Elon Musk is Twitter‘s most controversial public figure, according to an expert. 

Tech insider Sam Gilbert says Mr Musk, the pioneering billionaire behind SpaceX and Tesla, has filled the void left behind by former US president Donald Trump as Twitter’s most divisive celebrity. 

Mr Gilbert says Musk’s combination of ‘real world power’ (the world’s second richest man) and his fan base (49.2million followers) gives him a huge amount of influence.

As a result, ‘Elon Musk is the public figure most likely to cause a Twitter controversy’, Mr Gilbert told MailOnline. 

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Tech insider Sam Gilbert says Elon Musk's combination of 'real world power' (the world's second richest man) and his vast fan base (49.2million followers) gives him a huge amount of influence

Tech insider Sam Gilbert says Elon Musk's combination of 'real world power' (the world's second richest man) and his vast fan base (49.2million followers) gives him a huge amount of influence

Tech insider Sam Gilbert says Elon Musk’s combination of ‘real world power’ (the world’s second richest man) and his vast fan base (49.2million followers) gives him a huge amount of influence

Musk is no stranger to controversy. He was forced to step down as Tesla CEO in 2018 after being charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

It was his enforced punishment for an ill-advised tweet where he said:  ‘Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.’

The tweet saw Tesla’s share price rise more than 13 per cent but was ultimately misleading and resulted in the US Securities and Exchange Commission concluding that Musk should pay a fine and be banned from serving as an executive or board member of any public company.

‘However, that hasn’t stopped Musk tweeting about other topics in a way that influences financial markets – including GameStop shares and cryptocurrencies during 2021,’ Mr Gilbert adds.

‘If he continues, it seems likely that controversy will spill over into the political arena.’

Meanwhile, Musk was involved in a defamation case in 2018, after calling the rescuer of Thai schoolboys trapped in a cave a ‘pedo guy.’  

Vernon Unsworth sought £145million in damages from Musk, arguing that the tweet damaged his reputation. 

Thankfully for Musk, a US judge ruled that Musk did not defame the British caver. 

From calling the coronavirus pandemic 'dumb' to announcing Tesla's - his own company's - stock price is 'too high', Musk is known for his bizarre tweets

From calling the coronavirus pandemic 'dumb' to announcing Tesla's - his own company's - stock price is 'too high', Musk is known for his bizarre tweets

From calling the coronavirus pandemic ‘dumb’ to announcing Tesla’s – his own company’s – stock price is ‘too high’, Musk is known for his bizarre tweets

He says that Musk has a lot of ‘reach power’ which comes as a result of his digital profile.

‘Reach Power can be used in myriad ways; for political purposes or for commercial ones; for good or for ill,’ Mr Gilbert says. 

‘At the moment, Musk seems to be using Reach Power from Twitter to mobilise his admirers in service of his own agenda.’

Following Trump's twitter ban, 'Elon Musk is the public figure most likely to cause a Twitter controversy', tech expert Sam Gilbert told MailOnline

Following Trump's twitter ban, 'Elon Musk is the public figure most likely to cause a Twitter controversy', tech expert Sam Gilbert told MailOnline

Following Trump’s twitter ban, ‘Elon Musk is the public figure most likely to cause a Twitter controversy’, tech expert Sam Gilbert told MailOnline

Tech insider Sam Gilbert says Elon Musk is now Twitter's most divisive celebrity. His book 'Good data' is published April 1

Tech insider Sam Gilbert says Elon Musk is now Twitter's most divisive celebrity. His book 'Good data' is published April 1

Tech insider Sam Gilbert says Elon Musk is now Twitter’s most divisive celebrity. His book ‘Good data’ is published April 1

Despite Mr Musk’s divisive nature, it is unlikely he will meet the same fate as Donald Trump, according to Mr Gilbert, author of the upcoming book Good Data.

‘Unlike Trump, Musk can’t be said to have broken any of Twitter’s rules with his tweets on GameStop, Bitcoin, or Dogecoin,’ he told MailOnline. 

‘So, Twitter wouldn’t have grounds to suspend his account. 

‘But this might say more about the gaps in Twitter’s rules than the acceptability of Musk’s tweets. 

‘If there were Twitter rules on promoting high-risk financial products – and/or stricter “Authenticity” rules for highly-followed accounts – he would surely have fallen foul of them.’

Good Data – An Optimist’s Guide to Our Digital Future by Sam Gilbert is published by Welbeck on 1 April, hardback £14.99. 

This post first appeared on Dailymail.co.uk

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