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HomeTechnologyElon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg's combat began earlier than Meta's Twitter rival

Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg’s combat began earlier than Meta’s Twitter rival


Meta chief government Mark Zuckerberg has been attempting to seem extra related among the many tech elite

(Washington Put up illustration; Images by The Washington Put up; iStock)

Mark Zuckerberg has been attempting to make himself cool once more — and extra related to a tech elite taken with the net antagonism and offline antics of Elon Musk.

Over the previous yr, Zuckerberg has appeared on podcasts hosted by provocateur Joe Rogan and AI researcher Lex Fridman, each widespread amongst followers of Twitter proprietor Musk. He has posted sweaty motion photographs on Instagram displaying his jujitsu abilities. And this week, he accepted Musk’s problem to a cage combat after information studies on Meta making a Twitter competitor. The pair have agreed to combat on the “Vegas Octagon,” an Final Combating Championship area, though it’s unclear if and when it can happen.

The technique to pitch Zuckerberg as visionary innovator to a tech-savvy viewers shedding its enthusiasm for his social media empire has been years within the making, in keeping with folks conversant in the matter who spoke on the situation of anonymity to debate delicate inside issues. However Zuckerberg has actually ramped it up over the previous yr, one of many folks stated, courting the identical “tech bros” who’ve been captivated by Musk — who’s instantly Zuckerberg’s competitors in additional methods than one.

As Meta struggles with layoffs and its to date unrealized goals of the metaverse, “I believe Mark can also be getting a sense that he’s not revered,” stated Bhaskar Chakravorti, dean of worldwide enterprise at Tufts College’s Fletcher College. The cage match was “a approach for him to point out that, ‘Look, he’s edgy. He generally is a tech bro identical to the subsequent man.’”

How Mark Zuckerberg broke Meta’s workforce

Meta has lengthy understood that Zuckerberg is extra synonymous together with his product than different Massive Tech firm leaders and even performed polling on the CEO’s likability and whether or not Fb’s greatest days have been behind it, stated one of many folks conversant in the corporate’s communications technique. Zuckerberg, specifically, is delicate to being perceived as an innovator and keen on what the general public thinks.

Fb pivoted to the metaverse. Now it needs to point out off its AI.

Meta’s communications relations workforce has been positioning him as the corporate’s chief storyteller lately, saying lots of the firm’s merchandise instantly, the folks stated. That has additionally meant placing him in entrance of journalists and influencers they understand as influential with early adopters and the tech workforce. This shift additionally coincided with the corporate’s plans to rename itself Meta and Zuckerberg’s resolution to raise World Affairs President Nick Clegg to be the corporate’s primary content material moderation defender.

In latest weeks, Zuckerberg has additionally sought to win again the assist of his employees, following tens of hundreds of layoffs. The CEO has defended his management internally, arguing that he ought to be judged on whether or not the corporate is making progress towards its enterprise targets. And he has spent extra time recently speaking concerning the firm’s new product investments in synthetic intelligence with the objective that they may grow to be extra enthusiastic about the place the corporate is headed.

Zuckerberg has turned to Instagram to attempt to promote that edgier picture. Three weeks in the past, he posted a selfie sporting a camouflaged vest, saying that he had simply accomplished the “Murph problem,” a preferred train problem that requires a heavy dose of operating, pull-ups, push-ups and squats whereas carrying a 20-pound weighted pack.

Jujitsu, throughout the final couple of years, has additionally taken high billing. After it was reported that Zuckerberg was choked unconscious throughout considered one of his matches, the CEO contacted the New York Occasions to disclaim that it occurred, in keeping with the newspaper.

In 2021, he posted a video of himself hover-boarding with an American flag on July 4.

“These founders … are eager to drive their story instantly,” stated Brooke Hammerling, a public relations advisor for expertise corporations. “The CEO story can grow to be larger than the corporate itself.”

Whereas Zuckerberg and Musk share many traits as tech CEOs, their public pictures have diverged from one another lately.

Zuckerberg’s picture has suffered setbacks after an extended stretch of scandals and coverage fights over Fb’s content material moderation practices. Extra just lately, Meta has confronted main issues at its enterprise which have kneecapped the corporate’s development. Its core blue app is shedding its enchantment amongst youthful audiences who favor newer apps Snapchat and TikTok. Sluggish post-pandemic development in e-commerce has minimize into the corporate’s promoting enterprise. An Apple change in privateness settings was estimated to have value the corporate billions.

In the meantime, Zuckerberg’s massive guess on digital and augmented actuality seems years away from earning money, and Meta has been gradual to construct merchandise in generative synthetic intelligence, which has already reworked the expertise trade.

Musk, then again, is the richest man on the planet, thanks largely to his stake in Tesla, the place he’s the CEO. His rocket ship firm, SpaceX, has gained main authorities contracts, and his resolution to purchase Twitter final yr and pledge to the appropriate to free speech on the social media platform gained accolades from completely different corners of the tech sector.

Musk’s penchant for tweeting at odd hours and trolling his critics — in addition to his campaign in opposition to “cancel tradition” and the “woke thoughts virus” — attracted political conservatives and leaders from inside Silicon Valley’s reactionary proper. Extra of the contrarian tech crowd adopted when Musk slashed Twitter’s workforce, demanded a return to workplace and promised to construct a “based mostly” different to “woke” AI, borrowing a praise from extraordinarily on-line factions of Twitter.

The 2 billionaires have lengthy sparred in public. In 2016, Zuckerberg criticized Musk after a SpaceX rocket exploded and destroyed considered one of Fb’s satellites that was a part of a undertaking to broaden web connectivity around the globe. A yr later, the 2 traded barbs over their differing views on the dangers of synthetic intelligence. In recent times, Musk has additionally advocated for deleting Fb and criticized the platform’s position in facilitating the riots on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Now, the 2 CEOs are gearing up for one more battle. Meta is exploring constructing a decentralized social media community as an alternative choice to Twitter, the information that prompted the problem to battle from Musk.

“I believe there may be one other facet to the viral cage match between the 2, which is now many extra persons are conscious of the truth that Fb needs to start out a Twitter different. And they will need to test it out when it’s introduced,” Chakravorti stated. “So that is free promoting.”

Zuckerberg’s dedication to the rivalry might proceed to be examined.

After Zuckerberg gained two medals at his first jujitsu match in Might, he went on Fridman’s podcast to debate his curiosity within the sport and imaginative and prescient for Meta. The 2 males geeked out on jujitsu, buying and selling opinions on why it’s such a troublesome sport and what they’ve realized about life from collaborating.

Fridman additionally pressed Zuckerberg to say one thing he thinks Musk has carried out proper at Twitter. Zuckerberg stated Musk’s resolution to make drastic cuts and adjustments to the corporate’s workforce emboldened different tech leaders — together with himself — who might need been hesitant earlier than to observe go well with.

“It was most likely good for the trade that he made these adjustments,” Zuckerberg stated.



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