A threatening video targeting billionaire Elon Musk, posted on 5th June, Saturday, went viral and amassed over a million views within 24 hours.
In the 3 min and 47 seconds long video, an individual claiming to represent the Anonymous hacking collective has accused the Tesla CEO Elon Musk of having liquidated dreams and “destroyed lives” with his cryptocurrency tweets.
The world well knows Musk’s status as a crypto meme lord. However, with his recent flip-flops on Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and other common cryptocurrencies, it was no surprise that Musk has found himself in the crosshairs of one of the most prominent hacker groups of the modern era (1).
In the recent turn of the saga, which has witnessed crypto investors’ fortunes surge and drops, Bitcoin’s value fell 7% on Friday after Musk shared a meme on a breakup to his over 56 million Twitter followers. Some of the investors also took it as an indication that his company, Tesla, is looking to sell its Bitcoins, which it purchased in February, worth over 1.5 billion USD.
Anonymous is an international hacktivist group, originated with the 4chan raid in 2003 (2). It went on to target the Church of Scientology, the United Nations, and Donald Trump. It released a message to Musk on its YouTube channel, condemning his actions and announcing a warning.
In the video, Anonymous talked about Musk’s capers with cryptocurrencies, adding that people have started to see him as nothing more than another narcissistic billionaire desperate for attention. It also brought up the illegal lithium mines that Tesla allegedly utilizes and the poor working conditions of its employees.
Check out the full video here:
The message also adds that Musk’s attempts at electric cars and space exploration are born out of savior and superiority complexes instead of a genuine attempt to help humanity. He is hurting retail crypto investors with his increasingly volatile tweets on the matter.
In an attempt to support the claim, the video referred to an article on conditions of Tesla factories, described as “intolerable” for employees (3), and another which stated that Musk’s family previously owned an emerald mine in Zambia (4).
Anonymous says in the video, “reading from the comments on your Twitter posts; it appears that the games you have played with the crypto market have destroyed lives of common investors. Millions of these investors were counting on their crypto gains to improve their lives” while also acknowledging that those who invested in crypto were aware of the risks.
The Fawke Guy masked man added that Musk is “not the only show in town” and that his competition is rising each day, blaming him for social media memes and trolling affecting the lives of several others. The man added, “you may believe you are the smartest person in the room. However, now you have met your match.” The video ended with a warning to Elon Musk, “We are anonymous. We are legion. Expect us.”
No Regard for Cryptocurrency Future or People
The video further highlights Musk’s recent moves, alleging that he made those decisions purely for the company’s profitability with no regard to the people or cryptocurrency’s future in general.
Notably, Elon Musk had recently announced that Tesla is no longer accepting Bitcoin as a payment for its electric vehicles. Consequently, it plunged Bitcoin’s value significantly, making investors lose their money.
The masked man alleges that people widely believe that Tesla is forced to denounce the Bitcoin payment option. It adds that the company makes most of its revenue via the green carbon tax credit from the nations’ governments in which it operates.
Additionally, it alleges that Tesla stopped using Bitcoin to keep the flow of revenue from the government. Anonymous also alleges that Elon Musk already knew of the energy consumption associated with Bitcoin mining before quoting it as a reason for not accepting Bitcoin as payment for its Tesla vehicles.
The video asserts that the Tesla CEO acted clueless about it in “an attempt to play both sides of the fence” when the government’s supply of green credit money was imperiled – referring to the “nuanced” issue of Bitcoin’s carbon footprint, which is estimated to equal that of New Zealand’s at present.
The video pointed to several of Musk’s previous comments, including when he wrote, “we will coup whoever we want,” connected to the US-backed coup on the ousted president, Evo Morales, in lithium-rich Bolivia.
In 2015, The Los Angeles Times had estimated that Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity had together benefited from 4.9 billion USD in government support (5). It includes tax credits, a mechanism used in places including the United States, China, and Europe, whereby vehicle manufacturers can meet government emissions laws by buying “credits” from greener entities.
Multiple outlets, including CNBC (6) and The Financial Times (7), have reported that selling credit to competitors has been a fiscal lifeline for Tesla and has often accounted for a major part of its profitability, as evident by its earnings reports. But, there is no evidence suggesting that it has any connection with Elon Musk’s recent U-turn with Bitcoin.
Elon Musk’s Alleged Unjust Operations and “Carefully Planned Public Image”
Apart from the billionaire’s erratic tweets about cryptos, the video went on to “expose” several other unjust operations of the billionaire. The masked man stated that Elon Musk had enjoyed the “most favorable reputations of anyone in the billionaire class” for the last many years by tapping into the general people’s desire for space exploration and electric cars. The “carefully planned image,” however, has now started to be exposed.
Asserting Elon Musk, “nothing more than another narcissistic billionaire,” the video alleges that his quest to save humanity is more rooted in a savior and superiority complex than a real concern. The video cited examples of several complaints of Tesla employees over the harsh working conditions they faced in the past to point it out.
The Emperor of Mars
In addition, Anonymous states that the billionaire has been open to staging coups to “install dictators” in the nations where he is mining his products and has even prematurely crowned himself as the emperor of Mars. In an apparent reference where he jokingly proclaimed himself “Mars Emperor,” revealing his desire to colonize Mars (10), an effort in which Musk has conceded (11) a “bunch of individuals will probably die.”
The group further added that the competition for space exploration and electric vehicles is rising. Elon Musk has only garnered a cult following by trolling others on social media. The video further attacks Musk, saying that he did not even found Tesla but has purchased the company from two other individuals “much more intelligent” than him; Marc Tarpenning and Martin Eberhard (12).
Disagreements on The Anonymous Video
Anonymous is among the world’s most notorious hacktivist collective. And since the organization is decentralized, it is very complex to trace down. They are responsible for conducting cyberattacks against multiple world governments, government agencies, institutes, and more.
One of their considerable infamous hacking stints was against PayPal, Amazon, Sarah Palin, Visa, and the Church of Scientology. Anonymous members, also known as Anons, are distinguished in public as they often wear the Guy Fawkes masks famous from the movie and graphic novel V for Vendetta.
The group has witnessed some resurgence in the past year, after lying dormant for years. Gabriella Coleman, an anthropology professor at McGill University, who wrote a book on Anonymous, told Reuters last year (13) that she believed some early key individuals were involved with the 2020 resurgence.
However, there are some disagreements in social media using the Anonymous name as to whether the video issuing warning against Elon Musk is attributed to the group, which has no hierarchy by nature.
The most historically reliable and popular Twitter account that associates itself with the group, YourAnonNews (14), with over 6.7 million followers, active since April 2011, has denied involvement with the group. Upon asking if they could confirm if they published the video, their tweeted response was, “Again, all the best, but no.”
Another account claims to be associated with Anonymous; BscAnon (15) has also denied any association with the video targeting Musk. It says it opposes “the malevolence that is rife in the cryptocurrency space” but tweets that “That is NOT our video to Elon Musk for the record.”
Meanwhile, another account, YourAnonCentral (16), with over 5.9 million followers active since September 2011, has promoted it. In a blog published on 5th June (17), YourAnonCentral stated that “the hacker group has released a new video challenging Elon Musk, the infamous billionaire after he crashed the Bitcoin market. Anonymous wasted no time in exposing this controversial billionaire.”
Going back to the video, the Anonymous YouTube Page (18) has over 152k subscribers since it was published and was created on 24th December 2015. At that time, it had published only three videos, including this one. On the other hand, the Anonymous Official YouTube account (19), which has been active since 24th January 2012, with over 3.51 subscribers, has not published the video or any link to it.
It is safe to say that attributing anything to a collective like Anonymous is tricky. Not least, since the nature of decentralized hacking is that any individual can claim to be its part by simply taking action like posting a video.
Can Anonymous Really Do Something About Musk?
The Anonymous collective’s power has been waning over the past years, and it is showing more bark than bite.
It is the classic collective modus operandi, a monologue worthy of a supervillain, some guy in a Guy Fawkes mask, a perceived attack on the public good, and a whole lot of video effects and voice distortion. However, as the collective aims at a new target, Elon Musk, the latest “expect us” warning prompts the question (20), who cares?
Anonymous is hardly the only one to have taken issue with Elon Musk’s tweets recently. However, it is unclear if they can really do something about it.
The group’s power appears to have waned in the past years. They arguably peaked during Project Chanology, an effort to delegitimizing and degrading the Church of Scientology’s influence. They had attacked websites, published secret information, and even sent an almost naked man covered in vaseline and public hair to trash a Church location. Blessings to Agent Pubit.
However, in the last few years, there have been fewer successes while many threats. The group’s recent targets include the Minneapolis police department, the Nigerian government, and Thailand’s prison system. In all instances, there is no clarity whether they managed to win any of these battles.
Nonetheless, there is a lot to unpack here. Anonymous seems to believe Elon Musk is not a friend to the commoner, something they consider themselves to be. And because of that, they have issued the “warning,” and it remains to be seen as to what that is.
Notably, back in June 2020, when Elon Musk tweeted that “Off Twitter for a while,” the Anonymous Twitter account, YourAnonNews had replied, “we will take over from here.”
By all means, we would suggest Musk encrypt his passwords and beef up his firewalls.
Meanwhile, #WeLoveYouElon is Trending on US Twitter
Tesla CEO has always been known for his tweets; he is now in the news for its threats.
As of writing this article, the #WeLoveYouEllon is trending on Twitter in the US as fans of billionaire Elon Musk, Tesla, and meme cryptocurrency Dogecoin seek to counter Bitcoin supporters.
The hashtag has a tweet volume of over 45,700 as of writing this article, indicating Musk’s support from his fans, particularly from those in the Dogecoin community.
One of the supporters had tweeted, “I wish #Bitcoin maxis would stop the hate on Elon Musk. I love all the cute memes.” While another fan boasted about how the “dude is changing the world in multiple ways.”
Billionaire Elon Musk who has over 56.7 million followers on Twitter, had even personally thanked some of his supporters. Even his mother, Maye Musk, had thanked his supporters and expressed her happiness over the trending hashtag (21).
Elon Musk and Dogecoin’s supporters express their love for him on Twitter as the billionaire has frequently participated in a war of words with Bitcoin supporters.
In answer to a tweet over the weekend that featured a video of Max Keiser Michael Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy, engaging with a crowd on stage at Bitcoin 2021 (22), Musk called Bitcoin a “helluva drug.”
The billionaire entrepreneur was also engaged in a feud (23) with Bitcoin advocates last month after he appeared to signal that Tesla may dump the remaining Bitcoin it holds. The Tesla CEO had followed up with another tweet the next day with a clarification that Tesla has not sold any Bitcoin.
Notably, on Sunday, people had gathered outside the Tesla Fremont factory to protest against the allegations that Musk is manipulating the cryptocurrency (24).
What Anonymous aims to do with Elon Musk and Tesla remains to be seen since the video does not specify what action the group will take against one of the richest men in the world.
Since the appearance of the video, Elon Musk has sent out a tweet, stating “Do not kill what you hate, save what you love,” and now has a new blacked-out Twitter profile photo.
However, there is a possibility that the update has no connection to the Anonymous video since he has not yet addressed the video publicly.
While we are not saying that Anonymous and its threats no longer exist in reality, at best, it is unclear. However, one thing that is clear is that Elon Musk won’t be losing any sleep over this “warning.”