Elon Musk loves to make jokes on Twitter, but I’m starting to wonder whether he’s ever made an original joke in his life. Because anytime you see a joke or a meme from the billionaire owner of the social media platform, it’s almost always stolen from his fans without credit.
Many people believed wild conspiracy theories when Musk purchased Twitter in October for $44Billion. Many people claimed that Musk wanted to help the Republicans win the 2022 midterm election. Other people claimed that he purchased it to delete embarrassing photos of him over the years. But after observing Musk’s ownership of the site for over three months, I think we can definitively say it’s none of those things.
Musk simply loves laughing at everyone’s jokes and wants to be the one who makes them. If you’ll recall, Musk previously tried to buy humor site The Onion, but that deal fell through. And Musk’s appearance on SNL shows all he really wants in life is to get a laugh. Musk should be shown the way to retweet.
For example, Musk stole at least four jokes on Saturday, and while it’s not really a big deal, it’s weird and almost anti-Social behavior when you own a socialSite for media. The Twitter platform has two retweet options, a native retweet, where another person’s entire tweet is shared in your timeline, and a quote tweet, where a user can add their own commentary above the original tweet. But Musk doesn’t seem to know or care about these features.
Is Musk actually stealing what kind of content? As an example from Saturday, someone tweeted a joke at Musk that included a photo of a crying man with the words, “When you order a book called ‘how to scam people’ and it’s still not here after 4 months.” The user tweeted it at Musk in the afternoon and Musk tweeted his own version just 9 minutes later, with very minor tweaks to the wording of the joke.
“Ordered ‘How to Scam’ book months ago but still not arrived. Starting to think it could be … but no I’m sure it’s coming soon,” Musk tweeted without giving the original poster any credit. Musk’s version has over 15 million views, while the person he stole the joke from has just 177,000 views.
Another image was tweeted by Musk’s Dogecoin account on Saturday. It’s a screenshot from the Pixar movie Amazing ThingsJoking about the gendered nouns of different languages. Musk was notified about it and took the credit three minutes after. Musk’s tweet has over 5 million views, while the original tweet has 673,000.
Or take this tweet from last month, poking fun at the Associated Press for taking issue with using “the” in front of certain words to describe groups of people. Musk responded to the tweet using his favourite emoticon, cry-laugher. He decided to steal the joke and not retweet.
Or look at this tweetA user joked about the amount of time that people spend on the platform, when they could be working. Musk amassed almost 25 million viewsComparable to only 28,000 in the original.
And it’s a constant pattern that Musk has been doing for years. Rather than just hit the retweet button on a tweet, he’ll take the image and pass it off as his own. Musk made a hilarious joke about the movie in 2021. Blade Runner Starring Harrison Ford. He just shared the tweet from another Twitter user who had already posted it earlier that day.
Then there’s this meme that reporter Cody Johnston points out was tweeted directly at Musk before he stole it.
Musk may even take a screenshot of a tweet, and then crop the original poster out, as he did in this 2020 joke by comedian Morgan Murphy.
Musk also stole jokes from the humor site Hard Drive. cropping out the website’s name on the joke. When the site called him out for not giving them credit, Musk replied “less funny than SNL on a bad day. It could even make someone sober. Try harder!”
Hard Drive replied, “well you’re the expert on SNL’s bad days,” along with a screenshot of Musk’s appearance on the NBC show.
Musk apparently was so distraught that he deleted the stolen tweet.
It’d be one thing if it was a joke here and there. A lot of people have the same ideas at the same time, and there’s also the possibility of inadvertently taking someone’s joke that you remembered from days ago, truly believing it was your own original thought. I’ve personally done this at least twice in my many years on Twitter, only realizing it after the fact. Musk, however, seems to be stealing jokes almost every day.
Musk-defenders would likely argue that taking jokes or memes from others isn’t a problem, which is quite true. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter. But it might help us understand some things in Musk’s life that do matter.
For example, Musk’s rampant meme theft might point to how Musk became such a divisive media personality over the past year. It’s one thing to become rich, lots of people do that. Musk wants to be the hero for SpaceX and Tesla’s success, but he seems determined to forget about other significant figures from the past of these companies. Musk is said to be against any deviation from the official story.
Musk likes to call himself a founder of the electric car company Tesla, but that’s not accurate. Musk was an investor early in Tesla, and managed to squeeze the founders out. CNBC spoke to Marc Tarpenning in 2019 about being pushed out by their real founders Martin Eberhard. As CNBC explains, Musk was the company’s fourth CEO when he took that position in October of 2008.
Musk was even asked once about whether he creates his own memes on social media and the billionaire’s response wasn’t terribly confident.
“You create you own memes though, don’t you?” a host from the YouTube channel Tesla Owners Silicon Valley asked in an interview published to YouTube in June 2022.
“Uh, some… I create some memes, um…” Musk said unconvincingly.
“Your meme game is strong,” the host responded.
“Thank you,” Musk replied.
Please share any evidence that Musk created his own memes, or even his own jokes, via Twitter. Musk seems to have tried almost every joke on Twitter.
These are only a few of the tweets Musk took recently. Again, it’s not a big issue in the bigger picture, but perhaps it shows there’s nothing Musk wants more in the world than to get laughs.
Musk was loudly booed when he was brought on stage at a Dave Chappelle concert back in December, so the CEO has retreated to his safe space, a website where he can joke around with the internet, while getting the adulation of millions of followers—and blocking anyone who displeases him. It’s just weird he paid $44 billion for the pleasure when he could’ve done all that for free.