” she added, reported Reuters.
Musk is being sued for alleged fraud over the fortunes lost when he tweeted in August 2018 that he was going to take his car company private and had “financing secured.”
The deal never went through, and investors who bought shares in an attempt to profit from the plan lost money when it simply evaporated.
Musk insisted on the witness stand that his tweets “are truthful, just brief,” despite the fact that he never took Tesla privately and there was no evidence that he had secured funding.
He was not specifically asked about Tesla’s tweet, Reuters noted, but is expected to do so on Monday when he returns to the stand.
Musk said he generally provides “information the public should be hearing” but there is only so much that can be conveyed in a short Twitter post.
He also argued that his tweets are not that powerful, despite the fact that he has 127 million followers and a visible effect on the actions of those followers.
Musk’s lawyer said Wednesday that his client was speeding to an airport when he made the “split-second decision” to post the tweet after reading a news article that Saudi Arabia was considering investing heavily in Tesla.
According to the shareholder lawsuit, Musk illegally manipulated the stock price with his tweet, and he and Tesla’s board of directors should be held accountable for an unspecified share of billions of dollars in damages suffered by those who bought or sold the shares. company shares after the tweet.
The suit is one of a growing series of problems facing Musk.
Twitter’s revenue has reportedly plunged 40% over the same period last year as advertisers moved away from the social media platform. Musk bought the company in October for $44 billion.
Musk is also now under fire for allegedly overseeing the creation of a misleading video exaggerating Tesla’s self-driving capabilities, Bloomberg reported Thursday. “The car drives itself,” reads the introduction to a video about Tesla’s “autopilot system.”
The video shows a driver circling the city with his fingers barely touching, or not touching at all, the steering wheel. However, Tesla’s own website warns Autopilot drivers to “keep your hands on the wheel at all times.”
The car company is under increasing scrutiny for a series of accidents that occurred in vehicles while in autopilot mode.