Elon Musk’s personal fortune has taken a massive hit as he continues to deal with the fallout from his controversial decisions as the new owner of Twitter.
The Tesla founder’s net worth is dropping at an extraordinary rate, with the tech billionaire’s losses topping over $101 billion (A$151.4b) so far for 2022.
Musk is still considered the world’s richest man, but the Bloomberg Billionaires Index has shown just how far he has fallen since last year.
According to the index, his personal fortune is sitting at $169.8 billion (A$251.4b), which is a huge different from the $340 billion (A$503b) recorded last year.
This means Musk has been bleeding more than $400 million every single day so far this year.
The extraordinary losses come as Tesla stocks hit their lowest levels in two years.
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Stock in the electric car making company, which accounts for the majority of Musk’s fortune, has dropped by 56 per cent in the past year.
The fall has been linked to a tightening of Covid-related restrictions in China putting pressure on the company.
This isn’t the only issue Tesla has been faced with, with the company forced to recall more than 321,000 vehicles because of a tail light issue.
“In rare instances,” the rear lights on affected cars light up intermittently because of a software problem, the company said in a document to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) dated November 15 but only recently made public.
Brake lights, backup lights and turn signals are not affected. Tesla plans a free remote software update to fix the problem on the affected Model 3 and Model Y 2020-2023 cars.
The company explains in the document that it was alerted to the problem by customers mainly outside the United States in late October, and confirmed its origin on November 7.
The automaker said it was not aware of any incidents or injuries related to the problem.
Twitter takeover plagued with issues
Musk’s Twitter takeover has been rocky, to say the least, with the billionaire copping major backlash unceremoniously dumping half the workforce and introducing strict new rules for the remaining workers – a move that prompted hundreds of others to quit.
The chaos has also sent advertisers fleeing from the platform, with Pfizer and Volkswagen AG just some of the brands pausing paid advertising on Twitter.
Advertising makes up 90 per cent of Twitter’s current revenue.
Now, in the latest roadblock facing Twitter, Musk announced that he was “holding off” on the reinstatement of the controversial Twitter Blue subscription service.
Revamped and relaunched shortly after his takeover of the company, Twitter Blue allowed users to add a blue check mark next to their profile – previously used only to verify the identity of notable people or organisations – for $12 ($US8) a month.
Musk said allowing people to buy blue ticks would be a “great leveller”.
However, as many predicted, when the new Twitter Blue went active, nefarious users began impersonating people and organisations who had the verified tick.
The new Twitter Blue was pulled after a chaotic few days.
“Holding off relaunch of Blue Verified until there is high confidence of stopping impersonation,” Musk said.
“Will probably use different colour check for organisations than individuals.”
After halting Twitter Blue, Musk originally announced the purchasable blue check marks would be back by around by November 18.
That deadline has also now slipped.
He gave no indication on Monday of when Twitter Blue might be back.
As reported by The New York Times, around 140,000 people, out of 238 million users, subscribed to the new Twitter Blue before it was pulled.
That would have equalled about $1.7 million ($US1.12 million) in revenue. In reality the income would have been less than that as some people would have already been paying $US5 for the previous iteration of the subscription service which didn’t include a blue tick.
Website Mashable said in a “best case scenario” it was hoped that Twitter Blue could be part of plan to bring in around $132 million ($US88 million) of income to Twitter annually.
Musk teases ‘general amnesty’ of suspended accounts
Last week Musk reinstated former US President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, after running a poll on the platform.
Now, he is polling users on whether the site should offer a general amnesty to all suspended accounts.
The move comes as Musk has faced pushback that his criteria for content moderation is subject to his personal whim, with reinstatements decided for certain accounts and not others.
“Should Twitter offer a general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam?” Musk asked in a tweet.
A blanket decision on suspended accounts could potentially alarm government authorities that are keeping a close look at Musk’s handling of hateful speech since he bought the influential platform for $44 billion.
It could also spook Apple and Google, tech titans that have the power to ban Twitter from their mobile app stores over content concerns.
Trump was banned from the platform early last year for his role in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol by a mob of his supporters seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
– with AFP